Dance Under Construction:
The Choreographers
Bryan Hayes image
Bryan Hayes
Bryan Hayes image
Bryan Hayes was born in Eugene, Oregon. He came to New York in 1968 to study theatre and dance, enrolling first at the Herbert Berghoff Studio and the School of the Joffrey Ballet. For several years he continued to study acting and dance, while performing in a variety of new plays, happenings, musical and street theatre events at venues such as the Judson Poets Theatre, La MaMa ETC and the Theater for the New City. He was drawn to the work of James Waring, in which classical dance forms and steps coexisted with a modernist approach. Hayes studied with Waring and performed in five of his ballets; one of these included a solo composed especially for him. In 1974 he became a member of The Construction Company, which helped him produce his first solos and pieces for small groups and in 1976 he began to study with Merce Cunningham, participating in a repertory workshop in which the 1959 dance, Rune, was remounted. (It was Hayes' privilege to learn Cunningham's role in this work.)

In 1977-78 Hayes choreographed and taught for the Alberta Contemporary Dancers in Edmonton, Canada. Changing Parts, made in Edmonton, was later mounted on the Atlantic Dance Theater and presented in Toronto in '79. On returning to New York, Hayes created Rag Tango for the High School of Performing Arts and joined Kenneth King and Dancers. From 1980 through 1984 he performed steadily with King's company, touring throughout the U.S. and appearing at several European festivals, and also established Bryan Hayes and Dancers to perform his own work and works by King and other experimental choreographers. Hayes created Field Dances in 1980 to Steve Reich's Music for 18 Instruments and since then he has choreographed more that 20 dances - works that formed the groundwork for his interest in geometric patterning and spatial relationships (Quartet, Double Quartet and Landscapes) and works that highlight theatrical forms (Box, Songs from the Underworld and Vaudeville).

Hayes was a member of the faculty of the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio from 1984 to 1992 and has taught technique and repertory in New York, Berlin, Munich, and several U.S. colleges. In 1988 he was one of the first to teach modern dance in East Berlin when he was invited by the ballet of the Komische Oper to conduct a two-week workshop. In 1989 Bryan Hayes and Dancers traveled to Oregon where Hayes premiered three works at the U of O in Eugene and taught and performed at Reed College in Portland. The U of O commissioned a new work and Hayes created Arcs & Ladders during the residency. In the summer of '90 Rapp Arts Center presented Hayes' Vaudeville: Shadows of the Limelight and in June '91 Hayes collaborated with Kenneth King on the X-Change Dance Company project presented by St. Mark's Danspace. This was an evening-length piece in which new work by both choreographers, and jointly-made sections, were inter-edited into one continuous piece and set on a shared group of dancers. Hayes was awarded a 1992 Space Grant from The Field which presented the resulting trio Motor Reflex Anxiety in a concert at St. Mark's Church. Hayes presented two more new works at Dia Arts Center that spring and a collaboration with the choreographer Sally Gross followed in 1993 titled Arrangements. In June 1994 an evening length piece for 12 dancers with an original score for string quartet by Carolyn Lord was presented at Dia Arts Center.

Along with choreography Hayes began experimenting early on with film, video and projection. His Magic Lantern Fan Dance from '78 contained dance, film, slides, silhouettes, and moving objects and screens. He also directed and performed in a short film, At The Beach, a tribute to early silent film comedy. The next film event was in '83, the solo performance work Field Dance Film with film projected on scrim and synchronized with live dance. Hayes was awarded a 1992 Space Grant from The Field which presented his trio Motor Reflex Anxiety in a concert at St. Mark's Church. Hayes subsequently edited four performances of this trio into a work for video by the same title. In 1995, Hayes collaborated with the choreographer Sally Gross and Phil Niblock as director and video editor for Raw Materials, a dance work with video.

Since 1996 Hayes has been increasingly involved with works combining video projection and movement. Working with the camera, Hayes created JUMP/CUT and Life Drawing, dance video works produced by Music Under Construction in '97 and '98 in New York & Belgium. Also in 1998, Hayes created video projections for a new dance by Belgian choreographer Els Reynaert. In several of his works, projections are shown on transparent scrim in front of the live dancer. In JUMP/CUT the live dancer is sandwiched between a 16 mm film on scrim in front and a video projection behind. The dance was choreographed and shot to a metronome so all three versions could be synchronous. A detailed scenario of blackouts propels the eye from one layer to the next and back again presenting the same dance from three simultaneous points of view. Hayes is currently working on a new piece tentatively titled Transparencies, for live dancer with video projection and slides using material photographed at the Oregon coast. The work will be structured as three layers of continuously cross fading images set to music by Morton Feldman.
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