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For the Camera

Meet the Artists of Company | E
The dancers of Company E Company E's roster of choreographers The Musical Artists of Company E The Film makers of Company E Designers - Set designers | Costume designers and other artists Dance for the Camera - Ciné

WHAT IS INNOVATION? It sounds easy and fun and catchy.

But what is it, really?

For Company | E Innovation is the use of both new and existing technologies, artistic methods and, in particular, collaboration to realize our dreams. Sometimes that's the invention of a technology, as when Chief Dance Technologist Boris Willis builds a video game of dance - "NATASHA" - to bring about the digital dream of movement in the gaming environment.

Sometimes that's the creation of an entire video/audio capture system, suspended from the rafters of a theater, deploying a dozen small video cameras, to turn an entire stage into a sound trigger, as when Mr. Emerson, in partnership with colleagues Scott Smallwood and Sis McKay created the technology for "I Can See You. Can Your Hear Me," a dance in which the dancers, by virtue of what part of the stage they stepped into, triggered algorithms which generated soundscapes from the natural environment of Rock Creek Park. The body becomes the instrument for the score, which was never the same twice.

Sometimes its the use of music and poetry, slammed together in recording, to create an environment in which movement is nested, as when Gavin Stewart, our Composer-in-Residence, built the soundcapes for "The Butterfly's Burden."

Sometimes its the transformation of the familiar into the startling, as when, in May 2017 Mr. Emerson, Mr. Willis and Mr. Stewart team up to transform both of the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stages, and the entire Grand Foyer that separates them, into a performance space for "(In)Security: or Jack and Nikki Do the Cold War Tango."

Sometimes its the use of what we know taken to places where we're not known to create understanding, partnership and friendship, as with Company | E's global mission in Cultural Diplomacy. The norm becomes the tool for the new.

In 2016 - 2017 the "What If" is at the forefront of the Company | E's artistic work. The ideas extend far beyond the narrative, and are ever-changing. From the artists who won the 2005 Washington DC Mayor's Arts Award for "Innovation in the Arts," the journey is just beginning.

Stay tuned.

Boris Willis - Chief Dance Technologist Paul Gordon Emerson | Director

Boris WillisBoris Willis is Chief Artistic Officer of Boris Willis Moves and an Associate Professor of Experimental Game Design at George Mason University. He has performed with Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange, Jacob’s Pillow’s Men Dancers and Streb.

He has created video art for choreographer Sharon Mansur and for his blog Willis has an MFA in Dance and Technology from The Ohio State University, a BFA in Dance from George Mason University and is a graduate of The NC School of the Arts.

He is the recipient of a Kennedy Center Local Dance Commission and a Virginia Commission for the Arts Choreography Fellowship.

Paul Gordon EmersonMr. Emerson is the Director of the Ciné division of Company | E in addition to being the organization's Executive Director and Co-Artistic Director. His interest in film is life-long, and his introduction to dance came not from the classroom or the stage, but from the small screen watching classic Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly musicals on Channel 9 in his native New York City.

His commitment to using film in new ways led to the film division being awarded a DC Mayor's Arts Award for Innovation, the highest award presented in the District of Columbia for such work. The Washington Times praised the Company's film work by saying "an art is born," and the Company's film work has been presented at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage in a special evening of the Company's dance films.

Mr. Emerson's work as an on-screen personality as the Host of "Performance Move's" was celebrated when the television magazine won an Addy Award as Best Magazine. During its three year run the program won three Addy Awards.

Gavin Stewart - Composer-in-Residence  

Gavin Stewart by Paul Gordon EmersonGavin Stewart was born in Irving, Texas and was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He studied trumpet, bass guitar, guitar, piano privately in his formative years and composition under the tutelage of David Petit while in high school. During high school Gavin played in jazz combos, rock bands, and started songwriting. Also a classically trained dancer, Gavin graduated from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance in 2012 with a B.F.A. in Dance.

In college, Gavin honed his skills as a composer studying with renowned faculty at UMKC and by writing music for student choreographers. Also during that time, Gavin practiced song craft and co-produced hundreds of recordings of original music. Upon graduation from UMKC, he joined Richmond Ballet II in Richmond, VA, and after 2 years joined Company E in Washington, D.C. With Company | E, Gavin and his fellow artists work through the U.S. Department of State touring as Cultural Ambassadors. These tours have taken them to Kazakhstan, Sweden, Turkmenistan, Russia, Cuba, Uruguay, and Azerbaijan where they have taught, performed, and choreographed contemporary dance works and musical theater productions.

As a choreographer Gavin’s works have been danced by Richmond Ballet, Richmond Ballet II, Company | E, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Agora Dance, Shenandoah University, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Missouri-Kansas City and was selected to present works at Velocity DC and YES! Dance Invitational in collaboration with Vanessa Owen.

As a Composer, Gavin has written music several independent choreographers and film makers, and in the Spring of 2016 premiered his musical adaptation of Max Frisch's The Firebugs at Montgomery College. Since joining Company | E in 2014, Gavin has originated music for three evening-length productions, and in March 2015, Gavin was named the Composer in Residence for Company E.

To hear music from Gavin Stewart visit


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