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Q&A with Dayna Hanson | 1990 GAP, Performance

Artist Trust

Q: What are you currently working on?
A: I’m working on a new dance piece inspired by a discarded sheet of calculus problems.

Q: What did you do with the award?
A: I choreographed a duet that was part of a larger, multi-media piece by the Run/Remain Ensemble. My company with Gaelen Hanson, 33 Fainting Spells, revived the duet in 2000 for our piece, September September, then adapted it into a dance film, Measure, in 2001. I still consider this dance to be one of the most significant projects of my career.

Q: How has your practice changed since you received the award in 1990?
A: I was in my 20’s when I received this award, and life was simpler then. I spent practically every waking hour making work. My practice has evolved from the relatively pure, impassioned and wildly confident outlook of a young artist—but the central kernel of excitement is as powerful as it was when I first discovered dance and contemporary performance in the 1980’s.
The range of structures within which I’ve worked—as an individual artist, informal ensemble member/collaborator, nonprofit dance company co-director—has shaped my practice as well. As circumstances shift, I keep re-learning how to make art a career: how to support what happens in the studio with the administration, development and communications needed to sustain creative output.

Q: What was the impact of this award / Artist Trust on your career / artistic life?
A: I had barely decided to be a choreographer when I received the GAP. It was my first arts grant ever and the joy and excitement it brought still reverberates anytime I receive an award. In 1990, the GAP award was a “yes” answer from the world when I proposed to be an artist. As I’ve received support from Artist Trust in the intervening decades—including Fellowships in choreography and media and the Arts Innovator Award—I treasure that ongoing affirmation more and more.

Choreographer Dayna Hanson has been making dance, theater and film since 1987. Based in Seattle, WA, she has toured her work throughout the U.S. and in Europe, including at On the Boards, REDCAT, Noorderzon Festival and many others. Her films have screened at film festivals worldwide, including at South by Southwest and New York Film Festival. Among numerous honors, Hanson received a 2006 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, a 2010 United States Artists Foundation Oliver Fellowship in Dance and a 2012 Artist Trust Arts Innovator Award. Her work has received support from National Dance Project, MAP Fund, National Performance Network and others. From 1994-2006, she was co-artistic director of dance theater company 33 Fainting Spells with Gaelen Hanson. She was a founding member of Run/Remain from 1989-1991. Hanson is currently working on a new abstract dance piece with New York-based performer Jim Fletcher. With colleagues Peggy Piacenza and Dave Proscia, Hanson will open Base, a new dance/performance space in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood, in 2016.