Red Shoes

2010-present

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Project Description: 

Degenerate Art Ensemble's Red Shoes is a re-imagining of Hans Christian Andersen's tale of a girl who is cursed to dance herself to death for following her creative desires. Degenerate Art Ensemble's interpretation of this beloved fairy tale/ horror story is a rich drama of dreams, passion, discipline, desire, trauma, transformation, and reinvention. Degenerate Art Ensemble's work shows parallels between this story and the struggle to follow one's creative path in contemporary society. In it's 2011 premiere, the performance began in Frye Art Museum galleries and spilled onto the streets. The group created a theater inside of an abandoned supermarket, performed in a cathedral courtyard, in a fountain, and around a bonfire in the back streets of Seattle's first hill neighborhood. Red Shoes brings together non-verbal theater, dance, song, live music and visual art sensibilities to create an immersive, abstract and poetic yet narrative performance environment. Red Shoes emerged from Degenerate Art Ensemble's deep relationship with Seattle, as residents, creators, and influencers of its cultural landscape. Red Shoes emerged in a year-long series of impromptu solo performances by Haruko Nishimura in Seattle's streets, city parks and neighborhoods. Incubated by the full Degenerate Art Ensemble company in a Frye Art Museum residency and a residency at director Robert Wilson's Watermill Center a Laboratory of Performance in New York, Red Shoes was nurtured and produced in the embrace of an unprecedented neighborhood partnership that included Seattle's Frye Art Museum and St. James Cathedral. The work has since been developed into a touring project that works to engage with the community, architecture and culture of the venues at which it takes place.  Red Shoes was directed by Degenerate Art Ensemble's Haruko Nishimura with original music by Joshua Kohl and Jherek Bischoff and video by Leo Mayberry.