slowdanger is a Pittsburgh based, multidisciplinary performance entity founded in 2013 by co-artistic directors taylor knight and anna thompson. We use a systematic approach to movement, integrative technology, found material, electronic instrumentation, vocalization, physiological centering, and ontological examination to produce their hypnotic performance work. slowdanger is an organism that uses performance and collaboration as ritual practice to delve into circular life patterning such as effort, transformation, and death. Our performance work largely centers the body and researches its relationship to other bodies, the environment, sensory information, technology and the unknown/unknowable.
Within this system, we work with an engaged and deepening understanding of energy, synergy, action, gender, time and storytelling. We aim to bring audiences closer to their own bodies through performance, immersive experiences and open-level workshops, cultivating kinesthetic empathy through creating community in transformational embodied experiences.
The foundational goals of slowdanger are to cultivate further embodied intelligence within a largely disembodied society due to the dominance of white supremacist and patriarchal systems. We continue to create space for intersectional communities within the building and sharing of new performance works and programming initiatives. Within these programs, slowdanger creates experimental and unexpected entry points for audiences to connect with their own body, and question how their body engages with broader social, energetic and environmental spheres that they intersect with.
We believe a lifelong pursuit of deepening our awareness to the vessel (body) we live in is essential in examining and unpacking ancestral trauma, and provide resources for continued anti-racist education for our audiences of white identity. We work to decentralize hierarchical and individualistic power structures so often in place within the creation of performance, intending instead to implement horizontal systems of making and collaborating. The more we engage in this collaborative work, the more we recognize the manifestation of this work as a non-binary entity that is one body amassed of multiple bodies in space.
As a queer non-binary led organization, slowdanger is invested in the deconstruction of gendered binaries in how audiences view and engage with performance and performers. We provoke to our public that there is no wrong way to view performance and seek to empower audiences to draw meaning from the ephemerality of their own sensation and perceptions. The name, slowdanger, was inspired by the road signs that signify a demolition of old surfaces to build upon the remnants. We continue to return to this overarching concept cyclically in performance creation; rebuilding, slowing down to examine the remains and re-imagine new futures. slowdanger’s performance work has been featured across the United States and Canada in venues ranging from proscenium theaters and galleries to nightclubs and dive bars. From directing music videos to scoring a play, slowdanger transforms its shape to adapt to a variety of different containers. In addition to producing performances, we develop soundscores for theater, dance, film and virtual reality projects as well as act as interdisciplinary movement consultants for actors, musicians, and architects. We use sound and vibration as a vehicle to embody our audience, as it is the waveform that physically impacts the witness. We are interested in further coming back into the body, using technology and biometric data to create soundscapes and felt responses. These multi and interdisciplinary processes provide multiple entry points for viewers within experimental performance.
Their work has been featured or experienced at The Kennedy Center, Springboard Danse Montreal, The MoMA, The Carnegie Museum of Art, Place Des Arts, Université du Québec à Montréal, Dance Place, The VIA Festival, The Andy Warhol Museum, Kahlon, theCURRENTSESSIONS, Honcho (PGH), Hot Mass, The Pittsburgh Biennial, BAAD!, Triskelion Arts, Usine C, The New Hazlett Theater, Kelly-Strayhorn Theater's NewMoves Contemporary Dance Festival and more. They have facilitated workshops at The Carnegie Museum of Art, Sidra Bell Dance New York MODULE, Gibney, Peridance, Painted Bride Arts Center, BAX, The Mattress Factory, Slippery Rock University, Middlebury College, Point Park University, and Carnegie Mellon University. Anna and Taylor alongside David Bernabo are producers and curators of Lightlab Performance Series, a platform for experimental performance from 2013-2019.
slowdanger is one of Dance Magazine’s 2018 ‘25 to Watch’ , emerging choreographers for Springboard Danse Montreal 2018, guest artists at Movement Invention Project, and Sidra Bell's MODULE. They have been in residence at Sidra Bell Dance New York’s MODULE 2017-2020, PearlArts Studio’s Pearl Diving Movement Residency 2017, The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh’s F.I.N.E. Residency 2016, The New Hazlett Theater’s CSA Series 2016, City Theatre’s Belfry Artist Series 2016, The Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s FreshWorks Residency 2015 and more. In 2019, they were Creatives in Residence at The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University and Performers in Residence at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Since 2020, anna and taylor have been Adjunct Professors of Dance at Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts. In 2021 they debuted for shadowing for the Kennedy Center as a part of their Arts Across America Digital Stage, and far field for the Kennedy Center as a part of LENS. Recently, anna and taylor choreographed and played roles in The Happiest Man II film Directed by Sofia Caetano, shot on location in the Azores, Portugal. Currently, slowdanger is Artist in Residence at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland. In 2022-2023, they were awarded a NEFA National Dance Project Production Grant and an NPN Creation and Development Fund Award for their project SUPERCELL.
Their work has been supported by The New England Foundation for the Arts, The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, NPN Creation and Development Fund, The Heinz Endowments/Pittsburgh Foundation Investing in Professional Artists Award, The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Special Presenters Initiative with Dance Place, The Opportunity Fund, The Pittsburgh Foundation Andrew W. Mellon Grant, The PNC Charitable Trusts and The Heinz Endowments Small Arts Initiative.