Budding, Not Yet Blooming: Sum Bones Co.

By Tara Sheena of Dance Informa.

Sum Bones Co. is the freshest of the fresh. A young dance company co-founded by Adrian Galvin and Tyler Patterson, it has already enjoyed a busy performing and teaching schedule, with recent showings at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn. Plus, Galvin is set to be one of the first teachers to instruct under Gibney Dance’s new “Access8” program, allowing eight-dollar classes for all.

Galvin and Patterson recently spoke to Dance Informa about their early visual arts backgrounds, why their partnership works and what’s next for this active crew.

What originally drew you to choreography? Do you have any early influences you can recall?

Adrian Galvin
“I am originally trained as a painter and illustrator. Creating ephemeral, three-dimensional, living paintings in collaboration with exciting young artists is a seductive possibility that I simply cannot stay away from. The first time that I saw Doug Varone’s [1993 work] Rise, it changed my perspective forever. His works have an organic spatial complexity that overwhelms me and re-connects me to the universe.”

Tyler Patterson
“I came into dance when I was 14, but before that I was a student at Fort Worth’s Museum of Modern Art. In retrospect, I realize what I was really good at, and perhaps what I was truly interested in, was the arranging of lines and objects in space.”

Adrian Galvin

Adrian Galvin of Sum Bones Co. Photo courtesy of Adrian Galvin.

How would you describe your aesthetic and style to someone who has never seen your work?

“I consider my work to be a kinetic exploration of biology. Onstage that can look like many things, but if you imagine the visual force of 60,000 bees crawling over the surface of their hive, or a thunderstorm swirling over the surface of a dark ocean, it might take you to the world that I live in. I consider myself to be a mythical storyteller, and I believe it is an artist’s duty to take his or her audience to a universe that they could not imagine on their own.”

“As a solo body mover, I find that I enjoy interplay between truncated, isolated movement and more virtuosic, highly athletic movement. I would describe my aesthetic as a quotation of classical form infused with a distinctly young and urban spirit.”

What, in your mind, is the biggest challenge for emerging choreographers right now? What are the strategies you’ve employed to navigate that challenge?

“Currently, it is difficult to wear all of the different hats that are required to keep a dance company breathing. One must look for grants, be writing applications, looking for new dancers, finding ways to pay collaborators, finding powerful sources of inspiration, mining the subconscious imagination, working complex schedules; all of this before you even get into the studio to choreograph! Tyler and I have a functional partnership which allows us get all of the other tasks done so we can focus on our art.”

Sum Bones Co. dance company

Sum Bones Co. in performance. Photo by Eric Bandiero.

“I see many young artists in different medias whose work is a reference to the previous generation’s work. I feel in many ways dance education in a university setting can be so incredibly immersive that many of my fellows never emerge as true individuals. This isn’t to say I’ve overcome this completely, but I observe it especially in the eclectic NYC art community. We have so much to learn from those who have been around longer, but I believe full potential cannot be reached until you reach for your own potential.”

What are the next steps for you and your company?

“I was accepted on scholarship to Doug Varone’s first-ever Choreographic Devices Workshop, which will culminate in a showing at the 92nd Street Y on September 12. Tyler and I also will be participating in a split-bill show at Triskelion Arts where we will premiere our new work Solar Well on September 26 and 28!”

“I’m stoked for Adrian’s work to be a part of Doug Varone’s Choreographic Devices Workshop. This is huge for us as a company as Doug will be his mentor for the summer and will hopefully remain a close ally. In September, we will be showing Solar Well, which will be Sum Bones first collaboratively choreographed ensemble piece.”

To keep up with Sum Bones Co., follow

Photo (top): Tyler Patterson of Sum Bones Co. Photo courtesy of Adrian Galvin.

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