Garfield’s work is resonantly individual, defiantly uncategorizable, an emanation of things deep within.
— Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times

Choreography

Choreography is a vehicle for dancing.  I don’t care about beginnings, middles and ends necessarily.  Structures should be interrupted. Phrases are convenient and can be found in many grocery aisles. Everything can be included - the opposite choice is also valid, good dances and bad dances do not exist. I am in the same room as you. I can see you. The light spills over. You are sitting mostly, I am moving mostly. It could be said that we are all in this together. I notice air currents around me and within me, patches of coolness, patches of warmth. I do things I don’t know how to do. All balance is an exchange between falling and catching. Both actions are. I start each moment in the dance where I left off.  Sometimes I begin again.  Sometimes I stop.  Eventually I stop.  The dance may be felt to continue. – KG


Pow

Premieres 2016

Anything by the choreographer Keely Garfield is worth watching multiple times. There is so much to see, so much to delight in and puzzle through, that once is rarely enough!
— Siobhan Burke, The New York Times
Ms. Garfield reveals something fragile, heroic and intimate about the body, on its own and in relation to others.
— Siobhan Burke, The New York Times.

Pow –“How is it when the tree withers and the leaves fall?” asks the student.  The master replies, “Body exposed in the golden wind.” – Blue Cliff Record Koan

My dancing body is always exposed to the golden wind, which means there is no protection, none anywhere. Dancing is a flim flam, simply a wind moving through that carries you aloft, alighting here and there. It is beautiful and rare and painful and is ultimately just another way for me to know myself and the world. A kick in the head. An invitation to shine through and wake the fuck up.  Pow! – KG

Pow is a Frankenstein of a dance in which elements of other acclaimed dances Garfield has made are radically re-configured, sutured, amplified, and left to run amok creating a shocking new version of events.

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WOW

2014

Full-out and entirely sincere dancing, the uplift is irresistible. Wow, you feel, wow.
— Brian Seibert, The New York Times

It is no laughing matter that cynicism and scorn have seeped into our bones. Our good hearts desire more, but we are made powerless by puns, and our powerlessness is what we feel instead of the gravity of our situation. Meanwhile people go missing, guns go off, resources are hoarded, and the world heats up - What is our sincerely held hope for each other, for the whole planet?

Wow is an act of disruption, an unmasking with occasional masks, a mouthful of Pop Rocks, a baptismal immersion in feelings that continuously build, ebb and build again.
— Eva Yaa Asantewaa, InfiniteBody

In a dramatic act of sincerity WOW deploys a panoply of performance devices – pantomime, musical theatrics, back-up dancing, faux pas-de-deux - to protest its case.  Set to songs by Kate Bush performed live by Matthew Brookshire and the company. Bring in the clowns! Love is all there is! - KG


Telling the Bees

2013

A rare dynamism enriches the lucid choreography. We could watch this all night.
— Erin Bomboy, The Dance Enthusiast

The custom of telling bees when their beekeeper died, was believed to keep bees from absconding or even dying, and encourage their affiliation with a new beekeeper.  This tradition assumes a reciprocal relationship between animals and humans, past, present and future, and the lines of life and death. Telling The Bees examines the waggle and round dances of honeybees, their cooperative societies, the honeyed results of their toil and the sting of breakdown in our own organizing principles. 

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I burgered the King

It was a whopper time

We had a proper time

And the Queen asked me, “What will it be?

High fructose corn syrup or sugar with your tea?

 - KG


Twin Pines

2011

Garfield seems to have flung open the doors to some wild inner room of the imagination. How delicious it is to peer into this space, where fairy tale, domestic satire, dark humor and the absurd jostle uneasily.
— Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times

Two trees walk into a forest; one says to the other, “We’ll never make it out alive!”  Twin Pines gets lost in thought and tries to think its way out the same way you might if you got lost in the woods.  Garfield sat quietly listening to the deafening “jack hammer” of noise emanating from a densely packed mind during a silent retreat.  Moment-to-moment murder, and mayhem were committed followed by elation and ennui.  Here and there, space like a clearing.  Twin Pines produces a scenic version of events as the protagonists wrangle and forage a middle path around the root causes of desire and dread.  Episodes spontaneously arise, and ultimately dissolve entirely in this “epic” pantomime.

Two trees walk into a forest; one says to the other, “We’ll never make it out alive!”  Twin Pines gets lost in thought and tries to think its way out the same way you might if you got lost in the woods.  Garfield sat quietly listening to the deafening “jack hammer” of noise emanating from a densely packed mind during a silent retreat.  Moment-to-moment murder, and mayhem were committed followed by elation and ennui.  Here and there, space like a clearing.  Twin Pines produces a scenic version of events as the protagonists wrangle and forage a middle path around the root causes of desire and dread.  Episodes spontaneously arise, and ultimately dissolve entirely in this “epic” pantomime.

Featured Press

The dancing in Twin Pines takes the form of carefully shaped journeys delineating the space around the marvelous performers; sometimes it flails the air. Mysteries abound. In this analogy to the growth and formation of human emotions, trunks also crack and fall, and seeds produce strange offspring. The thread Garfield would have us follow (or not), veers, tangles, disappears, and pops up transformed. A serious story masquerades as rainy-day games in the mind’s attic.
— Deborah Jowitt, Arts Journal

Limerence

2009

Keely Garfield has been on a phenomenal tear in recent years, creating work that seems always on the verge of plunging off a cliff — you watch spellbound, waiting for the car to crash and burn in spectacular fashion. Somehow, though, she always makes the curve.
— Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times

The root of our desire for connection with another is at the heart of our longing for union with something greater than the self.  In Limerence, this gap is felt.  We peer into half-glimpsed places as figures move towards and away from each other.  Shadows are brought to light, music stirs the soul, and soap-operatic tendencies are displayed since “Love is a human religion in which another person is believed in.”

I manifested lots of weird fishes

with weird lights that go on and off

not predictably.

Deep undermycurrent

they swim up me and out my eyes.

Can a fish love a bird?

no

no

no

fish go deep…

- KG

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Years after I watched Ms. Garfield’s “Limerence” It’s atmosphere of brooding inchoate madness still lingers in my mind. Her work is resonantly individual, defiantly uncategorizable, an emanation of things deep within.
— Roslyn Sulcas, The New York Times
Keely Garfield’s Limerence could be the Cliff Notes to poet Gary Snyder’s line: “The pointless wars of the heart.” It draws blood. And if you’re like me, it takes a night of fitful sleep before you realize how badly you’ve been cut. This woman is dangerous.
— Steve Antinoff, Broad Street Review

Disturbulence

2005

Disturbulance serves as a metaphor for emotional paralysis while bringing to mind American isolationism – what many see as an inability or refusal to look beyond borders. Sex and politics may make for uneasy bedfellows, but Garfield’s ragged vision makes room for both.
— Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times

Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s what you don’t say that has the most impact. Small movements indicate incredibly large things.  I wanted to shout and whisper at the same time.  There is a sense that all change is precipitated by a disturbance of energy that percolates just beneath the surface and can cause a kind of paralysis.  Finding a way toflow back into life is key. - KG

Disturbulence is about separation anxiety as both a personal and political phenomenon.  In passages of architectural dancing that are highly organized, and immediately disrupted, two figures meticulously measured movements lay bare the onset of disturbance, and the duration of turbulence.  At once transparent and mysterious, Disturbulance is stripped of narrative, instead bringing essential elements into extreme focus.   Disturbulance is etched against original music composed by Marc Ribot.

Garfield’s fans admire her canny mingling of dark humor and pathos, which reveals itself in arresting images…(Disturbulance is) a psychosexually taut duet in matching red-and-white striped dresses that make the dancers look like flappers-cum-Chrysler Buildings – or like tremulous American flags.
— Stephen Greco, The New Yorker

The heart spurned

The castles burned

The world turned

Fuck all learned


Scent of Mental Love

2005

A jewel of a duet accompanied by the humorous songs of accordionist Rachelle Garniez performed live…Garfield’s choreography is never forced following the ebb and flow of a relationship with surprising, often awkward partnering and plenty of stillness, as (the dancers) glare at each other with a mixture of tenderness and frustration.
— Claudia La Rocco, The New York Times

You can become entranced by the way a person’s glove leaves a tiny gap at the wrist?  I wanted to make those small glimpses, those in-between spaces, visible, very large so that they almost overwhelm the dancing.  Amidst all the partnering, the most intimate moments are revealed when the dancers are not touching.  Somehow, you have a sense that you should not be looking at this secret thing.  Movement pushes certain buttons. - KG

Scent Of Mental Love is a rigorously pre-arranged faux pas-de-deux that succumbs to the seduction of a suggested relationship while simultaneously unveiling it’s choreographic conceits and constructs.  Painstakingly wrought, the duet is permeated by Rachelle Garniez’ brutally original songs ranging from bittersweet blue-grass laments to obstreperous waltzes.