Dispatch: Elena Demyanenko

In this Dispatch, performance artist Elena Demyanenko discusses and previews her deeply collaborative work welter— originally scheduled to premiere at Roulette in June—and her interest in observing how work and engagement with art will now change and develop.

In welter, three simultaneous solos emerge out of prolonged work with color. The performers occupy a viscous dimension of saturated light, their submergence in which is total. Infected by color virus and noise making, they exhibit symptoms which evince something ancient and essential to emotional survival, complete with an extra-lingual mode of communication that is evocative of invocation, incantation. The performers do not surrender their agency; rather the spell endows them with a more evolved force unmediated by language. The resultant, feverish state enables a direct, non-abstracted, non-symbolic account of desire and its power.

Russian-born Elena Demyanenko (Dance Artist/Director) is a former member of both the Stephen Petronio Company (2003-2008) and the Trisha Brown Dance Company (2009-2012) and has been performing, teaching and choreographing in NYC since 2001. Her most recent multi-media project, echo/archive, premiered at EMPAC (Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Troy, NY) in the spring of 2018. Blue Room, made in collaboration with Dai Jian, and commissioned by New York Live Arts, was described in The New York Times as “luxurious” and “eloquently meticulous” (Kourlas). Demyanenko was a recipient of a Jerome Robbins Fellowship for the creation of Disparate Bodies with Joseph Poulson, which was choreographed at and subsequently premiered at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Elena’s other works have been shown at many prestigious venues including Danspace Project (New York), Garage (Moscow), Movement Research at Judson Church, Dance New Amsterdam, Dixon Place, and at the Architecture of Movement Festival, Yaroslavl, Russia, among others. Also a maker of dance films, Demyanenko was the recipient of a Dance Movies Commission by EMPAC and was nominated for the Dance on Camera Jury Prize for her collaboration on Kino Eye. Demyanenko is a member of the dance faculty at Bennington College and is currently developing a new work titled welter – which will premiere at Roulette in June 2020. www.elenademyanenko.com


As part of our Roulette at Home digital initiative, Dispatches is a set of brief communications or small collections of new work from artists, sent directly to our community—a way to remain connected and engaged in a time marked by distance, isolation, upheaval, and change.