Joy Ride Screened and Alive: Adventures of Unavoidable Embodiment

This event took place on Jun 27, 2018

$16 General Admission
$13 NWFF Member


Joy Ride Screened and Alive shares three films, a reading, live dance and an historic documentary from six Northwest artists working in multi-discipline, multi-gender, multi-ability dance and performance passions, identities and locations. They align to uncover the common celebration of embodiment through re-abling and resourcing the generous creative spirit of presence in their unique arts. They are Wobbly Dance’s Erik Ferguson and Yulia Arakelyan (Portland), Gender Tender’s Syniva Whitney (Seattle), Karen Daly (Eugene), Corrie Befort (Seattle), Karen Nelson (Vashon Island). They collaborate annually at Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, offering a workshop experience called “Start where you are.”



(Wobbly Dance, US, 2017, 12 min)
Cinematographer: Ian Lucero

TIDAL is an exploration of the relationship between the rhythm of mechanized breath and the rhythm of the oceans. It is a fantastical film, where breathing masks transform into diving masks, ventilator tubing morphs into costumes, and an ancient diver who calls the ocean home, draws us into his world. We fall, we dream, we dive. We transform from human to jellyfish and everything in between. This film is a continuation of the exploration of Wobbly’s dark, dream-like and sometimes absurd aesthetic. Costume and set design by Jenny Ampersand. Original music score by Sweetmeat. This film was funded through a project grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant.

Waking the Green Sound: a dance film for the trees

(Wobbly Dance, US, 2015, 15 min)
Cinematographer: Ian Lucero

Three mysterious beings concoct a botanical fugue among the trees, revealed through the peculiar landscapes of dancers/co-directors Yulia Arakelyan, Erik Ferguson and Grant Miller. Journey into the fantastical, dream-like and vibrant scenes of Waking the Green Sound: a dance film for the trees, directed by Wobbly Dance, in collaboration with cinematographer Ian Lucero and musicians Sweetmeat. This film was funded through a project grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council.


(Syniva Whitney, Seattle, WA, 2016, 5 min)
Choreographer, Editor, Director: Syniva Whitney
Performers: Will Courtney + Syniva Whitney
Music: Ariskany Records

A short film featuring Will Courtney and Syniva Whitney of GENDER TENDER engaged in a performative experience they call “The Renovation” in a studio space in Seattle well known to some, unknown to most.

Reading + Moving

Excerpts from Joy Ride: My One-legged Journey to Self-Acceptance by me, Karen Daly, tells my story of losing my right leg to cancer at age 11 in the 1960s. This was an era when “cripple” was an accepted word to refer to someone like me, and the choice for the disabled to live either as a “cripple” or as “normal” was a difficult one either way.

I chose “normal” and how my life unfolded after that is my story. I would look for love in all the wrong places, and it would surprise me in the right places, too. I would meet generous people of all abilities along the way, ski, sail, and swim with self-referred “gimps,” and create opportunities for career and travel.

And yet I kept important parts of myself hidden from those around me, and especially from myself.

When I discovered improvisational dance and began work with Karen Nelson and later with Alito Alessi, I found my inspiration and the life I was meant to live, one without secrets. I found the courage to shine the light on those hidden and terrifying places.

I wrote Joy Ride to come to terms with the secrets I kept. I wrote to remember and embrace all the things I tried so hard to forget. I wrote to celebrate finding a relationship with my body, soul, and spirit through movement and share its extraordinary gift of joy and freedom.

And I wrote because I hope others would find something in my life that would remind them of their own bravery and their own joy ride.

– Karen Daly


Common Ground

(Steve Christiansen, Alito Alessi & Karen Nelson, Eugene, OR, 1990, 20 min)
Joint Forces Dance Company and Independent Video Services

A documentary of a 1988 workshop using the dance form Contact Improvisation to bring together people with and without disabilities to find common ground in dancing. The beginning of what became known as DanceAbility.


Dancers from the Seattle Dance for PD® program join Corrie Befort in presenting an interpretation of Pina Bausch’s Nelken Line. The Pina Bausch Foundation has made the Nelken Line choreography freely available and it is currently being performed and filmed by communities around the world. To see videos and find out more visit Seattle Dance for PD® program:

Artist bios

Wobbly is a multidisciplinary performance company in Portland, OR. Based on improvisation, authenticity and a touch of Butoh, Wobbly is the unavoidable exploration of the body weathered by life. Wobbly is and is not dance depending on the day and which of us you ask, but we move. With relentless fascination, we still move. Sometimes small and caught on film. Sometimes bigger, outdoors and wild. Wobbly is a way of life, an expression of the belief that disability is a natural variation of the human form and in this variation there is art. With immersive environments, by engaging the senses, Wobbly invites the viewer to step into new worlds of possibility.

Syniva Whitney

Syniva Whitney

Syniva Whitney is an experimental choreographer and interdisciplinary performance artist. They make work inspired by their non-binary transgender and black multiracial identity. Embodiment practices, dance improvisation and sculptural choreographic techniques are a part of their method. Gender Tender is the name Syniva gave to their dream of a queer-centric performance project that holds space for queer and trans artists and friends to create work in a rigorous, adaptable and supportive environment.

Syniva WhitneyGender Tender has shared their work at Velocity’s Next Fest NW and Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, at On the Board’s NW New Works Festival and 12 Minutes Max, at Gay City Arts, the Seattle International Dance Festival, the Yellow Fish Epic Durational Performance Festival, the Q-Stage New Works Series presented by 20% Theatre Co Twin Cities and more. They have exhibited their visual art and short films nationally and have performed in dance, film and theater works by Aniccha Arts, Neil Ferron, Maureen Whiting Dance Co., Vanessa DeWolf and Alyza Del-Pan Monley. As a youth they loved studying jazz dance and trained as an actor at the Iowa Shakespeare Conservatory. Later on they received their MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and more recently have studied dance with Vanessa DeWolf+Kris Wheeler, Nancy Stark-Smith, Bebe Miller, and Hillary Clark. They completed their yoga teacher training at the Yoga Center of Minneapolis and are passionate about restorative practices and meditation.They are currently in research and development mode as one of Velocity’s 2018 artists in residence.

Karen Daly

Karen Daly

Karen Witt Daly is an artist, dancer, writer and now, a published author of her first book, Joy Ride: My One-Legged Journey to Self-Acceptance. Over the last twenty years, she’s explored different forms of improvisational dance, and has had the great good fortune to teach and perform internationally with various dancers and dance companies interested in mixed-ability work, including Diverse Dance and the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (Karen Nelson), Body Cartography (Olive B), Con Cuerpos (Carolina Cabellero), and DanceAbility International (Alito Alessi). In 2013, she and Alito were US Arts Envoys to Mongolia, Indonesia and the Philippines, where they taught the DanceAbility method to dancers, dance and special education teachers, and the curious public. She wrote a daily blog, Dancing in Asia (, during that month-long trip. Karen is featured in a Spring 2013 photojournalism article in Flux Magazine and dances in an Oregon Public Broadcasting Oregon Art Beat piece showcasing DanceAbility. When she’s not creating, dancing or writing, Karen works as a nurse in Eugene, OR.

Corrie Befort

Corrie Befort

Corrie Befort is a Seattle-based dance artist working between visual design, choreography, and video to translate sensation-based ideas into performances, films and scores. She has been presented/commissioned internationally, creating award-winning works since 2000. Her interest is in disrupting and unsettling perceptions of what is stable: time, scale, gravity and what form/identity the body takes. Her primary workspace is the body, in constant synesthetic interplay with images, color and sound. Corrie advocates for powerful movement within all bodies. She has been teaching Dance classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease within and beyond the Seattle Dance for PD® program for the past ten years and has also developed dance classes for people in recovery from homelessness, addiction and trauma through the Path with Art program. She co-directs performance companies LIMITS with Jason E Anderson, Befort&Graczyk (Seattle/NYC) with Beth Graczyk and Salt Horse (2008-2015). She designs scenography for these projects and for artists including Jody Kuehner/Cherdonna, Mark Haim, Deborah Hay soloists and Mary Sheldon Scott.

Karen Nelson has danced, toured, taught and performed since 1977, collaborating with many leading artists in the field of dance improvisation. Her decades of work with Steve Paxton and his system Material for the Spine (in company with Scott Smith, Charlie Morrissey, K.J. Holmes), Contact Improvisation, and with Lisa Nelson and her Tuning Scores forged a tremendous influence on Karen’s improvisation practice. Throughout the 1990s she danced with Image Lab, a group of choreographer/improvisors including Lisa Nelson, Scott Smith, K.J. Holmes, and others, committed to exploring Tuning Scores as a tool for making dances in performance. Karen co-founded Breitenbush Jam, DanceAbility and Diverse Dance Research Retreat, and worked for 8 years in early 2000s as a caretaker of a Buddhist meditation retreat facility. She brings Embodied Life™, based on teachings of Russell Delman, combining Feldenkrais-influenced movement, zen-influenced meditation and embodied listening or “Focusing.” She hosted and taught the first Dance Sensoria 6 week mini school in early 2018 in Seattle and Vashon Island, WA, USA where she lives. Her article CI (embodied) interrogates its own history is published in Contact Quarterly (see article gallery at

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Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave,

Seattle, WA 98122

206 329 2629

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