Q&A with Zoe Scofield of zoe | juniper
Dance/video duo Zoe Scofield and Juniper Shuey create performances and installations that unfold like choreographed paintings. Visceral and dreamlike, their work throbs with ideas, emotion and arresting visuals. Their last big project, A Crack in Everything, premiered at the Jacob’s Pillow festival before appearing in Seattle, Portland, Houston, New York and beyond. Scofield, the dancer/chorographer of the two, performs at Heineken City Arts Fest alongside local dancer Kate Wallich in a site- specific piece called KATE & ZOE. Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20, Secret location
What is KATE & ZOE?
It’s a duet and we’re doing it in a house. I’ve been really interested in that feverish relationship that can come about between siblings, especially when they’re younger. That inseparability. We’re making these smaller, discrete studies that will all build up to a larger installation and stage performance.
What do you think the smaller study allows you to do?
These studies allow me more freedom and play and experimentation because it doesn’t feel so loaded or weighted, like, “This is a statement about the past two years of work. Ta-da!” I just want to see what happens if I do it in a different way. I learn a lot from presenting something in a different space, or in a different way. I can rework it or change it, and then show it.
What was the inspiration?
I have an older sister and we were really close growing up; we also had a pretty difficult childhood. I think that both of us digested it in very different ways. She was estranged from me for about two years—and in July she called me out of the blue and we started talking again.
I think adults romanticize childhood—that it’s all wonderful and innocent, which is not true. It becomes sort of diminishing for children in a way, and we’re sort of unable to allow kids to have these huge experiences that they have. For me, there’s this real blurring of the lines between reality and magic and storytelling as a way to make sense of something that’s happening in the world.
Does the house create any limitations or pose any problems?
This incredible house—it’s really beautiful. In and of itself it’s like a body already. It has that type of quality and care and calibration. It has a lot of inherent theatricality. I think architecture is very theatrical. I’m trying to bring that or work with it. It’s very daunting because it’s a whole other world I’m not really used to. Even just the idea of “Where does the audience look at this?”
How much are you guys moving through the house?
We’re still figuring that out. Probably a fair amount—it’s a pretty open floor plan.
How is Juniper involved in this piece?
He and I are making a video. We’re working with a younger cinematographer and we’ve been shooting video. The show will be in the evening, so the video will be the main source of light.
Photo by Steve Korn.