Local audiences will get a small taste of one of the world’s largest performing arts festivals Saturday when Hannah Myers performs her original work during the Graham Academy Annual Spring Concert in Pullman.An associate artistic director at the Graham Academy, Myers was one of 12 selected to perform in the Choreographer’s Showcase at the Fringe Festival. This is the 25-year old’s second year at the festival, which is held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in August.
Last year Myers applied and was selected to exhibit her work in the showcase. She choreographed a piece, and a professional dancer performed it. This year, she was invited to participate and will be performing her own work.
When Myers was notified of the honor in December 2017, she decided to choreograph an original composition with Taige McMahon, a Seattle-based composer. The two collaborated long-distance to create the composition. He asked her the general mood of the piece. She answered and would send images of artwork or writing excerpts that spoke to her. He’d send a few musical samples. She would tell him what pieces she liked and what she didn’t.
They began a conversation in sound and dance. She would send videos of the dance she envisioned — with no music — and he would send back longer musical samples to accompany and further her work.
“Sounds helped me to make the movement and the movement helped him to make the sound,” Myers said.
The composition was built piece by piece in a process that Myers said forced her to be intentional about her movement. A choreographer can easily just do what they feel like, she said, but the collaborative nature of the work meant she had to think through her choices.
“It was very challenging. I liked how challenging it was,” Myers said.
The final work, “She Hits the Wall,” is just under six minutes in length and was completed at the beginning of May. Myers recently returned from New York City, where she performed the piece for the first time at the Martha Graham Studio Theater and received positive feedback.
The music and dance explore the mental state that “can come along with realizing you’re dreaming or realizing you’re not dreaming,” Myers said.
Myers, who grew up in Pullman, has danced since age five. She attended University of Hartford, Conn., where she got a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in dance pedagogy. She enjoys teaching and dancing, but choreography is what she loves most.
“It’s what I find most exciting,” Myers said.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Graham Ballet Theater/Graham Academy Annual Spring Concert
WHEN: 7 p.m. Saturday, May 19
WHERE: Gladish Community and Cultural Center, 115 N.W. State St., Pullman
COST: $19; advance tickets available at (509) 338-4446