In April of this year, Site-Specific Dances, a groundbreaking collaboration between renowned American dancer and choreographer Michael Spencer Phillips and South African-born architect Dino Kiratzidis, made its grand debut at the prestigious Paul Taylor Dance Studio in lower Manhattan. This immersive production offered an exceptional experience, featuring live dancers, a 16-musician chamber orchestra led by the masterful conductor David Hattner, and captivating immersive videos seamlessly integrating the duo’s previous performance in Northern Ireland, Arizona, and California.
The inaugural “exhibition performance” in New York City, as well as their first in an urban setting, garnered resounding applause from a diverse array of attendees hailing from the realms of art, culture, film, design, society, and fashion. Among the distinguished guests were Liliana and William Cavendish, filmmaker Douglas Keeve, esteemed curators Brett Gorvy, Amy Gold, Job Piston, and Eve Therond, Nicholas Baume of the Public Art Fund, Christine de Lassus, Gustaf Demarchelier, Ricky Clifton, Lex Fenwick, photographers Cheryl Dunn, Charlotte Kidd, Christopher Makos, Jesse Frohman, and authors Coerte Felske and Toby Usnik, among many other luminaries.
Site-Specific Dances represents a groundbreaking approach to immersive performance, where the site itself becomes the narrative. In each location, the project involves collaboration with local dancers, experts in their field, and community leaders to create a unique artistic endeavor. After two years of traversing the globe, the directors are thrilled to share the fruits of their experiences through performance installations that harmoniously combine live chamber orchestra, dance, and video documentation. The eagerly anticipated launch of Site-Specific Dances took place over three evenings from April 6th to 8th in New York City, showcasing the fusion of live music, dance, and immersive video projections.
Michael Spencer Phillips is a multi-disciplinary artist, choreographer, and producer whose work intersects dance, film, community engagement, environmentalism, and social issues. His impressive portfolio includes commissioned works for esteemed institutions such as Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Universal Records, UC Berkeley, Ariel Rivka Dance, Open Look Festival, Notre Dame, University of Michigan, Interlochen, and the Ailey School, among others. Phillips holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of Michigan and has served as a panelist for esteemed organizations such as the New York State Council for the Arts, Joyce Theater, American Dance Festival, CBS News, and the NYC Department of Education. His work has garnered support from prestigious entities like the Stonewall Community Foundation, ArtsEverywhere Canada, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, The Bloody Sunday Trust, and The Swedish Arts Council. With over 25 years of experience as a dancer in New York City, Phillips has established himself as a luminary in the field.
Dino Kiratzidis, an architectural designer at the esteemed firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, has primarily focused on concept and schematic development for projects in the performing arts, museums, institutional buildings, and most recently, the new arts school at Rice University. Kiratzidis obtained his Master of Architecture degree from Yale University and has been invited as a reviewer at renowned institutions such as Yale University, Pratt Institute, and the University of Pennsylvania. He has also taught design studios at UPenn and the Yale School of Architecture. In 2020, Kiratzidis co-founded Site-Specific Dances alongside Michael Spencer Phillips, marking a significant collaboration that bridges the realms of dance and architecture.