Catherine Cabeen - Artist
Artistic Director of Hyphen
Hyphen was created in 2009 as a forum for the intersection of ideas. This forum is fed by difference, juxtaposition, and contrast. Hyphen seeks to celebrate the multifaceted nature of our experience as human citizens of earth.
As a choreographer and seeker on the embodied spiritual path, I see all bigotry and bias based on gender, race, religion, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, size, and class as an anathema to our evolution as a species. On that note, yes, I believe in evolution, climate change, and science in general. I know that Black Live Matter.
At a time when all that I value is under attack, I strive to create work that stands in defiance of misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, denial of climate change, and “alternative-facts.” I pray for all of my creative peers that we may transform our fear and rage into grist for the mill.
I let Hyphen go in 2019 in order to respond to a calling to more deeply engage in my teaching as a form of activism. However, my life as a maker deeply informs my resounding faith that art, dance, education, and activism are interconnected aspects of living a considered life that is both creative, and in service to my community.
From 2009-2019, Hyphen was a project-based, interdisciplinary, performance company, that had anchors in both Seattle and New York City. The New York Times called Hyphen, “highly kinetic, complex... visually exquisite,” and “beautifully performed.” The New York Times, May 13, 2011.
Founded after Cabeen was a finalist in The A.W.A.R.D. Show! Seattle: 2009, Hyphen (originally Catherine Cabeen and Company) was created in order to provide a forum for investigating the intersections of scholarship, interdisciplinary
collaboration, and movement invention.
Hyphen created 3 evening-length works inspired by New Realists. On the Boards in Seattle, WA commissioned Into the Void, based on the life and work of Yves Klein, in 2011. The full work can be viewed @ On the Boards Television.
On the Boards also commissioned Fire! in 2013, fueled by reflections on Niki de Saint Phalle's Shooting Paintings. The Seattle Art Museum commissioned an evening-length site-specific work, Where They May, inspired by Saint Phalle's monumental Tarot Garden for the Olympic Sculpture Park in 2012.
Playing with relationships between the visual and performing arts, Hyphen created several site-specific works in collaboration with art museums including the Mahaney Art Museum in VT, Grounds for Sculpture in NJ as well as the Seattle Art Museum. Hyphen regularly engaged fashion designers, sculptors, composers, writers, and digital media artists as well as dancers. In its ten years of original creative work, Hyphen featured the work of over 40 brilliant interdisciplinary artists on programs that were performed throughout the continental United States, as well as in Vieques PR, Byblos Lebanon, Belfast Ireland, and Dar Es Salaam Tanzania.
Hyphen's final evening-length production, Give Me More, which premiered at Theater for the New City in 2018, explored the intersections of over-consumption, environmental destruction, and gender performance. An interactive set was created for the work out of over 300lbs of recycled clothing. The set both elevated and trapped six dancers as the dancing fluidity of their genders became locked in various garments; caught in the web of consumer culture and societal rules.
Hyphen received support from the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, 4 Culture, The Washington State Arts Commission, the National Performing Network Creation Fund, The Bernstein Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and generous individual donors.
Catherine Cabeen in Into the Void, photo editing by Phill Cabeen
Cabeen is a former dancer with;
Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Company (1997-2005),
Martha Graham Company (05-06),
and Richard Move's MoveOpolis! (2006-2017), among others.
Cabeen currently performs in her own work.
In addition to her work with Hyphen, Cabeen frequently choreographs for independent commissions.
Her work has been commissioned for student dancers by: Western Washington University, Marymount Manhattan College, Middlebury College, Cornish College, Dance Fremont, and Texas Women’s University.
Cabeen has created work on professional dancers for Donald Byrd's Spectrum Dance Theater, Moving People Dance Theater, and Alsarab Dance Company in Byblos Lebanon.
Cabeen shifted away from Hyphen's company model in 2019 in order to focus more of her energies on teaching as a form of activism. However, she continues to perform and create; most visibly in Glitter in the Gutter, a two woman comedy show that is regularly performed and continuously refined in collaboration with her rhinestone encrusted collaborator, Kristina Berger.
Catherine Cabeen's visual art is part of her meditative practice. Her colorful hand drawn works aim to inspire healing through the integration of color, sacred geometry, occult symbolism, and the body. Her work has been published in Gigi Berardi's 2005 Finding Balance, and has been shown at several small galleries in NYC.
Manipura by Cabeen