Conceived and directed by Kelly Silliman,
the tinydance project is a performance ensemble based in the Northampton, MA area that began with the question of what dance and performance art would look like without the high-tech resources currently available to us.
Tinydance performances are presented outdoors in public spaces and collaborators sing their own accompaniment, all on a 4’ by 8’ stage towed by bicycle to venues. Modeled after the values of Tiny Houses, which are highly designed for efficiency and beauty, the tinydance project presents multidisciplinary, movement-based performances with intricately woven and curated sound scores. Presenting work in this way is part of the company members’ practice and exploration of sustainability in art and life. Tinydance collaborators are always paid for their creative work, and maintain a commitment to presenting performances free to the public.
For more information, scroll down, or:
Click here to watch the documentary "No Matter the Odds: the art-making and life-making of the tinydance project"
Click here to see tinydance (and other) work on Vimeo
Click here for the Oct 2015 tinydance interview on 93.9
Click here for the Daily Hampshire Gazette profile of Kelly
Click here for Kelly's July 2014 interview on 93.9
Click here for Kelly Silliman's website
Why "cheerfully apocalyptic?"
In early attempts to discuss climate change with friends, peers, and acquaintances, Kelly discovered that people tended to fall into two categories--those who couldn't imagine major lifestyle changes at all, and those who felt anxious/stressed/depressed about what they perceived to be impending doom. Kelly chose the phrase "cheerfully apocalyptic" to describe her practice of acknowledging the coming breakdown of unsustainable systems while resisting feelings of despair. This quote from the 2015 article Kelly wrote for Kinebago (a journal by and about New England dance makers and movement researchers created by Sara Smith) sums it up:
"Living in crisis mode quickly becomes counter-productive, and so the tinydance project seeks to approach discussions about art and sustainability through a “cheerfully apocalyptic” lens. Rather than bemoaning potential tragedies to come, I strive to live fully within our current cultural and environmental context, to acquire information and useful skills, to build community, to act thoughtfully, to remain flexible and open to whatever changes are coming, and to create examined and engaging dance art, all with creativity, pragmatism, and good cheer."
The tinydance project began in 2012, and evolved during founder Kelly Silliman's graduate work at Smith College. Initially conceived as a project, not a company, early collaborators such as Michelle Marroquin, Maureen Shea, Crystal Nilsson, Cory-Ellen Gatrall, Liv Fauver, and Charnice Charmant helped set the (tiny) stage for art and community engagement that brought tinydance to its current company model. In 2014, collaborators Marie Brown, Nicole Kutcher, and Jayme Winell joined the project and became an integral part of honing the group's process and performance experience.
Over the years, tinydance has performed and taught throughout Western Mass and beyond, including performances and residencies in Connecticut, Vermont, and New York. Please visit the performances page for more information.
In 2015-2016, company members' lives and work were filmed for a documentary about the tinydance project by 406Up Films, which was released in 2017.
As part of its deep commitment to integrated community building, the tinydance project spent the summer of 2017 raising funds for the Prison Birth Project, and collecting bicycle repair tools for the Holyoke Urban Bike School (HUBS). This happened in partnership with tinydance collaborators’ other endeavors, including Renew Pilates Studio and Flame’n’Peach and the Liberated Waffles.
After three seasons of active growth as makers, performers, and educators, and the filming and release of a documentary about company members' work and lives, tinydance took a rest year in 2018.
In 2019, Kelly Silliman and Jayme Winell created a new piece, and the final tour for this particular project is planned for summer 2020. And then Covid-19 arrived. The project was made for these times, but everything is still scary and uncertain and every-changing. While we worked on figuring out performing in this new world, here are some things the tinydance project did during the spring of 2020:
1. We believe in mutual aid, and we donated the grant money we received for our now cancelled accessibility tour to the Western-Mass Low-Income Artist/Freelancer Relief Fund
2. We posted tiny dance videos, tinydance-style (yes, digitally recorded, but otherwise low-tech) on Instagram and Facebook to give you a break from whatever you need a break from. Join us and post your own!
3. We made our documentary “No Matter the Odds” available to watch online, so you can take a trip down memory lane to that time we danced barefoot in the snow and biked in a thunderstorm.
4. More exciting? WE CAN STILL PERFORM!!! Stay tuned for details.