Cathy Patterson

Cathy Patterson

Artist statement

Duing this time, my practice as a choreographer has suffered. I found myself in a block artistically as the parameters of my space inhibited my movement choices. I experimented with using these confining parameters to enhance my choreography and expand my artistry; however, the root of dance for me is release and expression, and the tension of my space pushed me to conceal rather than reveal. Even though I knew exploring new tools for my art was invaluable, I felt I was unable to blend them with what I know to be my true artistic expression.

Since I was uninspired by my surroundings, I chose to look to music for inspiration. The music of Max Richter has always been a strong pull artistically for me. My first foray into experimental choreography was "The Widow's Chair," which I choreographed in 2008 to "On the Nature of Daylight." In that piece I explored the cycle of grief, and it has since been commissioned and performed by professional dance companies. Knowing how music stirs my soul, I decided to turn back to Max Richter. Almost immediately I stumbled upon "Lamentation For a Lost Life." Not only did the title resonate with the current situation, but the hauntingly beautiful melody spoke deeply to me. At that point, my creative spirit began to move.

I sat in my choreography room and began to view the surroundings differently. I was drawn to the window and created the choreography with the window as the focal point representing life beyond four walls. I found myself using the "ropes" that hung from the window to signify the strongholds keeping us inside. I had wonderful help from Jon Hargett in the video editing department as I wanted to highlight the beauty outside the window contrasting with the black and white film. Thank you for inviting me to respond. This opportunity has sparked something deep inside that I have been missing for several months

Cathy Patterson choreographer and performer

Max Richter composer

Jon Hargett video editor

Lamentation For a Lost Life, 2020

Artist bio

Cathy Patterson is a dancer, choreographer, and KU alumna. Her choreography has awakened the Spencer Museum’s architecture, animated individual collection objects, and amplified exhibition themes. Patterson’s Point B Dance Company ushered in the opening of the 2017 exhibition Civic Leader and Art Collector: Sallie Casey Thayer and an Art Museum for KU with a series of vignettes featuring objects similar to those in the founding collection: a fan, a sword, and a shawl. Patterson and Point B returned to the Spencer in 2019 with Common Ground, a progressive performance in which the audience moved with the dancers through the exhibition The Power of Place: KU Alumni Artists. Patterson’s work has also been performed at national and regional dance festivals. Her performing career took her to Los Angeles, but her passion for dance education led her back to Kansas, where she opened a children’s dance studio prior to founding Point B.