Faye Driscoll will develop NOT...NOT, a work that draws on both personal and mythical dramas around gender, desire, and beauty – to premiere at The Kitchen in April 2012.
Faye Driscoll is a 2010 NY Dance and Performance “Bessie” award winner. She has been hailed as a "startlingly original talent" by The New York Times and has had her choreography presented by such venues as The Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the American Dance Festival, the Fusebox Festival and HERE Arts Center. Following a fully sold out run in March 2010, Dance Theater Workshop re-mounted Driscoll’s There is so much mad in me (Driscoll’s third evening-length dance) as a crowd favorite in September.
Her work has received multi-year support from The Greenwall Foundation, a recent National Dance Project NEFA award, The Jerome Foundation and an LMCC Fund for Creative Communities grant. Driscoll has choreographed extensively in theater for such artist’s as Young Jean Lee (We're Gonna Die, Untitled Feminist Multimedia Technology Show, The Shipment and Church), Cynthia Hopkins (The Truth: A Tragedy), Taylor Mac (obie award winning The Lily’s Revenge) and NTUSA (Chautauqua!). Her video work Loneliness was featured in “Younger Than Jesus” at the New Museum. She is currently an adjunct professor at BARD College, has taught at NYU’s Playwrights Horizon’s Theater School and was recently commissioned by the 5 college Dance Department and Barnard College. Driscoll is a 2011 choreographic fellow at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography and an Artist-In-Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts.
BAC Story by Lisa Rinehart
May 2, 2012
Faye Driscoll is drenched in sweat, smeared with yellow, blue and orange paint, and riding atop collaborator Jesse Zaritt’s shoulders like a Valkyrie charging up out of a dress up box. She stares out and upwards as a synthesized beat thunders through the studio. Zaritt thrusts a wig, a cap and a hunk of velveteen up into her hands. She flings the fabric over her chest like a cloak and plunks the wig on her head.
They are tossed for fur collar, bra and a snarl of netting. Next are sunglasses, red feathers and Mardi Gras beads. Driscoll’s gaze is intense, uncompromising – her expression a twist of smile and snarl. The music fades, Zaritt backs away and she stands alone, breathing hard and twitching with kinetic energy. These are the final moments of Driscoll’s two-week residency at BAC where she’s pulled together her messy, funny, exhilarating and mystifying new work, You’re Me.
It’s the culmination of a year and a half of intermittent writing, solo improvisation and collaborative work with Zaritt as an exploration of the tumult between defining oneself as an individual and surrendering oneself to another in a relationship. If that sounds like grant-speak, a look around studio 4B will dispel any fears of post-modern tedium. The floor is strewn with orange peel, talcum powder, paint cans, cardboard, netting, yarn, fabric, fruit, fake jewels and piles of clothing. “The cleaning guy was really nice about it,” says Driscoll with a disarming smile. After its premier at The Kitchen in April, Brian Seibert of the The New York Times described You’re Me as a work in which “craft blooms into artistry.”
Driscoll has worked at BAC before; first as assistant to Resident Artist David Neumann in 2008, then as chief collaborator with director Young Jean Lee during Lee’s 2011 residency for Untitled Feminist Show, but never before on her own material. She was invited to BAC after her 2010 showing of there’s so much mad in me at DTW. The 38-year-old, critically acclaimed choreographer describes the offer as “a privilege” and a chance to work without distractions. “I was grateful I could just be wrapped up in creativity,” she says, adding that it’s easy to forget how much energy goes into the logistics of trying to make new work in New York City. “These little things pluck away at you when you’re in the midst of trying to dream,” she says. And dream she does. Driscoll’s work is often described as raw and unfiltered; indelicate moves tinged with the abandon of children run amok in the playroom. In You’re Me, she and Zaritt pull and paw at one another, stuff oranges and spray cans into their pants, crawl, moan and, startlingly, arrange themselves into Isadora-like tableaux with all the balance and restraint of a classical frieze. It’s a seductive juxtaposition - a fleshy ride into the dark (and sometimes funny) depths of the subconscious. UCLA dance professor Victoria Marks calls Driscoll a “post-millennium, postmodern wild woman” and Lee has aptly dubbed her “the choreographer of the id.”
But Driscoll saves the extremes for her work. In person she is approachable, articulate and genuine. She describes the sense of being cared for at BAC as validation that what she’s doing is worthwhile. It’s pretty simple stuff - a good floor, nice light, helpful staff and very few parameters, but it’s huge for a creative artist. “It facilitates better art,” says Driscoll.