Degenerate Art Ensemble’s (Seattle) Skeleton Flower is a performance of live music, visceral movement theater and dance, projected cinematic imagery and storytelling ritual. It is a semi-autobiographical exploration of Haruko Crow Nishimura’s (DAE’s director) struggle with identity, depression, childhood trauma, and the awakening of personal power. The piece deals with these issues with humor and imagination, casting her family as monsters from a Godzilla movie, and traces her personal struggle through three fairy tales which were read to her by her mother growing up (The Fitcher’s Bird, The Wild Swans, and The Red Shoes). The world of Skeleton flower is a multi dimensional patchwork quilt that conjures and consoles her female ancestors through the use of hand felted wools, ten thousand hand painted silk flowers, and knitted sweaters which fill fantastic worlds in the work’s cinematic imagery.
“The piece attains power and awakening by examining the fairytales that my mother read to me when I was young, which ultimately became clues, which through creative work, I was able to confront and navigate my own darkness. It also deals with a violent assault that I experienced as an adult which became the catalyst for healing and the realization of feminine power. Skeleton Flower is a commitment ceremony that confronts the painful energies and tangled karma of my women ancestors. It is an exorcism and personal proclamation to choose my own path consciously for my own life.”
Skeleton Flower was first shown as a work in progress in Plovdiv, Bulgaria as part of American Dance Abroad’s Spotlight USA Festival followed by its world premiere in Seattle in March of 2019. It was performed at the International Festival of Contemporary Dance (FIDCDMX) in Mexico City in 2021, and will be performed at the Hans Christian Andersen Festival in Denmark in 2022.
Tickets ($29 per show, $67 full festival) here.