SYREN Modern Dance and Steeplechase Arts & Productions have created an evening-length, three-movement work inspired by ideas of home. Choreographer Kate Mehan St. Amand (SYREN) and composer Damon Ferrante (Steeplechase) have set the piece for 8 dancers and six musicians (violin, cello, piano, acoustic and electric guitar, acoustic and electric bass, and percussion).
Most of the music for "Toward Home" was written on the road–from the mountains of western and central Virginia to the seaside towns of eastern Long Island. The music is drawn from two simple, folk-like themes. These themes wend their way through the score and are transformed as part of a musical travelogue. The first movement is performed by a piano trio (violin, cello, piano). Guitar, bass, and percussion play in the second movement. The third movement brings all of the instruments together.
Photos courtesy of Christopher Duggan
A short documentary about the dance and music work, "Toward Home", a collaboration between SYREN Modern Dance and Steeplechase Arts & Productions.
by Damon Ferrante
In 2003, SYREN Modern Dance was formed by Kate St. Amand and Lynn Peterson and it has since produced eight New York Seasons. SYREN has been presented at Jacob's Pillow, Symphony Space, DTW, and The Riverside Theatre, among others. It has been supported by grants from NYC's Department of Cultural Affairs, Harkness Space Grants (92nd Street Y), residencies at DanceNOW/NYC's Silo and DTW's Outer/Space, and was commissioned by Purchase College.
SYREN's mission is to place dance within a broader social context and harness the unique power of live performance. Central to that mission is pairing vigorous motion with live onstage music to bring dance back to where it started - in dialogue with live music. SYREN has collaborated with Galeet Dardashti, Artemis Chamber Ensemble, and Steeplechase Arts & Productions to bring over 20 performances to the public that feature dance with live music. SYREN is driven to explore movement and music in ways that deeply connect the two, as they have always been. Blending narrative ideas with the unique journey of each dancer and also that of each audience member is at the core of the work. The individual journey of a shared experience is the place SYREN loves to explore.
SYREN has worked with students at Purchase College, Yale University, Nutmeg Conservatory, and Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, among others. SYREN launched its fourth year of "Dance on Canvas" in 2011. This partnership with the Art Students League of NY is a series of gallery-based rehearsals where visual artists capture the company's dynamic motion in oil, charcoal and ink.