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Michael Yu

first performed on April 3, 2015
JACK, Brooklyn, NY
performed five times in 2015


Philadelphia, PA / New York, NY


In 2013 we received $27,500 from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to make “The Dance Apocalypse,” a duet exploring our relationship to art-making, spectacle, and to each other. Pew funding allowed us to work with a media team who helped create a Kickstarter campaign for $1,000,000 which was embedded in our performance. The Kickstarter was both a critique of the impoverished conditions in which artists make work, and also an earnest ask for what we think we would need to make a feature length film called “Chicken Fight” about two women’s friendship, mishaps, and hijinks.

Why shouldn’t dance artists ask for a million dollars?

Pew funding also allowed us to rent incredible taxidermy hats. We hired dramaturg Jane Comfort and a fight choreographer who helped create scenes that physicalized our disagreements about choreography, language, and of course, money. The structure of this work has since evolved based on changing circumstances: working conditions and finances.

In 2014 after our Pew funding cycle was complete, Gabrielle had an opportunity to perform at New York Live Arts as a part of her Fresh Tracks residency, but Nicole was scheduled to be at a Somatics training in Germany. We created a solo version of the piece for Gabrielle that begins as a genuine ask for money, titled: “The Dance Apocalypse/Fundraiser.” Later that year Nicole had an opportunity to perform at Mascher Space Cooperative. For this we created a solo for Nicole which begins with a Somatics class called “Clitoral Embodiment,” exploring the embryology of the genitalia with full audience participation. During the Q & A (in the middle of the piece) Gabrielle asked questions from the audience wearing a curly blond wig as a disguise.

In 2015, with zero funding, we wove together the solos to create a low-tech, evening length dance for a show at JACK in Brooklyn, “The Dance Apocalypse/Solos.” Our investment yielded three reviews, and provoked conversations about money and the relationship between performer and audience. The challenges we face inform the structure of our work in ways we would not have considered otherwise. Our working conditions are the material. The solos—created by necessity in each other’s absence—work together, commenting on and enriching each other.

We received a $500 Puffin Foundation grant to create “Chicken Fight.” We are nimble. Instead of a film it is now a web series.