Born and raised in Gainesville,
Georgia, Zoe Scofield began ballet young like many and attended Walnut
Hill School for the Arts in Massachusetts. She received
a Monticello Choreography Fellowship and graduated with high honors
in dance. From 1998-1999 she danced with Prometheus Dance in Boston,
then moved to Toronto, Canada to study Ashtanga Yoga. While
there she danced with Atlas Moves, picking up influences by her director Bill
James. Working with James was her first introduction to the kind of work she is
known for, using elaborate visual and sonic elements and unconventional spaces
as choreographic elements. In 2002, she moved to where she is now based in
Seattle and began creating and presenting small scale solos. in 2005, she met
and began collaborating with video artist Juniper Shuey and musician Morgan
Henderson. In 2006, they formed their company “zoe | juniper”.

            Growing up Scofield had a great
appreciation for her foundation in technique. She credits Walnut Hill with
showing her the discipline necessary to maintain a company. Her first
collaboration was during her composition class at Walnut Hill and she decided to
partner with a musician, because it sounded interesting and she had never done
so before. This expanded her interest and while I had trouble finding
information on Scofield between her time at Walnut Hill and the beginning of
her collaboration with Juniper Shuey, I did learn that, as I stated earlier,
she was heavily influenced by Bill James, who also took quite an interest in
thinking outside the box. He inspired her to pursue her interest in creating
work in new and bizarre locations in collaboration with so many different
people and fields of art. Scofield seems to fit her aesthetic within her love
for discipline and style. Much of her work seems to have a theme of organized
chaos and music that goes well with the music she chooses or is created
in collaboration. She uses disorganized unison to show differences and uses
different and interesting costuming and props to set the scene, at the hands of
Shuey. One of her most notable pieces was “A Crack in Everything: Installed”,
to which her site says it “offers a surreal,
visually arresting examination of the gap between cause and effect.
Commissioned and presented by PICA’s Time Based Art Festival in 2011 and
Diverseworks Art Space in 2012.” This piece uses shadows of people layered to create an
interesting affect in which it feels like you can see everything at once. As
stated in the quote, it has been commissioned by a few groups and is still
available for commission. The zoe | juniper company
was created with collaboration at its core, and it is therefore held highly in
Scofield’s mind. While Scofield and Shuey constantly work together, they also
collaborate with many other artists. Currently they have had Amiya Brown
working on light design, another artist based out of Seattle. Evan Christian
Anderson, Julian Martlew, and Morgan Henderson have created compositions and
sound scores with many of her pieces, and Christine Meyers designed
costumes for two of her recent pieces. “BeginAgain” and “Clear and Sweet”.
Scofield is known for having as many elements as possible thought of and
present throughout her work, and it shows.

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            Scofield’s current project is “Clear and Sweet”, which is
touring through 2018.The zoe | juniper site says it is a “powerful search for redemption. This compelling and impassioned
performance marries Scofield’s visceral choreography and Shuey’s cutting-edge
videography with the raw, uniquely American tradition of Sacred Harp Singing”. This is the most recent work of hers I could find, and it
uses intriguing set design and sounds to create an interesting landscape. This
piece included collaborators Amiya Brown, Evan Christian Anderson, Julian
Martlew, and Christine Meyers, and is performed by 5 dancers. They just premiered
CS360, an excerpt of “Clear and Sweet” that was shot and edited
on a VR headset. It combined screenings to create an artistic version of
virtual reality. Scofield has a few classes; a master class for technique as a
“vehicle for transmission”, “visual aesthetics as choreography: working with
bodies in the visual field”, and repertory classes. She seems prepared to teach
others on the combination of arts and technology and in dance classes utilizes
a somatic technique. They “combine musicality,
visual and physical metaphors in both improvisation and structured forms as a
vehicle to surprise and further each dancer’s potential”. Their
company’s mission is to create works that exist at the intersection of dance,
installation, and video technology. They do this in what they teach and what
they show. They sum up their works beautifully by saying that “Rather than targeting a specific product, our work
exists in a perpetual state of becoming. Through constant reframing and
reinvention, we access a realm of liminality specific to the convergence of
each element in a moment. Our art is a glimpse into this place of fleeting
magic”. They thrive by constantly
searching for a new state of learning and active experience. Scofield
brilliantly combines other art fields in the eyes of dance and is currently
searching for more ways to find this balance.

            I think beauty is a relative term.
Zoe Scofield does an amazing job at redefining for herself daily. She works to
find other people’s aesthetics and works to stay in touch with her own to
create new works and new collaborations. I am inspired by her ability to find
inspiration in everything. The way she treats dance as a collaborative process
sets us up for a more understanding audience and gives dance the chance to
reach more people. By focusing on the process instead of the product, her
pieces all have a sense of endlessness and exploration to me, and that is
something that I love about dance. I want to ask her what each work comes from,
and how she chooses people to collaborate with. I am challenged by her ability
to work with other people and her discipline in motion. It is inspiring to see
that these can exist together in the evolution of dance, technology, and
performance. Zoe Scofield is an amazing performer and an inspirational
collaborator. 

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