Emerging into Greatness: Sarah Konner & Austin Selden’s NYC debut

By Tara Sheena

Sarah Konner and Austin Selden are a collaborative force in the vast world of emerging choreographers in NYC. Part satire, part comic strip, part emotional roller coaster, witnessing their sophisticated body of work hardly makes me believe they are “emerging” in any sense. However, their upcoming debut NYC evening-length performance technically puts them in this category. Presented by Brooklyn-based Triskelion Arts, their premiere performances will showcase individual works from both Konner and Selden, as well as a special collaboration with alex|xan: the Median Movement (

Though this is the first time they have presented their work in an evening-length capacity in NYC, they are no strangers to full-scale works of this sort. At the University of Michigan, where they met and cultivated their early collaborations, they were choreographing and performing their own work constantly. After graduating in 2010, they both made the move to Philadelphia, where they had a hard time finding “the correct venue” to showcase their work, as Selden puts it. After a stint at the Berkshire Fringe Festival this past summer, NYC seemed like the natural next step.

“NYC is NYC, and more opportunities were presenting themselves [here]. This is where most of our established group of fellow dancers and collaborators live,” Selden explains. “Trying out Philadelphia was definitely a great stepping stone and learning experience for us, but we are looking forward to [presenting our work] in NYC.”

NYC has brought its share of successes and challenges for Konner and Selden. Because of the number of talented dancers in the city, they were able to step away from their usual duet-based format and create two new group pieces for this show. “The goal is to be able to work together, but also have the opportunity to push ourselves individually in our own work,” Selden says. “It’s important to remind ourselves that the gambling is what creating new work is about. We need to push ourselves, push each other, and push the audience.”

Aside from new creative opportunities, the partnership sees their collaborative efforts in a positive light when it comes to handling the logistics of a show. Selden explains, “A huge bonus to creating and presenting work together, is the practicality of sharing the load- two people doing one job.  The logistics can be managed and separated to suit the stronger traits of either one of us.” The two artists can both agree that knowing each others’ strengths is an advantageous part of working so closely; another reason why I hardly find them to be emerging artists in any sense. Their maturity and practicality has taken them far in their short careers, and will undoubtedly have this pair emerge into pro status in no time.

Catch Konner Selden Dance this month at Triskelion Arts, February 24-26 at 8pm. More information can be found at

Photo: Wen Chun Liu

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