Underbelly at Seattle Center

Posted on October 06, 2012, 8:11 pm
2 mins
DAE performs at Seattle Center with Dohee Lee

Haruko Nishimura and Dohee Lee sing lead vocals while Joshua Kohl conducts during the October 5th performance of Underbelly at Seattle Center

Attendees make their way through a corridor toward a light sculpture that formed the entrance and exit from the world of Underbelly

Attendees make their way through a corridor toward a light sculpture that formed the entrance and exit of the world of Underbelly

The latest performance by Degenerate Art Ensemble has been months in the making in association with numerous local artists and designers and Olson Kundig Architects. Underbelly mingles modern dance, sculpture (static and kinetic) videography, live musical performance, inventive light, sound, and set design all contained in a loading bay and corridor beneath the open stadium at Seattle Center. DAE’s creative directors, Joshua Kohl and Haruko Nishimura, created a unique microcosm in the underbelly of the Seattle Center as part of the landmark’s 50th anniversary. Olson Kundig is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and hosts unique artistic installations in its offices every month (accessible to the public during First Thursday Arts Walks), and the firm provided technical know-how and additional imagination in creating sets specific to the site.

The performance focuses on three unique female characters portrayed by Haruko Nishimura: burlesque queen Gracie Hansen, a legendary Yamamba of Japanese lore, and the Warrior Woman—a modern Jeanne d’Arc who crusades against imperialism and environmental havoc.

Haruko Nishimura dances beneath a moving light sculpture integrated into the loading bay's architecture

Haruko Nishimura dances beneath a moving light sculpture integrated into the loading bay’s architecture

DAE hopes to expand the cast of characters in future performances. All of these women are anti-heroines who are reviled for challenging oppressive and destructive systems in the “underbelly” of our culture…yet they remain inspiring and appealing.

Look forward to more of Underbelly in the future. Read more about Underbelly at Seattle Arts News.

T.s. Flock is a writer and arts critic based in Seattle and co-founder of Vanguard Seattle.