The piece I am developing entitled seolh is based on the myth of the “selkies”, mythic sea creatures, half woman, half seal, that I believe embody the human quest for freedom. The work investigates the ties that bind us both natural and constructed and the often painful journey of discovery that brings to light our true identity, full of resilience and freedom. Further inspired by the seductive power of the songs associated with folklore creatures, the piece will include live and recorded music, composed and sung by Bre Short. Half of the piece is completed. The next stage of development will explore ancestry, generational wisdom, and the power of community healing through a community component that would invite 6-8 female-identifying dancers to join us in rehearsal and eventually performance. These women will learn and aid in developing our human interpretations of Seal behavior which have become research into empathy and understanding reciprocity. As Robin Kimmerer describes, “crossing the species boundary…slipping off our human skin… to know others as fully as we can”. The next layer of meaning for this piece lies in the development of the community component through both dance and dialogue with these women.


Thryn Saxon | Lead Artist

Thryn Saxon is the director and choreographer of SAXYN Dance Works and holds performance credits with Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, Kate Weare Company, Helen Simoneau Danse and is currently in her first season with Doug Varone and Dancers. Saxon’s choreography has been presented at The Perez Art Museum in Miami, FL, Windhover Performing Arts Center in Rockport, MA, Arts on Site in NY, RADFest in MI, Kingsland Wildflowers in NY, for Climate Week NYC 2022 curated by CreateART, and 92Y where her solo “lorelei” was selected for the Future Dance Festival 2022. Residencies for Saxon’s work include Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna, FL, Windhover Performing Arts Center, and RADicle 22/23 AIR at The Croft in Michigan. Saxon also acts as co-director of Homeport Art House, a rural dance residency in mid-coast Maine. As a dance educator Saxon has taught at SUNY Purchase, NYU, George Mason University, Connecticut College, Gibney Dance Center, Peridance, and Miami Arts Charter High School. Saxon has been featured in interviews for DanceSpirit digital magazine, Arts Intercept, and {DIYdancer} Magazine.

Bre Short | Composer/Collaborator:

Bre Short is a Pittsburgh-based songwriter and performer whose haunting, vulnerable storytelling invites audiences to indulge in the mythic and the intimate parts of their imagination. Short’s charismatic, powerful live performances are fueled by her ethereal voice and playful piano arrangements. Short has over a decade of experience working with dance and theater companies in New York City and Pittsburgh, including The Pillow Project, The People Movers, Nadine Bommer Dance Theatre, Third Rail Projects, and Punchdrunk, NYC. Performance credits include Third Rail Projects’ Bessie Award-winning immersive theatre show Then She Fell and Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More. Short’s writing has been featured in Dance Magazine. Short is a resident music and movement artist at The Space Upstairs in Pittsburgh, PA and is currently a resident artist with SAXYN Dance Works, composing original music in collaboration with NYC based director and choreographer Thryn Saxon. Together, their work has been presented at Windhover Center for Performing Arts in Rockport, MA, Kingsland Wildflowers in Brooklyn, NY curated by CreateArt, and RADFest Midwestern Dance Festival in Kalamazoo, MI. Short studied at The Boston Conservatory and holds a B.A. in Dance Performance from Point Park University.

Creative Team

Thryn Saxon – lead artist, choreographer

Bre Short (she/her) – Musician/Composer, lead collaborator

Maggie Costales (she/her) – Dancer (current company member)

Jamie Kleinschnitz (she/her) – Dancer (current company member)

Emma Gordon (she/her) – Dancer

Mayu Nakaya (she/her) – Dancer

Mary Lyn Graves (she/her) – Dancer

Michaela Esteban (she/her) – Dancer

Francesca Dominguez (she/her) – Dancer

Sabrina Cana (she/her) – Dancer

The research for this project has been supported by The Croft in MI, Windhover Performing Arts Center in MA, Peaceable Barn in CT, Homeport Art House in ME, and The Dragon’s Egg in CT.