Work-in-Progress: Choreographer Christopher K. Morgan with Sculptor Brenda Mallory

Contemporary dance choreographer Christopher K. Morgan with sculptor Brenda Mallory

A work-in-progress event to demonstrate set pieces for Native Intelligence / Innate Intelligence

Troy, NY – Contemporary-dance choreographer Christopher K. Morgan is at EMPAC to work on a new piece, Native Intelligence / Innate Intelligence. Morgan is artistic director of his namesake Washington, DC–based dance company, as well as Executive Artistic Director of Dance Place in DC and Director of the Dance Omi International Dance Collective in Ghent, NY.

For his last work, Pōhaku (2016), Morgan diverged from his principal roll as choreographer of a contemporary-dance ensemble to create a personal solo that addressed his indigenous Hawaiian heritage and separation from his ancestral land. In Pōhaku, the choreographer explored the aesthetic and social complexities between Morgan’s Western modern and Indigenous Hawaiian dance lineages. Now continuing similar investigations with his company, Morgan’s new work Native Intelligence / Innate Intelligence incorporates modern dance, hula, Hawaiian chant, and live music to examine the location and meaning of home and belonging.

Morgan is at EMPAC to develop and build the set for Native Intelligence / Innate Intelligence by collaborating with mixed-media sculpture artist Brenda Mallory. Mallory uses cloth, fibers, beeswax, and found objects together with what she identifies as “crude hardware” to create works that imply tenuous connections or evidence of repair.

While Morgan and Mallory will be at work with EMPAC’s crew to construct the set of Native Intelligence / Innate Intelligence during the days of this residency, Morgan’s company dancers will work in the studio at night to develop a movement vocabulary from the materials designed for the stage set. These explorations between the sculptural materials of the set in relationship to movement are the focus of this event.

Work-in-progress events offer a window into the research, development, and production of new works by artists in residence at EMPAC. These free events open up a dialogue between our audiences, artists, and EMPAC staff.

A public reception will follow the performance. Refreshments will be served.
For more information, please visit

Christopher K. Morgan
Thursday, February 20, 2020 7PM
EMPAC Studio 1—Goodman

EMPAC | Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s most technologically advanced university performing arts center. EMPAC hosts artists and researchers to produce and present new work at the confluence of human and digital space. Four exceptional venues enable audiences and presenters to inquire, experiment, develop, and experience the ever-changing relationship between ourselves, technology, and the worlds we create around us. EMPAC is an icon of the New Polytechnic, a new paradigm for transdisciplinary research and learning at Rensselaer, the nation’s oldest technological research university.

EMPAC Spring 2020 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts; and Vlaamse Gemeenschap, department of Culture, Youth, and Media. Additional project support by CCS Bard; National Culture and Arts Foundation, Taiwan; New Music USA; National Performance Network (NPN); New York Live Arts; and the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University in partnership with Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Tanz im August/HAU Hebbel am Ufer, and NPN.

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