Megan Mayer

Megan Mayer is a choreographer, performing artist and photographer based in Minneapolis. Her dances resonate with audiences by fusing nuanced imagery gleaned from vulnerable situations with a strong sense of musicality and comic timing. By unearthing and luxuriating in anti-performance moments, traditionally undisclosed aspects of performance, in turn, become the focus. She excels at revealing and showcasing performers’ distinctive personalities and characteristics in her dances.

Mayer is a recipient of a 2010 McKnight Foundation Fellow in Choreography. Additionally, she was awarded a 2010 Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grant, affording her a choreographic mentorship and workshop with New York dance artist Douglas Dunn in Fall 2010. Her production We tried to throw the light (2010) was commissioned by The Southern Theater. I Could Not Stand Close Enough To You (2009), co-commissioned by The Walker Art Center and Southern Theater for Momentum: New Dance Works, was named 2009’s top dance event by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. Her suite of Pulp Dances (2007) was commissioned by the Minnesota History Center.
She has premiered original dances at The Southern Theater, The Walker Art Center, Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater, The Soap Factory, CATCH series (NYC) and in public bathrooms. She has a growing body of work of short dance films, one of which, Over Time (2009), was commissioned by Skewed Visions' Cubicle Series. She holds a B.A. in Dance from the University of Minnesota.

Partnership Project: McKnight Artist Fellow | Feb 12-25, 2012

Soft Fences

“Orbit, as I understand it, refers to the trajectory of an object around a moon, planet or star. However, I read another description of it as the exquisite balance between gravity and momentum. That definition intrigues me, because it made me think of people in a transitional state where one is neither arriving nor leaving.”  - Megan Mayer, 2010 McKnight Fellow in Choreography.
Through a lens both personal and collective, Mayer explored the themes of transition, displacement, and isolated experience. While in residence, she engaged in extensive research related to space travel and the psychological states of astronauts as a concrete example of displacement through extreme journey and re-entry, orbit, and the physical state of “being between gravity and momentum.” Mayer's Entrypoints included a visit to the Kennedy Space Center, a personal interview with former Astronaut, Dr. Norman Thagard, and a tour of Tallahassee's Challenger Learning Center. She synthesized these experiences along with her collaborators to generate movement vocabulary, a sound score, and video footage for this latest work. The residency culminated with an informal showing and dialogue. 

This residency was supported in part by The McKnight Foundation in partnership with Springboard for the Arts.

  • Megan Mayer and Elliott Durko Lynch speak with former NASA Astronaut Dr. Norman Thagard
  • Dr. Thagard discusses space travel during an Entrypoint with Mayer
  • Megan Mayer and collaborator Kevin Obsatz with Dr. Thagard
  • Dr. Thagard talks with Mayer about his experience as an astronaut
  • Emily Brown provides Mayer and her collaborators a tour of the Tallahassee Challenger Learning Center
  • Mayer on the gantry used by the Apollo 11 crew at the Kennedy Space Center
  • The Apollo 14 Command Module at the Kennedy Space Center
  • Collaborator Kevin Obsatz beside a rocket at Kennedy Space Center
  • Obsatz captures video footage for use in <i>Soft Fences</i>
  • Collaborator Elliott Durko Lynch creates a sound score for Mayer's <i>Soft Fences</i>
  • Megan Mayer and the McKnight Foundation's Mary Ellen Childs discuss the work in development
  • Mayer directs performers Charles Campbell, Angharad Davies, and Elliott Durko Lynch
  • Mayer explores movement ideas for <i>Soft Fences</i> with Davies, Campbell, and Durko Lynch
  • Elliott Durko Lynch, Angharad Davies, and Charles Campbell rehearse in Studio 404
  • Experimentation with space blankets obtained during an Entrypoint to the Kennedy Space Center
  • Davies, Durko Lynch, and Campbell rehearse movement vocabulary
  • Further movement explorations with space blankets
  • Mayer and collaborators prepare for a <i>Soft Fences</i> rehearsal
  • Kevin Obsatz explores the use of video projection inside the work
  • Davies, Durko Lynch, and Campbell continue to research the role of props
  • Mayer's performers rehearse a trio section in the Black Box Studio
  • Charles Campbell explores solo material related to the theme of isolation
  • Mayer and Obsatz experiment with lighting ideas in rehearsal
  • Continued research in the use of props, as well as lighting possibilities
  • Greg Waletski captured in a section inspired by the film <i>2001: A Space Odyssey</i>
  • Mayer's collaborators perform in the <i>Soft Fences</i> Informal Showing
  • Angharad Davies, Elliott Durko Lynch, and Charles Campbell share new material
  • Angharad Davies, Elliott Durko Lynch, and Charles Campbell
  • Durko Lynch and Davies share a dialogue as Obsatz projects video images
  • A full-stage shot of the dialogue duet
  • Kevin Obsatz's video montage of hotel room scores shot by Mayer's performers
  • <em>Soft Fences</em> Informal Showing
  • Campbell, Davies, and Durko Lynch perform tasks with props
  • Question and answer session following Mayer's Informal Showing

Collaborators in Residence: Charles Campbell, Angharad Davies, Gregory Waletski [performers], Elliott Durko Lynch [sound designer/performer], Kevin Obsatz [video artist]. Slideshow photos by Chris Cameron, Al Hall, Elliott Durko Lynch, Megan Mayer and Kevin Obsatz.

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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