KST Blog

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Pittsburgh Duo slowdanger Responds to Climate Crisis and Sensationalism with Performance SUPERCELL

EAST LIBERTY, PA — Kelly Strayhorn Theater is thrilled to present Pittsburgh-based performance duo slowdanger and their new work SUPERCELL, with an exciting week-long program during the first week of December.

At KST’s Alloy Studios, on Monday, December 4 at 6:00pm, artists anna thompson and taylor knight of slowdanger share their artistic ideas and creation process with audiences at our informal Welcome Dinner & Artists Talk, kicking off the week. Following the talk, on Wednesday, December 6 from 9:00am to 10:15am, slowdanger offers a 75-minute workshop De-Mystifying the Box co-presented with PearlArts, engaging participants to sense deeper into the micro-ecosystems of our bodies. 

The week reaches its crescendo at Kelly Strayhorn Theater on Friday and Saturday, December 8 and 9 with the Pittsburgh premiere of the evening-length quintet performance SUPERCELL at 7:30pm. Kelly Strayhorn Theater co-commissioned this performance as a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project in collaboration with The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (College Park, MD) and NPN (New Orleans, LA). SUSPERCELL was developed with support from the prestigious National Dance Project, a program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, and additionally supported by residencies at the National Choreographic Center (Akron, OH), The Space Upstairs (Pittsburgh, PA) and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Department of Dance (New York, NY) . 

The work draws inspiration from the awe-inspiring yet ominous supercells—large storms with deep, persistent updrafts often leading to tornadoes.

The terrifying supercells are harbingers of substantial damage. This natural effect is also similar to sensationalist media, instantly amplifying catastrophic events for insatiable public consumption. SUPERCELL therefore is informed by the natural effect, finding parallels and addressing environmental collapse and sensationalism in media

Through seamless integration of corporeal mime techniques, contemporary and improvisational dance frameworks, live vocalization, electronic and sample-based music, and interactive set design, SUPERCELL is a multidisciplinary adventure by nature. The synchronized and amplified breaths and vocalizations of the dancers serve as a motif, articulating the effects of toxic natural and media environments on our bodies.

“Throughout the creation process, we formed and consulted with advisory cohorts in Maryland and Pittsburgh, composed of scientists, climate activists, anthropologists, sustainable design experts, and a dramaturgical advisor,” said slowdanger. 

The collaborative nature of the project allows for multiple truths to emerge in the reception and interpretation of SUPERCELL. Through a dinner conversation and a workshop with the general public, slowdanger opens the floor for diverse discussions and decentralizes the creative process.

SUPERCELL is the final event of KST’s Fall 2023 Season. Information about the Winter/Spring Season will be released on Thursday, December 14 at kelly-strayhorn.org

This presentation of SUPERCELL is supported by the National Performance Network Artist Engagement Fund, The New England Foundation for the Arts’s National Dance Project and Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation’s ArtsConnect programs. SUPERCELL is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Mellon Foundation. SUPERCELL is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund Project co-commissioned by Kelly Strayhorn Theater, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and NPN. SUPERCELL is also supported by the Opportunity Fund, The Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments, with additional residency support from NCCAkron, The Space Upstairs and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Department of Dance.

Download the .pdf HERE.


slowdanger, taylor knight (they/them) & anna thompson (they/them) are co-founding artistic directors of slowdanger, a multidisciplinary performance organism based in Pittsburgh, PA. slowdanger uses a systematic approach to movement, technology, found material, vocalization, and physiological centering to produce their performance work. Through the process of making each piece, slowdanger works with an ever deepening understanding of energy, synergy, action, gender, time, and storytelling. As a queer, non-binary led organization, slowdanger is committed to deconstructing the binaries of how performance and performers are viewed onstage. 

Harbour Edney | Lighting Designer (they/he) is a freelance lighting designer and installation artist who is currently nested in the Philadelphia area. Recent designs include Always the Hour (Annie Wilson), The Wild Party (Eagle Theatre), a hit dog will holler (Azuka Theatre Company), Chaat (Usiloquy Dance Designs), Papa (The New Hazlett Theatre) and Bruise & Thorn (Pipeline Theatre Company). They have designed for other companies such as Obvious Agency, The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, The Pillow Projects, The Kelly-Strayhorn Theatre, Alumni Theater Company and INTAR NYC. Harbour has a special love for dance and is thrilled and grateful to be working on SUPERCELL with this team.

Nile Harris | Performer (he/him) is a performer and director of live works of art. He has done a few things and hopes to do a few more, God willing. 

Jasmine Hearn | Dramaturgical Support, Collaborating Media Design, and Collaborating Sound Design (they/them) is an internationally-touring interdisciplinary artist, director, performer, choreographer, organizer, doula, and teacher. They are committed to performance as an expansive practice that includes a spectrum of dance and somatic traditions and techniques, sound design, garment design, cooking, and the archiving of matrilineal memories. They give gratitude to Spirit, their mothers and aunties, and all the mothering Black people who have supported their moving, remembering body.

AJ Libert | Performer (he/him), from Pittsburgh, PA, started his dance training at the age of three. He graduated from PBT’s full time program, and then attended Point Park University where he received a BFA in Modern dance. AJ enjoys the complexities that movement exploration has to offer. Combining his love for the natural world with his love for movement drives AJ to continue to find deeper connections between the two, in hopes to merge both worlds seamlessly. AJ would like to thank his two beautiful mothers, without them he would not be where he is today.

ProjectileObjects | Scenic Designer and Technical Director (he/him) Cornelius Henke III is a multi-talented creative with a passion for video production and performance art. His work spans across various mediums, including music videos, motion graphics, live events, and interactive installations. Cornelius is an activist and partner at Merging Media, a boutique digital media production company based in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2021, ProjectileObjects formed an LLC that offers a range of services, including conceptual design, development, engineering, fabrication, and installations. With a wealth of experience and expertise, Cornelius continues to captivate audiences with his unique vision and exceptional talent.

Mad Recital is an avant-garde fashion label established in 2010.  The designers involved in the label are Richard Ramirez (who started his own fashion label in 1997 prior) and Sean E. Ramirez-Matzus. Mad Recital focuses on deconstruction, repurposed garments, handmade techniques, alternative visions of beauty and unconventional designs. Drawing inspiration from nature, folk-lore, myths and legends, film and the arts as well as the history of avant-garde fashion, Mad Recital aims to create wearable art. The end goal, pieces that delight, unsettle, inspire and provoke. Their work has been sold at boutiques in Japan and France.

kira shiina | Performer (they/she) is a dance and sound artist based on the unceded Lenape land known as Philadelphia, PA. kira shiina attended Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts, going on to receive their BFA in Dance from the University of the Arts. In 2019, they presented their first solo work, DID YOU / FALL APART in collaboration with painter Jameelah Platt. They were a founding company member of Mark Caserta’s Big Kid Dance and are currently a creative associate of choreographer Tommie-Waheed Evans, and has been a company member of waheedworks  since 2019. kira shiina is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Dance at the UArts.