Degenerate Art Ensemble is a performance company that creates original and adventurous productions using live music, physical theater and the visceral language of Butoh dance. Audio elements include live foley art, orchestras/Chamber ensembles, bands, newly invented instruments, and electronics. Their creative approach is intensely collaborative and is in a constant state of invention and re-invention. Aesthetically extreme, influenced by punk, protest, cartoons, nightmares and fairy tales, DAE takes the viewer into otherworldly landscapes — full of compelling characters and music that doesn’t just accompany the action, but defines the mental state and reveals secrets to the audience that the characters will never know. DAE’s work is a tightly wound mechanism made up of triggers and cues that when released on stage aims to achieve a heightened sense of awareness one might find in a sacrificial rite. DAE has been presented by On The Boards (Seattle), REDCAT (L.A.), New Museum (N.Y.), Festival Alternativa (Prague), T.F.F. Festival (Germany) and many others in ten countries of Europe and North America.
DAE has since garnered acclaim with more than five hundred concerts and performances in ten countries. It has explored a diverse variety of formats, including music, dance, theater, film scoring, recording, sculpture, and painting in over one hundred original performative works and nine commercial music recordings. The group has received commissions from On the Boards, Commissioning Music USA, and the Aaron Copland Fund, and will be in residence at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center a Laboratory of Performance. DAE is currently the subject of a large scale touring museum exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle.
Degenerate Art Ensemble will focus on the completion of one of the chapters of their in-progress performance work, Red Shoes, which is set to premiere at Seattle’s Frye Art Museum in May of 2011. With limited opportunity to hold full rehearsals in the actual performance sites in Seattle, they will use the residency as a testing ground. Museum locations include a forest, a body of water, a field, and an indoor exhibition space – all spaces that exist on or nearby the Watermill grounds.
Red Shoes reimagines Hans Christian Andersen’s tale of a girl who is cursed to dance herself to death as a punishment for following her creative desires. DAE describe their work as ‘live music driven, comedy / horror, butoh inspired physical theatre.’ Their performance will utilize the musical talents of local East End musicians and will explore audience involvement in both the creation of soundscapes as well as choreography in portions of the piece.