Keely Garfield Dance: WOW – Danspace Project
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Keely Garfield Dance: WOW

Photo: Julieta Cervantes for The New York Times

Danspace Project’s Commissioning Initiative has commissioned over 480 new works since its inception in 1994. Our winter season opens with reprisals of recent Danspace Project commissions.

WOW is an act of disruption, an unmasking with occasional masks, a mouthful of Pop Rocks, a baptismal immersion in feelings that continuously build, ebb and build again. Theatricalized for performances, these feelings nevertheless appear to originate in and take their sustenance from someplace real.” (Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Infinite Body)

“Full-out and entirely sincere dancing, the uplift is irresistible. Wow, you feel, wow.” (Brian Seibert, New York Times)

It is no laughing matter that cynicism and scorn have seeped into our bones. Our good hearts desire more, but we are made powerless by puns, and our powerlessness is what we feel instead of the gravity of our situation. Meanwhile people go missing, guns go off, resources are hoarded, and the world heats up – What is our sincerely held hope for each other, for the whole planet? In a dramatic act of sincerity WOW deploys a panoply of performance devices – pantomime, musical theatrics, back-up dancing, faux pas-de-deux – set to songs by Kate Bush (performed live by Matthew Brookshire and the company) to protest its case. Bring in the clowns! Love is all there is! – Keely Garfield

Choreography by Keely Garfield
Performed by Keely Garfield, Paul Hamilton, Jordan Morley, Raja Feather Kelly, and Matthew Brookshire
Music Inspired by the poetry of Kate Bush.
Décor & Wardrobe by Keely Garfield
Blue Cat by Vivian Ra

WOW was originally commissioned and presented by Danspace Project in December 2014.

Hailed in The New York Times as an,”Artist working at the height of her powers,” Keely Garfield is a choreographer, dancer, teacher, curator, and advocate who alongside making work for her own company, Keely Garfield Dance, has created work for other modern dance companies, ballet dancers, musical theater, students, children, and film. She has choreographed productions at the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre, Gypsy at Sundance Theatre in Utah, Carnival at New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, and Yeast Nation, The Triumph of Life! for Perseverance Theater, Alaska. Garfield has made nine original dances for students at Barnard College, Hunter College, Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, etc. She holds an MFA in choreography and is often engaged as a professor and visiting artist at many universities. Her work for children includes over a decade as curator and host of Dance Theater Workshop’s popular Family Matters series, and curation and performances for Lincoln Center’s Reel to Real & Meet The Artist programs, Scholastic Inc., and others. Garfield served as a board member and as the chair of DTW’s Artist Committee, was a co-author of The Dancers Forum Compact, and has written articles about dance and related topics. Early on, Garfield made videos at MTV working with artists like Adam Ant, and Herbie Hancock.

Keely Garfield Dance (KGD) has received many commissions, and has been frequently presented at theaters and festivals both nationally and internationally. Highlights include: Deep (The Joyce Theater), Disturbulance (Dance Theater Workshop),My Mother Was A Four-Alarm Fire and other mostly true stories (The 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Festival), Scent of Mental Love (A film for Radio Bremen/Canal Arte), Disturbing The Peace (Zenon Dance Company, MN), Iron Lung (Groundworks Dancetheater, OH), Limerence, & Twin Pines (Danspace Project, The Joyce Theater), Telling the Bees (Chocolate Factory), and most recently WOW (Danspace Project) and Pow (Roulette).

KGD has also received commissions and presentations from Celebrate Brooklyn! (NY), Milwaukee Danceworks (WI), Philadelphia Dance Projects (PA), The Southern Theater (Minneapolis, MN), Danse Vernissage (Montreal), Spring Loaded (London), and Tanzmesse (Frankfurt) among others. KGD has received support from government, foundation and private sources, and has benefited from numerous creative residences and awards and was the recipient of a Gibney Dance DIP Residency. The company consistently receives high critical praise and has garnered four New York Dance & Performance Awards “Bessies” (performance, music, lighting, production).

Complementary to her work as an artist, Garfield maintains a varied career in the field of health and wellness, as an E-RYT 500 Yoga Instructor, Urban Zen Integrative Therapist (UZIT), Reiki Master, Zen Meditation teacher, guide to Self-Care for Dancers, and hospice caregiver. On one end of the spectrum Garfield encounter’s movement and sound, and at the other end, is presented with stillness and silence. These natural states of being intimately inform Garfield’s personal and professional engagement in the world at large and are at the heart of all of her creative endeavor.