Zoe Scofield - FORM/S
I value rigor, integrity, compassion, playfulness, technique, depth, precision, a willingness to not know, sustaining inquiry, and space for beauty and the unknown.
Through my artistic practice, I strive to examine and deconstruct barriers between art, artist, and audience by challenging expectations of perception and unconscious bias to make space for empathy and connection. How can we practice Eurocentric based technique without replicating toxic pedagogies, body mechanics, and hierarchies that riddle it? How do movers deal with the space between being trained in a form that demands an unachievable perfection and our attempts to meet these demands?
My process and work asks who belongs in the room, and what dance can do? I am excited by technique and unison in bodies that aren’t uniform, non-homogenized people working, moving, and breathing towards a common desire. I see unison as a process and structure that can bring us closer to our humanity. My work requires an attention to detail, a continual presence, and the simultaneous ability to let go. This is a rejection of the homogeneity that I was trained to believe was how unison is achieved. I choose labor, struggle, silliness, joy, rigor, clarity, and compassion that are necessary for my artistic work to happen. This process and experience becomes a sort of parallel and proxy for the communities in which I want to exist. I believe art and dance can be a retreat, allowing participants and performers to create spaces of solace and autonomy. Art gives us access to multi-layered worlds; spaces for resistance and survival. Art allows us to be alone together.
My classes are a laboratory where physical possibilities are explored with a mixture of rigor and freedom, specificity and abandon. I aspire to guide participants to increase their capacity to articulate movement and ideas with specificity, precision and clarity. It is my desire to help participants foster a body that is available, aware and in command of its senses, intuition and physicality. We combine musicality, visual, and physical metaphors in both improvisation and structured forms as a vehicle to surprise and further each dancer’s potential.
I use technique as a vehicle for opening, growing beyond its own replication so that it can be a sort of scaffolding, an anchor to move away from and towards. I am interested in technique of any form so that it moves beyond that particular technique; the form disappears into the action of the moment, into the experience of the making and doing.
As a teacher, I aspire to contribute and add to their tool kit by helping to facilitate an expansion of their knowledge so that they can become the dancers, performers, artists and citizens they want to be. I believe this helps dancers trust their own experience, lines of interest and potential. My movement training and background includes ballet, improvisation, gaga, QiGong, yogic breathing, meditation, and spiral dynamics, which I draw on to create processes that are physically rigorous, playful, and intellectually stimulating, which contributes to expansive and nuanced dancing.
2015 Guggenheim Fellow Zoe Scofield is a dance and visual artist based in Seattle Washington since 2002. Born and raised in Gainesville GA, Zoe began ballet at a young age, instilling in her a deep love and interest in structure, discipline and performances’ ability to create a transformative experience. Zoe attended Walnut Hill School for the Arts, an arts high school in Boston MA, receiving a Monticello Choreography Fellowship and graduating with high honors in dance. After, she danced with Prometheus Dance in Boston and Atlas Moves, directed by Bill James in Toronto Canada. She is currently working towards her MFA in Dance at University of the Arts program in France.
In 2005 Zoe began working with video and visual artist Juniper Shuey on video, photographic and dance collaborations shown in visual art galleries, museums and theaters. They have been commissioned and presented by national and international arts centers such as, On the Boards, PICA, Trafo House of Art, Dance Theater Workshop, Bates Dance Festival, NYLA, Spoleto Festival, Jacob’s Pillow, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Body Festival (New Zealand), Yerba Buena Center, Columbia College Chicago, DiverseWorks, The Frye Art Museum and many more. They have taught workshops and given lectures on dance, photography, collaboration and installation throughout the US and internationally.
Throughout her career Zoe has been awarded residences, awards and grants from 4Culture, Alpert Award, Artist Trust, Case Van Rij, City Arts Magazine, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, The Glenn H. Kawasaki Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, MAD Air, MAP Fund, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, On the Boards, Princess Grace Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, The Guggenheim Foundation, The Mellon Foundation, The Stranger Genius Award, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Velocity Dance Center, among others. Zoe has taught at Velocity Dance Center, Mark Morris Dance Center, Gibney Dance Center, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Boston Conservatory, Columbia College, University of Utah, University of Colorado at Boulder, and served as a guest panelist for Dance Critics Association, PICA’s Educating Dance Audiences, gloATL Tanz Farm, and Cornish College of the Arts. Zoe and Juniper are the co-founders of Lo-Fi Annual Arts Festival and What We Talk About… an in-process feedback session for artists of all disciplines.