Narcissus (work-in-progress)
Dancers: 10 men, 6 women | Duration: 60 minutes

Narcissus is an original, evening-length contemporary "ballet" set to Nikolai Tcherepnin's score Narcisse et Echo composed in 1911 for the Ballets Russes. The work reappropriates themes of the eponymous Greek myth on which it is based to re-envision the original ballet through a contemporary queer lens. The work features costume designs by Andrew Jordan and sets by David R. Harper.


 

 

 


Wolf-in-Skins (work-in-progress)
Dancers: 13 principles + 6 ensemble, Puppeteers: 6, Singers: 7, Instrumentalists: 11 | Duration: 120 minutes

Wolf-in-Skins is a two-act dance-opera co-created by Christopher Williams, composer Gregory Spears, and visual designer Andrew Jordan. Inspired by ancient themes of the mythic hero's journey found in medieval Welsh literature, faerie legends, and folklore, the work's libretto, written by Williams, chronicles the initiation rites of a central hero character grappling with queer identity via supernatural agency, otherworldly passage, and transformation. Driven by choreographed operatic sequences supported by narration, the work combines dance, puppetry, visual design, and live music for singers and period chamber ensemble to re-imagine lost Insular Celtic mythology as a contemporary staged ritual. Lighting designs are by Joe Levasseur, puppet designs are by Eric Wright, and the sets are by Tom Lee and Michael Wang.

Click here for designs/photos from Wolf-in-Skins.


*This video is a work-in-progress excerpt from the complete work.

 
*This video is a work-in-progress excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is a work-in-progress excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is a work-in-progress excerpt from the complete work.

 


Il Giardino d′Amore (2017)
Dancers: 3 women, 5 men | Duration: 60 minutes

Il Giardino d’Amore is a contemporary dance staging of Italian baroque composer Alessandro Scarlatti’s eponymous early 18th century serenata based on the myth of Venus and Adonis. Meticulously set to the serenata’s lush musical score, choreography for the dancers portraying Venus and Adonis corresponds directly to its vocal lines written for soprano and castrato. Choreography for the dancers portraying Amore and other avian characters referred to in the work’s anonymously-written libretto corresponds to its various instrumental lines. Clad in fantastical prosthetic costumes by Andrew Jordan, the mythic lovers and their entourage are portrayed as prehistoric beings existing outside the framework of a traditional gender binary.
 


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


Hora (2017)
Dancers: 3 women | Duration: 5 minutes

Created for the "All Choreography is Too Long" Festival at the 92nd Street Y with a unique cast of three women (Janet Charleston, Christiana Axelsen, and Sydney Henson - each of whom are roughly two decades apart in age and at three distinctly different points in their dance careers), the work references numerous ancient goddess triads composed of maiden, mother, and crone figures symbolizing the three stages of a woman’s life. Costume designs for the work are by Timothy Westbrook.


Jason (2015)
Dancers: 5 men | Duration: 6 minutes

Jason, made specifically for dancer Jason Collins, was inspired by the mythic persona of Jason from the Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius and plays on themes of the "feminized hero" popularized by castrato roles in 17th century Italian opera. The work is set to the aria "Delitie e contenti" from Act I, Scene II of Francesco Cavalli's Giasone. Costumes for the work are by Andrew Jordan and Carol Binion.

 


Spirits of the Air (2015)
Dancers: 2 men, 2 women | Duration: 4 minutes

Spirits of the Air, inspired by duets and choruses from Henry Purcell's final unfinished opera The Indian Queen including "Ah, how happy are we" and "We the spirits of the air," consists of short dances portraying four aerial spirits who have come to intervene in the affairs of humankind. The work was created as an étude in preparation for a 2013 production of The Indian Queen directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Teodor Currentzis at the Perm Opera & Ballet Theater and at the Teatro Real in Madrid. Costumes for the work are by Andrew Jordan.

Click here for designs/photos from Spirits of the Air



Dardanus Suite (2015)
Dancers: 4 men, 4 women | Duration: 43.5 minutes

Dardanus Suite, inspired by music from Jean-Philippe Rameau's lyric tragedy Dardanus, interweaves choreography created in preparation for a 2015 production directed by Michel Fau and conducted by Raphaël Pichon at the Opéra National de Bordeaux and the Opéra Royal du Château de Versailles to present a contemporary re-envisioning of its Baroque dances. Costumes for the work are by Andrew Jordan and Christopher Williams.

 


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


Janet (2014)
Dancers: 1 woman, 5 men| Duration: 10 minutes

Janet, inspired by the Scottish faerie legend of Tam Lin, explores traditional themes of the mythic hero's journey from a contemporary feminist perspective. Made for seasoned dancer Janet Charleston, the work was originally created to be performed in Douglas Dunn's loft studio at 541 Broadway in New York City. Costumes for the work are by Ciera Wells.

 


Click here to access the password protected video.




*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


 

Mumbo-jumbo (2011)
Dancers: 2 men | Duration: 20 minutes

Inspired by masked ritual practices of the Mandingo people of Western Africa, controversial 19th century juvenile literature such as Tar-Baby and Other Rhymes of Uncle Remus by Joel Chandler Harris, The Adventure of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg by Florence Kate Upton, and Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman, Mumbo-jumbo is a duet for dancers Raja Kelly and Paul Singh exploring sticky situations that occur as a result of racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and misrepresentation. The work is set to music by Kishore Kumar and Raja Hindustani. The costumes are by Carol Binion.





*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


 

Hen′s Teeth (2010)
Dancers: 9 women, 1 man, Singers: 6, Instrumentalists: 5 | Duration: 44 minutes

Inspired by the mysterious "flying women" found in a Breton fairytale preserved by 19th century folklorist François-Marie Luzel, the Graeae (or three swan-like crones of ancient Greek myth who share only one eye and one tooth between them), and imagery associated with the display of holy relics in the middle ages, Hen's Teeth is an evening-length work for three middle-aged women, seven younger women, and one man set to original music by Gregory Spears in the form of a Requiem mass sung in Breton and Latin by members of Lionheart and Anonymous 4. Costumes for the work are designed by Andrew Jordan, Carol Binion, and Christopher Williams, and the lighting is by Amanda K. Ringger.

Click here for designs/photos from Hen's Teeth.
Click here to access the password protected video.


 






 

Gobbledygook (2010)
Dancers: 2 men | Duration: 15 minutes

Inspired by the curiously anthropophagous ramanga or ("blue bloods") of Madagascar, the gaki (or "hungry ghosts") found in Buddhist mythology, and the Japanese folktale Jugemu (made famous by the Rakugo performance tradition and later echoed in the popular 19698 children's book Tikki tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel), Gobbledygook is a duet for an American dancer and a Japanese dancer incarnating an imaginary version of the Buddhist segaki ritual concerned with personal atonement and easing the suffering of the wandering dead. The work is set to a sound-score by David Griffin, the lighting is by Amanda K. Ringger, and the costumes are by Carol Binion and Christopher Williams.
 


 


 

The Golden Legend (2009)
Dancers: 23 men (soloists), 7 women (chorus), 6 men (chorus), Puppeteers: 5, Singers: 7, Instrumentalists: 5 | Duration: 180 minutes

A 13th century work by the blessed Jacobus de Voragine known as the Legenda Aurea Sanctorum (or Golden Legend of the Saints), which was probably the most widely read text other than the bible during its heyday, serves as inspiration for this work. Loosely following fantastical episodes mentioned in the ancient text, the piece consists of portraits of 17 male saints performed by corporeally and ethnically diverse male dancers and choreographers of many ages within the New York City dance community accompanied by appearances of two movement choruses and puppets by Eric Wright, Lake Simons, and Christopher Williams. Music for the work runs the gamut from extant medieval hymns, antiphons, laude, motets, and conductus from as early as the 11th century, written in praise of each saint, to original contemporary compositions. Costumes for the work are by Carol Binion, Andrew Jordan, Michael Oberle, Ciera Wells, and Christopher Williams. The lighting design is by Joe Levasseur, and the set is by Tom Lee.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.

 


 

The Portuguese Suite (2006)
Dancers: 2 men, 7 women (chorus) | Duration: 40 minutes

The Portuguese Suite is composed of nine dances all constructed in relation to both medieval love spells involving a particular herb or fruit considered by early herbalists to possess magical properties and a traditional Portuguese fado song recorded by the legendary Portuguese chanteuse Amália Rodrigues. It is said that this particular style of singing known as fado (or "fate") was born from the half singing, half weeping laments of the wives of sailors who set sail and left them alone on the mainland for long periods of time. These dances, for two ethnically diverse men and a chorus of seven carpideiras or "weeping women," explore the broad emotional range from ecstatic to dolorous and from tender to dangerous within inter-cultural relationships between male lovers. The costumes are designed by Carol Binion, the set is by John Bianchi, and the lighting is by Carol Mullins.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.

*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.

*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.

*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.

*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.

*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


 

Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins (2005)
Dancers: 11 women (soloists), 5 men (chorus), Singers: 2, Instrumentalists: 3 | Duration: 70 minutes

Inspired by the bizarre, fantastical, and often gory legends surrounding the martyrdom of eleven early Christian virgin saints, Ursula and the 11,000 Virgins consists of short solos for eleven women of differing ages and ethnicities plagued by a chorus of five men set to music ranging from extant 12th century songs to newly commissioned original music by composer Peter Kirn for voice and an array of new and period instruments. The costumes for the work are designed by Michael Oberle and Christopher Williams.
 


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.

*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.

*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


 

Mandragora Vulgaris (2004)
Dancers: 4 women, 1 man | Duration: 20 minutes

Mandragora Vulgaris is a quartet for women clad in tall branching crowns and garments of tangled roots designed by Michael Oberle and Christopher Williams set to both natural insect sounds and Bulgarian folk songs. The work, which includes sprout-like hand-puppets, draws inspiration from medieval legends of an anthropomorphic plant thought to posses magical properties known as the witches' manikin (or mandrake root) as well as from antique depictions of wild nymphs, amazons, and races of wild women.
 




 

Virgo Genitrix (2003)
Dancers: 3 women, Puppeteers: 6, Singers: 3 | Duration: 30 minutes

Virgo Genitrix, a trio for three women, loosely follows moments of the passions of the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Saint Mary the Egyptian, and is inspired by popular, occult, and apocryphal imagery of the triple goddess, the noble savage, and concepts familiar to early female desert ascetic saints such as mortification of the flesh, holy fasting, and virginity. The work includes mask, a pregnant woman, an entirely furry woman, and a host of puppets representing visions of bestial daemons, babies in utero, and an archangel. The dance, with costumes designed by Christopher Williams and Michael Oberle, is set to The Lay of the Fountain by 14th century composer Guillaume de Machaut sung by members of the Anonymous 4. The lighting design is by Andrew Hill.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


incubus (2002)
Dancers: 1 woman, 1 man | Duration: 23 minutes

Inspired by medieval belief in nocturnal spirits of the air who come to ravish sleeping victims, as well as those which were thought to cause the disease malaria through being inhaled, incubus is a duet exploring the landscape of the body from the waist upwards and it's negative spaces. Music for the work, featuring extended flute techniques and the sounds of mosquitoes,  is by Peter Kirn.

 


*This video is an excerpt from the complete work.


Morpho Ehemeroptera (1998)
Dancers: 5 men | Duration: 7 minutes

Morpho Ephemeroptera, a quintet for male dancers inspired by the life cycle of mayflies, offers a glimpse at the behavior of an unknown anthropomorhic faerie species in the wild. The work is set to naturally occurring bird and insect sounds and to the prayer, sygyt, sung in the Tuvan throat-singing style which in Mongolian culture serves to bridge the gap between this world and that of the divine.



 


 



 

The Voyage of Garbhglas (2010)
Dancers: 4 men, 3 women, Singers: 2, Instrumentalists: 3 | Duration: 30 minutes

Part of a cycle of works inspired by early Irish faerie lore along with 6th and 7th century Irish adventure tales known as Immrama ("rowings about" or voyaging) in which saints, heroes, or troubled men are often set adrift in boats with no oars and encounter strange, uncharted magical lands with curious inhabitants, The Voyage of Garbhglas is a work created for performances at the Irish Hunger Memorial exploring themes of exposure, isolation, and emigration from the perspective of ancient folk memory. The work is set to original music by Gregory Spears and the costumes are by Carol Binion, Ciera Wells,  and Christopher Williams.
 


 



Les Sylphides (2018)
Dancers: 22 women, 1 man | Duration: 35 minutes

Considered to be the first “ballet blanc” forgrounding aspects of form and mood in classical dance rather than the more traditional narrative elements integral to previous works in the Romantic ballet canon, Les Sylphides, was first choreographed by Michel Fokine in 1907 as Rêverie Romantique: Ballet sur la musique de Chopin. Later versions set to various combinations of piano music by Frédéric Chopin were presented under the title Chopiniana until Sergei Diaghilev commissioned the ballet in the form we now know it for première at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris in 1909. My new version of the work reimagines this Ballets Russes original for students at the Bainbridge Dance Center directed by Christiana Axelsen.


The Afternoon of a Faun (2017)
Dancers: 4 women, 4 men| Duration: 11 minutes

The Afternoon of a Faun reimagines Claude Debussy's famous ballet score Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (originally choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1912) for eight students of the Interlochen Arts Academy Dance Company. Costumes for the work are designed by Andrew Jordan.

 


Flowstone (2016)
Dancers: 6 women | Duration: 9 minutes

Inspired by the phenomenon in which spectacular speleothems (or "cave deposits") known as flowstones are formed by films of water flowing along floors or down positive-sloping walls to build up layers of cave minerals, Flowstone is a work for six dancers of the Chadwick School dance company set to sounds of shamanic drumming and bullroarer.




The Good So Far (2016)
Dancers: 4 women, 2 men| Duration: 20 minutes

Inspired by evidence of ritual practice among the earliest hominids that coexisted with extinct megafauna of the Pleistocene epoch, The Good So Far is a dance made on six dancers of the Interlochen Arts Academy Dance Company set to Nico Muhly's orchestral score So Far So Good commissioned by Interlochen Center for the Arts for the 2016 New York Philharmonic Biennial. Costumes for the work are by Andrew Jordan.


Click here for designs/photos from The Good So Far.



 


Andromeda Redeemer (2014)
Dancers: 12 women, Musicians: student choir|Duration: 5 minutes

Conceived of as an encounter in which a lone astronaut becomes a martyr to science when she interrupts a sacred ritual of the inhabitants of a distant planet in the Andromeda Galaxy, Andromeda Redeemer is a work for 12 female dancers set to Meredith Monk's Astronaut Anthem sung by the Dickinson College Choir with lighting by Jay Ryan and costumes designed by Andrew Jordan.