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TRIO w/ rashaun mitchell

and silas riener

Photo by Amitava Sarker


I met rashaun and silas through my partner, Claudia La Rocco, who wrote about dance for many years and had a deep friendship with these two amazing individuals who came out of merce cunningham's company but when their own way after his death and have been forging a path all their own as choreographers and improvisers. Rashaun and I first worked together, contributing to the staged readings of La Rocco's science fiction novel, Le Petit Cadeau at the Chocolate Factory in Long Island City, NY. We were both smitten with each other's work and vowed to do something. That something was realized at The Lab in San Francisco, when we performed in trio with Fred Frith, a show that was videotaped and is slated for release on DVD. The next thing I knew, Rashaun and Silas called me up to perform with them in a festival celebrating the work of dance pioneer Anna Halprin at Marfa Sounding, a performance that gave us a ten-acre expanse in the desert to use as a stage. I led the audience from the road down a slope for about a half a mile before we arrived at a location we had designated as a stage. We improvised for nearly an hour as dusk gathered; it was a transcendent experience I'll never forget. We performed in quartet with pianist Evelyn Davis at The Lab in SF, and the performance was documented on video - along with a trio performance (Greenlief and Mitchell) at The Lab with Fred Frith, these performances are slated for release on DVD/blu-ray in 2020.


Since 2010 Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener have created dance in response to complex and active spatial environments, often merging elements of fantasy, absurdity, and quiet contemplation into challenging multifaceted performance. After working together in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Mitchell and Riener developed a keen interest in the way abstraction and representation coincide in the body. Their collaborative work takes many forms, from site-specific installations, improvisational dances, and traditional proscenium pieces to highly crafted and intimate, immersive experiences. Historical influences and aesthetic forms collapse into a visually charged hybrid physical language. Together they have been part of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Extended Life Dance Development program, the New York City Center Choreographic Fellowship, and have been artists in residence at EMPAC, Mount Tremper Arts, Wellesley College, Jacob’s Pillow, and Pieter. Their work has been presented at MOMA PS1 as part of Greater NY, The Chocolate Factory, New York Live Arts, Danspace Project, REDCAT, ICA Boston and Summer Stages Dance, the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, On the Boards, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. 

photos (below)

evelyn davis, pg, rashaun mitchell and silas riener

at the lab, SF  august 16th, 2019  photos by dena beard

this concert, along with a 2016 trio performance with rashaun and fred frith, are in preparation for release on DVD

by filmmaker omid zoufonoun.

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