he moves like the ocean : a performance (2018)

Copy of Untitled drawing (4)

performed on March 26, 2018

In this performance, adults take on the movements of a child, translating his unique and consuming imaginative play into dance. 3 pairs of dancers and musicians will learn and score short clips of his movement and then improvise in his style. This work explores perception, born of a parent watching her son, diagnosed with co-occurring neuropsychological differences, move and watching others watch him move. It seeks to challenge how we as culture understand invisible disability and difference.
  • danced by Danielle Ross, Mike Barber and Claire Barrerra
  •  scored and improvised by Reed Wallsmith, Stephanie Lavon Trotter and Tim DuRoche
  • project by Amy Conway, video, art and language as well
this project has grown over the years, from conception to necessity to reality. it is my story as a parent and as a person. it is about the perception, the understanding and the beauty of difference. three pairs of musicians and dancers will learn, interpret and then perform the movements that my son makes while engaged in imaginative play. that is the simplest way I can explain this project. if i were to define it, i would say that for years i have watched my son move while immersed in a world of imagination and story. i have seen him play his unique games without a worry about what his play looks like while also seeing how others puzzle over his play. he is unique; his brain structured in ways diagnosed as behavioral conditions. but his movement, his imagination, his thinking is beautiful. this work explores his beauty and it explores the way learning how his brain works taught me, his mother, how my brain works.


Danielle Ross is a choreographer and performer. She is on the board of the Creative Music Guild, is a founding member of the dance publication FRONT, and co-curated the series Pure Surface with collaborator Stacey Tran. Currently, she is in Chicago working on her PhD in Performance Studies. Her work has been supported by the Oregon Arts Commission, numerous RACC grants, residencies at Studio 2 and PICA’s Resource Room, and the Precipice Fund. Her most recent work, Apparatus, was performed at Disjecta in July, 2017. As a performer, she most often works with the magical Linda Austin. daniellerossperformance.org

Claire Barrera is an artist, educator, activist and mother based in Portland, Oregon.  Currently she is an artist in residence at New Expressive Works.

Stephanie Lavon Trotter uses her voice and Sound as a foundation for creating performative installations. Stephanie composes, and improvises with electronics and acoustically; in ensembles and solo. She holds a MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College (2014), a B. Mus in Vocal Performance from Cornish College of the Arts (2008). stephanielavontrotter.com

Mike Barber is a choreographer and performer. He is the founder of, and often performs in, Ten Tiny Dances. He is also a retired teacher and currently works as a psychotherapist in Portland. He appreciates the atypical.

Tim DuRoche (drums) has worked with Get Smashing Love Power, Battle Hymns & Gardens, the Pebble Trio, and the Kin Trio,  as well as with an array of US and European avant-garde jazz innovators, including Dominic Duval, Burton Greene, Matana Roberts, Bert Wilson, Jon Raskin, Perry Robinson, Jack Wright, Damon Smith, Marco Eneidi, Didier Petit, and Frank Gratkowski, among others. He also has an extensive history working with contemporary dance including projects with Linda K. Johnson, Cydney Wilkes, Tere Mathern, and others. He’s the host of “The New Thing,” a weekly radio jazz radio show on KMHD 89.1 FM and is the author of the book Occasional Jazz Conjectures (Durable Goods).

REED WALLSMITH (alto saxophone) performs and composes for Blue Cranes, which has released four albums and several EPs, most recently with the Washington, DC-based Cuneiform Records.  He also performs with Battle Hymns and Gardens, Get Smashing Love Power, and has done stuff with AU / Luke Wyland, Laura Gibson, Ethan Rose, Holland Andrews, Edna Vazquez, Catherine Feeny, Wayne Horvitz, Peter Broderick, Catherine Feeny, PJCE, Eyvind Kang, and Timothy Young.

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This project was developed while in residence at Spread Art in Detroit

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