Degenerate Art Ensemble makes live performances inspired by punk, comics, cinema, PROTEST, nightmares and fairy tales driven by live music and our own style of visceral movement theater and dance. Our work is an exorcism through collision and conflict challenging how we see audience, architecture, music, story, myth and reality. It comes out of a deep desire for communion and soul-exchange and transformation.
Degenerate Art Ensemble has shown their work throughout the US and Europe known for their large scale dance and theater projects, concerts, site-transforming spectacles and ongoing public experimentation. Recent highlights of the group's work include a major exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in 2011, was commissioned by director Robert Wilson to interpret his work Einstein on the Beach in 2012 and collaborated with the Kronos Quartet in 2013. Also in 2012 Degenerate Art Ensemble was commissioned by the city of Seattle to create a massive site specific work Underbelly in collaboration with Olson Kundig Architects to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair. The group’s 2015 work Predator Songstress premiered at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco in 2015. In of 2016 DAE teamed up with Czech rock legends Uz Jsme Doma for an epic orchestral work inspired by the group's music at the Archa Theatre in Prague with the South Bohemian Philharmonic Orchestra. DAE will tour 20 cities of Europe as a band in the fall of 2019. Skeleton Flower was first seen as a work in progress at the Spotlight USA Festival in Plovdiv, Bulgaria and premiered in Seattle in March of 2019.
"You can trace plenty of avant-garde and indie influences -- Pina Bausch, anime, the Kronos Quartet, Aphex Twin, among others. The members are bold, versatile musicians, and move from thrash to classical to rap with appealing nonchalance. (Degenerate Art Ensemble's's) Haruko Nishimura has real physical charisma, and her Butoh-inspired twitches, blinks and eerie vocalizing register vividly. They have a keen sense of materials and space." (LA TIMES)
Degenerate Art Ensemble has been presented by On The Boards (Seattle), REDCAT (L.A.), New Museum (N.Y.), Archa Divadlo (Prague), T.F.F. Festival (Germany), the Baryshnikov CEnter (N.Y.), Yerba Buena Center (San Francisco) and many others in ten countries of Europe and North America.
"They entranced the audience...the secret of their performance is perfect drama, gradation and splendid visuals, indescribable costumes and a punk-symphonic-garage-big-band style. Dynamic upheavals were turning into relaxing passages and everything was falling into place like wheels in a post-modernist clock machine."
Kultur Magazine, Prague
"This music and movement ensemble create work outside of all music and dance conventions...telling surreal stories filled with sweetness, power and humor. The unexpected is accomplished and a mysterious mythology emerges."
Berliner Morgenpost, Berlin
"With a lead who sings like Bjork, a penchant for the quirky and light overtones of Pina Bausch--inspired dance theater, Seattle's Degenerate Art Ensemble could be grouped into a genre I call "whimsically disturbing performance art." ...the performers are so refined that they leave no doubts about the show's future success."
Timeout New York