MANCC Visiting Artist Dayna Hanson premieres The Clay Duke December 5-8 at On the Boards (Seattle, WA) http://www.ontheboards.org/performances/clay-duke. Hanson came to MANCC in mid-May, fresh on the heels of the premiere of her feature film, Improvement Club, at South by Southwest (SXSW), to continue the development of The Clay Duke. The dance theater piece draws details from such incongruous sources as the 2010 Panama City school board shooting, the writing of Anton Chekhov and the 1970s film, Death Wish.
This was the first major residency for The Clay Duke outside of her home base of Seattle and was used to develop the character and choreographic base of the work to inform the overall structure of the piece. While in residence, Hanson and her six collaborators traveled to Panama City to attend a school board meeting. Here, the group was to be able to draw directly from the location and from individuals who had been involved in the shooting.
The influential nature of the residency and related research activities were evident when Hanson shared the work with School of Dance faculty and students. SOD undergraduate, Kelsey Grills, served as a student assistant throughout the rehearsal process, allowing her a behind the scenes view of the making of this complex piece. Dayna presented a preview of the work in August at Noorderzon Festival (Netherlands) and will tour the piece following the U.S. premiere.