Behind the Scenes at the DAM

Q&A with Locals Nick Cave Picked to Dance in Soundsuit Performance

Nick Cave has selected 15 folks to participate in the Soundsuits community performance on June 28 during the museum’s final Friday Untitled events. After alerting the community members that they were chosen, we decided to find out a bit more. Find an an abbreviated Q&A with some of the lucky participants below.

World-renowned contemporary artist Cave’s multisensory, immersive installations reimagine the boundaries of textile art, exploring the intersection where material and movement collide. On February 22, more than 100 hopefuls arrived at the Denver Art Museum’s open call auditions for a chance to participate in this month's performance with Cave. You can watch a video on an earlier blog post to relive the evening.

Cave also will be working with local dance companies 3rd Law, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, and Wonderbound at the June 28 performance. For the music element, the improv band Double Ply Translucent Caterpillar will provide free form beats and DJ Man Mantis will inspire movement from the dancers and crowd. Performance tickets are sold out, but the museum will be live-streaming it online and in various locations throughout the museum. Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity to visit the ticketed exhibition Nick Cave: Sojourn, on view at the DAM through September 22.

Laura Burchard

Denver Art Museum: What is your favorite place to go in Denver?

Laura Buchard: I really enjoy just going out and walking by the rivers or taking the light rail out to some of the open space areas. I also just enjoy the mom and pop cafes and the great little shops on Broadway and galleries on Santa Fe.

DAM: What pays the bills?  

LB: I am a security person at the Denver Art Museum and have been for a long time, I went away and came back and haven’t left since.

DAM: What music gets you moving?

LB: I love to move, the body becomes the paintbrush, the cello. I really enjoy any sort of music depending on the mood. I really enjoy music from other countries, but any tunes get my smile on.

DAM: How does it feel to make the cut? What made you stand out?

LB: Auditioning was a joy, moving in a big group of people, everyone just so full of hope and energy. I think it’s all very amazing and an honor and still so surreal to me that I am in it. I may have made the cut as I am looking forward to becoming a suit, a being that inhabits the mind of an artist brought to life like a living painting or music in motion. It’s going to be incredible to bring energy and excitement to those around us-another form of communication in motion.

Phaedra Eason

DAM: Hometown?

Phaedra Eason: Baltimore, MD.

DAM: What brings you to Denver?

PE: It was always on my list of places to live even though I had yet to visit...it was love at first sight when I finally did visit in June 2012 to go to a show at Red Rocks...two months later, Denver became my home.

DAM: What is your favorite place to go in Denver?

PE: Strange Grounds Coffee Shop.

DAM: What do you like to do in your free time?

PE: Read, knit, crochet, hang upside down from things, spin fire.

Chanel Godwin-McMaken

DAM: Hometown?

Chanel Godwin-McMaken: Phoenix, AZ.

DAM: What is your favorite place to go in Denver?

CGM: Washington Park.

DAM: What music gets you moving?

CGM: Indietronica, most electric gets me pretty pumped.

DAM: What did you wear to the open call? Why?

CGM: I wore high-waist dance short from American Apparel that were tribal design and red and black in color, with a black tank. Those are my lucky audition shorts and they are pretty eye-grabbing and fun!

Mary Beth Hamilton

DAM: Nickname?

Mary Beth Hamilton: Mary Bliss.

DAM: Hometown?

MBH: Buffalo, NY.

DAM: What is your favorite place to go in Denver?

MBH: I love the Mercury Cafe—great ambiance as it literally drips in twinkly lights.

DAM: What is your dance background—from the formal to informal?

MBH: I am classically trained in tap, jazz, and ballet; Bilateral foot surgery ended my dance career when I was 19 but I have started dancing again as a hula hoop dancer for the last year and a half. I started a hula hoop dance tribe in Colorado Springs called “Open Heart Hoop Tribe!"

DAM: Why did you audition?

MBH: I was waiting for something new...I am blown away by Nick Cave's creative mind and didn't hesitate to sign up for an audition. 

DAM: What did you wear to the open call? Why?

MBH: I wore an animalistic ballerina get-up with a gold, circus-style silk coat that I thought made me look like I was already famous—I thought If I showed up looking like I am already famous that I would land the audition.

Heidi Kleder

DAM: What brings you to Denver?

Heidi Kleder: Well, technically I was born and raised in the suburbs (Wheat Ridge). I took up the opportunity to live in the city when I was offered a room inside a warehouse full of artists and musicians on Brighton Blvd.

DAM: What did you wear to the open call? Why?

HK: I wore the velvet pants I'm wearing at this moment, a crop top, a bikini under it, and a winter hat. I don't know why I wore it; it wasn't very stylish but I just wanted to be able to move!

DAM: How did you prepare?

HK: I ate some candy and doused myself in glitter.

DAM: How does it feel to make the cut? What do you think made you stand out?

HK: Probably the booty shaking against the wall and getting on the floor to do the worm garnished some attention.... It feels amazing to be chosen! I'm very excited for this experience. 

Marcy Mitchell

DAM: Hometown?

Marcy Mitchell: Plano, TX.

DAM: What pays the bills?

MM: I teach art for Denver Public Schools.

DAM: Why did you audition?

MM: I saw the article in ARTNews about Nick Cave last summer. I used his work in my classes as an example of how art is more than just drawings and paintings. When I saw the open call I knew I had to do it; to get out of my comfort zone and just try.

DAM: What is your dance background—from the formal to informal?

MM: I’ve been practicing Nia for 12 years and I’ve recently started attending Rhythm Sanctuary, an ecstatic dance gathering. I also love contra dancing. 

DAM: How does it feel to make the cut? What do you think made you stand out?

MM: I literally screamed and leapt for joy. I’m not really sure what made me stand out.  Maybe he could just tell how happy I was to be there.

Markus Ramirez

DAM: What is your favorite place to go in Denver?

Markus Ramirez: Punch Bowl Social, performances at the DCPA, and the featured work(s) at the museum.

DAM: What is your dance background—from the formal to informal?

MR: Trained at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance School, Colorado Ballet, the Denver Dance Center adult program, Hannah Kahn Open Studio, and the Academy of Creative Dance with Lisa Wood. I have danced semi-professionally with: Issac's Third Dance Company, Speaking of Dance, Classical Dance Theatre, and MoraPorVida Contemporary Dance. My professional dance experience has been with: Kim Robards Dance Company and co-director of Davis Contemporary Dance.

DAM: Why did you audition?

MR: It's time the world "sees" me again and through my movement...inspire someone.

Liesel Schmidt

DAM: Hometown?

Liesel Schmidt: Idaho Springs, CO.

DAM: What brings you to Denver?

LS: I lived here and there for a few years and felt the mountains calling me home last year.

DAM: What music gets you moving?

LS: Anything with a howl in it.

DAM: How did you prepare?

LS: I was late! I ran through the doors!

Casey Michelle Shivers

DAM: Hometown?

Casey Michelle Shivers: Hot Springs, AR.

DAM: What brings you to Denver?

CMS: Springtime.

DAM: What is your favorite place to go in Denver?

CMS: The Sie Film Center.

DAM: What is your dance background—from the formal to informal?

CMS: 3rd grade clog and jazz classes, living room craziness.

Mitch Slevc

DAM: What pays the bills?

Mitch Slevc: I co-write, build, and perform all-ages theater at Buntport Theater. My current project is a fun new monthly show called Duck Duck Dupe.  Also I can be seen at the DAM at Totspot as Foxy the fox and occasionally at Untitled in Joan & Charlie.

DAM: What do you like to do in your free time?

MS: Well, I love to dance, play trivia, read, and I'm trying to learn a bunch of magic tricks and hat juggling.  Also I curate a fun blog: duckduckdupe.tumblr.com.

DAM: What music gets you moving?

MS: I recently discovered a whole genre of music called electro-swing, which blends the sounds of the '30s with the dance beats of today and I love it. Also Motown, swing, top 40, rock, '70s, '80s, and '90s pop, honky-tonk, dubstep, disco, hip-hop, funk, soul, hair metal. I will dance to most things.

DAM: What did you wear to the open call? Why?

MS: Rainbow fuzzy leg warmers. Because they are awesome, and they were the thing in my wardrobe that looked the most like a Soundsuit.

Emma Thomas

DAM: Hometown?

ET: Pueblo, CO.

DAM: What is your favorite place to go in Denver?

ET: Tattered Cover Bookstore! If they would let me, I would just live in that place!  

DAM: What pays the bills?

ET: I street perform fire juggling, and I also juggle for parties and events.  

DAM: What did you wear to the open call? Why?

ET: I wore polka-dot tights, a black leotard, and a little red shrug.  Because it looked rather sharp.  

Haruna Tsuchiya

DAM: Hometown?

Haruna Tsuchiya: Shimoda, Japan.

DAM: What brings you to Denver?

HT: I live in Boulder. I came here to study with Mr. Wendell Beavers in the master's program in Contemporary Performance at Naropa University.

DAM: What is your favorite place to go in Denver?

HT: Japanese supermarket in Sakura Square, and of course, the DAM!

DAM: What is your dance background—from the formal to informal?

HT: I loved dancing as a child. Every summer, we would have a folk dance gathering called bon-odori and I was always very excited to dance in yukata (a simpler garment similar to a kimono). Since I came to Naropa, I've been deeply immersed in somatic movements and improvisation/composition.

Elise Hibbert was the media relations intern at the Denver Art Museum in spring 2013.