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we must already be dead


Categories: Dance, Interdisciplinary, Visual Art

Dates: September 9, 2021 - September 10, 2021

Run Time: 45 mins

Venue: MAAS Building Studio


we must already be dead began as an experiment with an old-school overhead projector, hosted by Movement Research (NYC) in 2019. The piece was expanded into a full length work for Triskelion Arts’ Split Bill 35 (NYC) in March 2020. Never having been viewed due an abrupt pandemic cancellation, BREAKTIME is finally showing the piece to its first audience in its full form at the 2021 Philly Fringe Festival. The work centers around the choreographic possibilities of the projector. Different scenes utilize different techniques, from shadow puppetry to animation, with Jonathan and Holly alternating roles of operating the projector, performing before it, and performing with it in a disjointed dreamscape, unified by obsolete machinery.


BREAKTIME is a site-fluid reservoir for bad ideas, generated and performed by Holly Sass (they/them) and Jonathan Matthews (they/them). Classmates in NYU Tisch Dance’s class of 2014, they were often cast together in a diverse array of work until joining forces in 2017 for Tisch Dance’s Alumni Choreographic Mentorship, under the guidance of Gus Solomons, Jr. Since then, they have performed in and around NYC, hosted by UNA Projects, Center for Performance Research, Dixon Place, Create:ART, Arts On Site, Triskelion Arts, Spoke the Hub, Circadium School of Contemporary Circus, and the Tisch Dance Summer Residency Festival. The pair has been greatly nourished by residencies through the Jonah Boaker Arts Foundation, Create:ART, Arts On Site and The Croft. Interested in independent, community-based initiatives, BREAKTIME participated in the first annual Land Falls residency, founded by Jemila MacEwan, for artists of all backgrounds to share performance practices, and helped to convert Bridget Struthers’ Brattleboro barn into a shared performance space. Drawing from a varied collective skillset, and always on the prowl for new and unusual creative relationships, BREAKTIME has enjoyed multimedia collaborations with director Julia Barrett-Mitchell on a music video for Star Rover, choreographer-costumer Maddie Schimmel, installation artist Dave Hannon, and brass quartet, The Westerlies. Their quarantine film, "This Meeting is Being Recorded," was featured by Dance Magazine, as well as Colin Thomas’ Fresh Sheet. In October 2020, they developed a new piece, entitled “6 Feet”, in which they were attached by a 6’ pole the entire duration of the 35 minute piece, culminating in a literal tap dance. They created this piece through a residency at Arts on Site in NYC and premiered the work at their fall Arts ALIVE series in a sold out 4-show run. The piece was developed into a film, shot by Derrick Belcham, which has virtually premiered through Spoke the Hub and Greenspace.


Choreography and Direction: Jonathan Matthews-Guzmán and Holly Sass / BREAKTIME

Performers: Jonathan Matthews-Guzmán and Holly Sass

Sound editor: Jonathan Matthews-Guzmán

Special thanks to Rosalind Lilly for her guidance in the ways of overhead projectors.


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