Dance Theatre Coalition (DTC) supports niche artists on the fringe. As DTC’s Artistic Director, I target working with dedicated artists who are creating something unique. I want to find artists who are hard to find. Discovering these individuals requires expertise akin to using a divining rod to pinpoint water underground—it
is equal parts looking, listening, and intuition. This is how I discovered Nerdcore music in my own backyard.
DTC prides itself on supporting artists above all else. The Artist is the main demographic we serve and everything that ripples out from their creative work into the community -- via public events and education -- we consider gravy. It’s an atypical frame of reference for an arts organization to
prioritize artist over audience, but as an artist-run organization, we know first hand that artists get used as commodities far more than they get nurtured in their artistic pursuits or guided along their incredibly challenging career paths. DTC aims to right the balance on this
point by being the one organization that asks artists what they all dream of being asked, which is: “What do you want to achieve next creatively and how can
we help?” It is my great honor to pose this question to the artists DTC works with. I get to see them surge with ideas on the spot and we start hashing out action plans together immediately.
In April 2016 I got to pop this coveted question to local musician David Payne to support his Nerdcore Music Concerts at Blue Copper Coffee Room in Salt Lake’s rapidly growing Central Ninth neighborhood (The C9). I came to know Dave through Joe Greathouse of VCR5—a talented music artist that DTC has produced in the
past. To his credit, Joe has always kept in touch with DTC over the years and we check in on his work periodically. Joe invited me to see him play at Blue Copper, which just happens to be half a block from my new residence in the C9 neighborhood—a previously blighted area on the rapid rise thanks to support
from the RDA and the vision of a wonderfully diverse community. Delighted that I could walk to the gig from my home, I strolled over to see what Joe/VCR5 was up to as part of the evening’s concert line-up for something called “Nerdcore.”
Nerdcore is electronic music performed using a mix of audio samples from vintage video games, movies clips, 80s era technology, modified/invented equipment, laptops, phones, and anything involving old school space ships and the like. Spearheaded by prolific local
musician David Payne of the Red Bennies (he performs Nerdcore as Lord British) and his partner in crime rapper Mark Dago, Nerdcore is a niche music movement that has a huge following in Seattle and within the international Comic-Con community. This music is the wave of the
future, and it is rooted in a Pac-Man past.
Nerdcore isn’t a joke. The music is well designed, layered, and thought out. It is performed by experienced musicians who
take their work seriously. I do experience the pieces as complete compositions that can oscillate from soundscape, to trance, to dance, to avant-garde. As I talk with Dave and Joe more about what Nerdcore means to them, it stretches beyond the music toward a philosophy about
nerdy-ness in general. Dave brings up the term “dignity openness” and we all collectively smile at the notion that outsiders (nerds), young and adult, all need a place to get down with their bad selves by expressing and experimenting. The last Saturday night of every month, geeks convene at Blue Copper to
channel their interests through music they author using whatever bleeps, blips, and space ships are nearby to inspire them.
You’ll notice that Nerdcore devotees have their own aesthetic hence the intentionally homemade clunky graphics on their self-designed poster ads and hilariously gamer-geek language when writing about their free, live coffee-shop concerts. The dedication and enthusiasm these guys have is a thing of beauty, and
DTC is happy to get behind them and support this free all-ages concert
series. Nerdcore is building up a nice
little following here and enhancing the cultural identity of this developing
neighborhood. We hope to see you at Blue Copper Coffee Room this Saturday night August, 27th from 6:00 – 9:00 PM to see Lord British and his cohorts in full form!
AMY CARON is a multidisciplinary artist based in
Salt Lake City. She has served as Dance
Theatre Coalition’s (DTC) Artistic Director since 2005. Under Amy’s guidance, DTC has presented a
wide scope of local, national, and international artists including choreographer
Dana Michel, instrument innovator Author & Punisher, and the unsettling and
gorgeous work of tEEth Performance.
Locally Amy/DTC has helped artists like Joe Greathouse, Justin
Chouinard, and Andra Harbold develop and present adventurous new works. Amy is a master Field Method Facilitator with
over ten years experience practicing and training others in this unique
artist-to-artist critique form. DTC is
the official host of The Field Method in Salt Lake City and is part of the
National Field Network based in New York City.
Field Workshops are one of DTC’s core ongoing programs. Amy holds her BFA in modern dance from the
University of Utah where she later taught as an Associate Instructor and
created the course The History and Evolution of Dance on Film. Caron’s work has
been commissioned and presented by Performance Space 122 and the Leonardo
Museum. She is a National Performance Network Creation Fund Artist and
completed a residency at Duke University in 2010. In 2016 she was a guest
teacher in the dance department at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.