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Yanira Castro

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a canary torsi creates site-adaptable, performance-based projects. Formed in 2009 by New York choreographer Yanira Castro, a canary torsi invites audiences to participate in work that is anchored in live performance and extends into other media and online platforms. Ranging from formal movement explorations and immersive environments to interactive video installations and audience-driven websites, a canary torsi explores the relationship between audience and event, developing scenarios where the audience’s presence dramatically impacts the work.

Yanira Castro is a Bessie-Award-Winning artist born in Puerto Rico and based in Brooklyn. She collaborates with performers and designers on individual projects under the name a canary torsi. Her focus is the formal investigation of performance structures - from the rise of a curtain, to audience seating, to the presence of a cast. She explores the relationship between the audience and performance event: examining questions of intimacy, distance, control, and ultimately our agency in the performance environment.

Castro’s work has been presented in New York by Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, New York Live Arts, Performance Space 122, ISSUE Project Room, The Invisible Dog Art Center, The Chocolate Factory, The Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), The New Museum, and The BEAT Festival, among others. Her work has often incorporated untraditional spaces including public bathrooms, warehouses, former bathhouses, and gardens. Nationally, her work has been presented by the Institute of Contemporary Arts/Boston; City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events; Space Gallery in Portland, ME; The Grannoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University; The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard; Vermont Performance Lab; Redfern Arts Center at Keene State College, NH; Zoellner Performing Arts Center in Bethlehem, PA; and Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Internationally, her dance installation for public bathrooms, Dark Horse/Black Forest, has been presented at George Bacovia Theater in Bacau, Romania; the Daile Theatre in Riga, Latvia and the Tanzhaus in Düsseldorf, Germany for the International Tanzmesse.

Castro and the team of Dark Horse/Black Forest won a 2009 NY Dance & Performance (aka Bessie) Award for the performance of that project at The Gershwin Hotel and The People to Come (2013) was nominated for a Bessie for “Outstanding Production of a work at the forefront of contemporary dance and performance practices.” The archive for The People to Come (thepeopletocome.org) was featured in The New Museum’s exhibit, “Performance Archiving Performance,” November 6, 2013 – January 12, 2014.

Castro has received several awards for her work, including The New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, The MAP Fund, The Jerome Foundation, New Music USA, Trust for Mutual Understanding, and USArtists International. She has been commissioned to create work for Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, The Chocolate Factory, The Wooden Floor (CA), Keene State College (NH), Barnard College (NYC), and Island Moving Company (RI). She has recently been invited to participate in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC)’s Extended Life Dance Development program. Other fellowships and Artist-in-Residency programs include: Returning Choreographic Fellow at Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (2014-2013, FL), LMCC’s Process Space AIR program (2014, NYC), American Dance Abroad’s Beyond Our Borders (2014), Dance New Amsterdam AIR (2013, NYC), Vermont Performance Lab Artist (2012, VT), LMCC Swing Space AIR program (2012, 2010, NYC), MANCC Media and Choreographic Fellowships (2012, 2007, FL), ARC (2009-2008, NYC), Artist Ne(s)t (2007, Romania), Sugar Salon (2007, NYC), and Rockefeller Foundation (2006, Bellagio, Italy). Castro received her B.A. in Theater & Dance and Literature from Amherst College.

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