Sara Hook

Sara Hook and Paul Matteson in Bored House GuestsHook's aim is to contribute to the art of dance by being a good role model/citizen, to create opportunities for other dance artists, and to make work that both honors our artistic forbears and enlivens our experience of contemporary culture. She seeks to synthesize contemporary sensibilities and training within an enduring dialogue with the ideas in masterworks of past artists. Because of a natural mistrust of trend, her investigations are often fueled by a need to embed critical comment on contemporary dance within her work. Therefore the very nature of performance is often the subject of her dances; she is compelled to reveal the tragicomic traits of the life devoted to dance.

Often the work appears like virtuosic gauntlets that require performers to risk failure and to make present tense creative choices about how to recover. For many years she has been researching the functionality of expression and the expressivity inherit in working with extremely challenging technical/pedagogic concentration. She has created a series of solo etudes that have been performed by current and former students, other professionals, as well as herself in various venues nationally. The most recently created etude is entitled Blue Beams, which she premiered at Hofstra University as part of a Regional American College Dance Festival that she was adjudicating in spring 2013.

Parallel to this series of etudes has been the development of a somatic floor series that represents 20 years of research into the synthesis of somatic strains of influence including the Alexander Technique, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Irene Dowd's Spiral Series, Gyrontonics, Feldenkrais, Yoga, and Pilates. These influences are "tested" in micro-focused detail in the context of movement that revisits classical modern influences (Martha Graham, Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, Paul Taylor) and invites a sensual, therapeutic, and performative experience. She is currently working on a poetically rendered document of this series with collaborator and Dance at Illinois alumna Betsy Brandt in the form of a dance for camera.

Working in collaborative choreographic processes has been a substantial aspect of Hook's career. She has choreographed and produced works with David Parker (artistic director of New York's the Bang Group), Mary Cochran (former Paul Taylor Dance Company principal dancer), Emilie Plauché Flink (former principal dancer with the Limon Dance Company) and most recently Paul Matteson (formerly of Bill T. Jones Company). Her hour-long work with Matteson entitled Bored House Guests explores what the choreographers have labeled "the aesthetic of attempt" and is a modern reckoning with the conceits of the classical grande pas de deux. It premiered at the West End Theatre in New York City in fall 2014 and received very positive critical acclaim.

DanceBeat review of Bored House Guests

Culturebot review of Bored House Guests (please scroll down to the second half of the review)