Dancehall Twigs performer Adriene Patrice Barber (Courtesy of Meg Twiss )
Rock musician Jamie Dull and dancer-choreographer Erin Murphy want to seduce you.
The two friends, who met three years ago at a retail side job and came to admire each other's talents, teamed up to form the multidisciplinary Dancehall Twigs. He's a 28-year-old Tiffin, Ohio native who moved to Chicago in 2008 for a music-related opportunity and plays with bands such as Smoker and The Heavy Hearses; she's a 26-year-old former Deeply Rooted Dance company member from suburban Detroit who moved to Chicago in 2009.
After more than two years of collaboration, they're releasing their debut project, "Selective Seduction," in which they marry the energy of a rock show with various forms of classical and contemporary dance in a burlesque show-style setting where you can sip a cocktail as the performers seduce you into the intimate world they've created.
The world premiere show explores various facets of sexuality through compositions by Dull and choreography performed by Murphy and four other female dancers with a live onstage band lead by Dull. We called them both to find out more about "Selective Seduction" and how it came to be.
Go: 10:30 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 p.m. Friday at Gorilla Tango Bucktown, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Tickets: $15; 773-598-4549; gorillatango.com/bucktown
How Dancehall Twigs was born:
Erin Murphy: He does his rock music and I've always done professional contemporary dance. And it wasn't until after we'd both seen each other in our element that we realized how much we wanted to do this. Part of it is recognizing that it's not all talk—this person's really talented and I really do want to work with him. And we were like, what if we merge it together and make something that could be more approachable for common audiences?
Jamie Dull: I got invited to see her perform way down on the South Side at this massive, beautiful theater off of Lakeshore and there were probably 500 people at the show. She was the lead role and I was completely blown away by her performance. I knew her as my friend and she always talked about being a dancer, but when I actually saw it, I was completely taken aback. And I think that was the moment when the lightbulb went off. I was like, 'We could do something really interesting that could be a combination of that whole dance side of things but merging my world from years of playing and touring together.' So I casually brought the idea up to her [laughs], like, "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if we made this show together? I can write the whole set of music. It would be easy, it would be awesome!' And her eyes got wide. She was like, 'Yeah, that'd be really cool!' And then when I actually sat down and tried to write all the music, I realized [laughs] that it was way harder than I thought it was going to be.
Why a dance based on sexuality?
EM: The project didn't start out on that route. It pretty much just started with, "Hey let's dance and play music and hopefully people will want to come see it." But it's definitely evolved.
JD: Erin and I saw a friend of ours do a "Star Wars" burlesque show [at Gorilla Tango] a couple years which to me was the greatest thing I'd ever seen on the planet. [Laughs.]
EM: One of the things with professional contemporary dance is that it is difficult to get a wide variety of audiences to come to your shows. [When we saw our friend's burlesque show], I was like, this type of atmosphere where it's really laid-back is very cool, with a very casual feeling for the audience—you know, have a drink, watch the show—but what if it was that concept except instead of taking clothes off, they're dancing their lust away? So as he was progressing on different pieces we both came to the conclusion that each of these pieces represents a different type of lust that you can have.
JD: When I saw [Erin's] dance show, it was very seductive—there was a lot of that going on. And I wanted to incorporate that into the songs. So every song has got some side of a dark sexual attachment to it. Even the soft songs are pretty and very smooth but they also have an inkling [of sexuality] behind them. This might sound strange, but what I want is for the audience members to get a little turned on. [Laughs.] I'm hoping that people leave feeling pretty good but feeling confused as to why they feel good. [Laughs.]
EM: The show starts with almost raunchy, dominatrix-style dance where we're all in black corsets [and] fishnets, but we're still dancing. And then it shifts. And later in the show, there's—you know that cute, young tease? [Laughs.] But there's a lot of fun in it, too, and we think that it's going to be really fun for people to watch.