Artist Statement

Teaching Philosophy





Iyun Ashani Harrison
Iyun Ashani Harrison

"Iyun Harrison weighed in with the tightest, most impressive piece I've seen by him yet, "Tres Reyes," for three male dancers. Ohlberg, Timothy Lynch and Harrison were well up to the challenge of the piece, which blended balletic virtuosity with flavors more dervishlike and feral."

"Harrison, who joined the faculty at Cornish College last year, has a substantial performance resume, and though he wasn’t dancing with the company one can see his pedigree in the material he’s crafted for his young performers. Time spent with Ballet Hispanico, Dance Theater of Harlem, and Ailey II, alongside a Julliard education, have given him great facility with the current hybrid combinations of ballet and contemporary dance. But the works that he’s made with this raw material cover a wider range of styles and genres."

"Neo-Funk Ballet, the James Brown-inflected closer, serves Harrison and the company well, giving the performers a showcase for their freshly-minted virtuosity.  The women’s bouncy party dresses mirror their crisp precision, while Brown’s powerful vocal style carves a space for the men to shine.  It does what a closing work is supposed to do—gives the audience a clear and vivid image of the dancers and the ensemble to take home from the theater, like a kinetic parting gift.   And as Brown sings it, “I Feel Good.”

"The show opened with a repeat performance of Iyun Harrison's Union. The movement had strong classical roots, while the large group formations and intense harpsichord music, by Hendryk Gorecki, evoked a sense of dramatic medieval court dances. Essential to the work were the satin circle skirts (costumes by Nina Reed), which were incorporated beautifully throughout, whether held up in a formal procession or left to fly out in a wild spin. Harrison also used the skirts thematically when a male dancer stripped a female dancer of hers, and she was left vulnerable in only shorts. A manipulative duet ensued between the two playing on themes of gender and power. Eventually the tide turns, culminating in the removal of the male dancer's skirt. If Harrison continues to produce technical and intelligent modern dance he will certainly be a welcome addition to the Seattle dance scene."

"It’s not as though the program is without variety—Iyun Ashani Harrison’s jewel toned Union (2010) incorporated influences from Martha Graham, trading earthier aesthetics for swirling oily satins. The movement of the costumes harmonized with the choreography on the dancers, producing vibrant pictures while depicting shades of human experiences. Strong in both concept and execution, Union served as a brilliant opening for the show."