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The Architects were born out of collaborations between Katherine Ferrier, Lisa Gonzales, Jennifer Kayle, Pamela Vail, and Kathy Couch dating back to the late 1980s. For 20 years, the quintet has been engaged in celebrating composition through their commitment to collaborative movement research.

Katherine Ferrier improvisation


Katherine Ferrier is an improviser, poet, director, educator, entrepreneur, textile artist, curator and community organizer, based in Portland, Maine. She has been immersed in making since the late 80s. Her research grows out of a deep practice of paying poetic attention to the world, and lives in the intersecting communities of movers, makers, writers and activists. She is a recent transplant to the coast of Maine, from the White Mountains of NH, where she directed an international dance festival, managed a fine art gallery, designed business trainings for artists and entrepreneurs for the Women's Rural Entrepreneurial Network, and taught a monthly ekphrastic writing workshop inspired by the changing gallery exhibits. A chronic instigator of collaborative and community actions, she creates generative situations for makers and thinkers to gather and share research. In 2016, she was named the NH Arts Advocate of the Year by NH Citizens for the Arts for her work on behalf of North Country artists. She earned her B.A. in Dance and Women’s Studies from Middlebury College, and M.F.A. in Dance and Performance from Sarah Lawrence College.  A co-founder of The Architects, she regularly teaches and performs throughout the US and abroad. Collaboration is a cornerstone of her work, and she thrives on the exciting alchemy of working with a variety of artists. Recent collaborators include: The Architects, WanderWORD (Jason Tors, Susan Brennan, and Ed Zeizel) Maya Stein and Amy Tingle, Haiku Analog (Kathy Couch, Vicki Brown) George Manupelli, Miguel Gutierrez, Marcus Godwyn (England/Russia), Sini Haapalinna (Finland), Cinzia Fiaschi (Italy) and Nina Gasteva/Iguan Dance Theatre (Russia). More of her work, and links to her writing can be found at

Lisa Gonzales the architects dance compositional improvisation


Lisa Gonzales is an independent dance maker, performer, and associate professor at Columbia College Chicago.  Interested in the complex array of meanings revealed by bodies moving in relationship to each other and their environment, Gonzales’ work often investigates some aspect of the power and frailty inherent in humanness.  She has shown her work nationally and internationally in diverse spaces such as DTW in New York, The Dance Center of Columbia College and Links Hall in Chicago, the historic Lu-Ling Theater in Taipei, Taiwan, the Dostoyevsky Theater in St. Petersburg Russia, in Helsinki, Finland, and in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.  She is co-founder of The Architects (with Katherine Ferrier, Jennifer Kayle and Pamela Vail) and considers the politics of a collectively organized group teaching collaboratively and making performance work improvisationally and non-hierarchically to be an important and ongoing social practice.  She has been described as a performer of “stunning power and nuance” by the New York Times.  She is grateful to her mentors and many collaborators for inspiring her life-long commitment to dance and creative practice.  Gonzales attended Middlebury College and received her MFA from the Ohio State University.  


Jennifer Kayle compositional improvisation MICI dance


Jennifer Kayle is Associate Professor at University of Iowa and Director of the Dance MFA Program. She holds a B.A. from Middlebury College, and an M.F.A. from Smith College. Her choreography is deeply informed by collaborative process as a form of collective knowledge-production, using her creative research to examine issues of power, equity, and liberty, and subjects such as migration and immigration, climate change, corporate and consumer culture and sustainability. Her recent research in ensemble improvisation addresses both individual and communal concerns, and looks to expand practical notions of “the democratic” to include more complexity, difference, and divergence. In 2018, Kayle will be certified in the Feldenkrais Method; she is now teaching Awareness Through Movement and taking clients in Functional Integration. Kayle’s work has been chosen for festivals, conferences, for regional and national GALA concerts, and for grants including an NEA/CBE project to investigate improvisational methods for choreography. Kayle’s dancing has been referred to as having “muscular presence” (Dance Source Houston), while her work has been reviewed as “provocative, tight, with wit and stage craft… serious chops” (Vox Fringe), “distinct… affecting scenes” (Hampshire Gazette), “memorable…shockingly poignant,” (City Revealed). She actively presents her work in the U.S. and internationally. In 2018 Kayle premieres “CollectivEnergies,” an evening length work on the relationship between collective action and sustainability, presenting across the state of Iowa, and in Chicago, IL.

pamela vail dance compositional improvisation the architects dance MICI


Pamela Vail is a choreographer, performer, improviser, and teacher. In addition to being a co-founding member of The Architects, Vail is a founding member of critically acclaimed New York City-based Yanira Castro | a canary torsi with whom she has been performing and touring since 1995. Over the years, she has had the pleasure of working with and being inspired by an array of artists, including Penny Campbell, Terry Creach, Heidi Henderson/elephant JANE dance, Tori Lawrence, The Lovelies, Andrea Olsen, Peter Schmitz, Susan Sgorbati, and of course The Architects, among others. As an independent dance artist, Vail creates and performs her own work and teaches master classes near and far. In 2012, Vail ventured into the realm of screendance with filmmaker Jeremy Moss; their collaborations have been shown in film festivals and dance venues around the world. They recently toured a full-length program of their works around the country. Vail holds a B.A. in dance and sociology from Middlebury College and an M.F.A. in dance from Smith College and is currently associate professor of dance at Franklin & Marshall College. Vail has been dancing since she was six years old.

Kathy Couch the architects compositional improvisation dance mici dance intensive designer installation


For 17 years, Kathy Couch has been designing and creating visual landscapes in performance and installation works. Primarily working in the mediums of light and space, Couch has designed performances in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Australia, Armenia, Russia, Latvia, Serbia and throughout New England. Kathy Couch has recent and ongoing collaborations with a canary torsi, Adele Myers + Dancers, Sara Smith, Vanessa Anspaugh, Karinne Keithley Syers, Peter Schmitz, and The Architects. As a member of the a canary torsi creative team, Couch received a 2009 Bessie Award for Dark Horse/Black Forest and a 2012-13 Bessie Nomination for their 4-hour interactive performance installation--The People To Come. In Fall 2013, the archive component of The People To Come was featured in the exhibition Performance Archiving Performance, at the New Museum in New York. She is a co-teacher at the Movement Intensive in Compositional Improvisation hosted annually by improvisational company The Architects. Kathy Couch currently teaches Lighting Design at Amherst College. She is a founding board member of the Northampton Community Arts Trust that seeks innovative ways to preserve arts space and is a curator and board member at A.P.E. gallery in Northampton, MA.


Jason Palamara musician MICI the architects dance music improvisation


is a composer, performer and educator from Indianapolis, Indiana. He specializes in composing music for dance, film, theater and in the development of new music technologies. He is a Lecturer of Music Technology and Composition at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He is the founder and director of IUPUI’s DISEnsemble (Destructive/Inventive Systems Ensemble – an ensemble devoted to the performance and study of hardware hacking, circuit bending, and other destructive forms of music making) and also teaches Applied Technology (mainly, the laptop and other devices as vehicles for live musical performance). Dr. palamara has constructed and performed with the world's first “sustainable” laptop orchestra ('trashchestra') made of recycled devices. He has released his own albums of music for dance, intending to provide choreographers with “choreography-ready” music that is engaging, beautiful and deep. His latest album, [bornwith 2brains] is available on iTunes, Spotify and anywhere else one might look for new music. He also performs and releases albums regularly with his longtime creative partner saxophone / laptopist Justin Comer under the name JCϟjp.

Vicki Brown MICI musician improvisation dance movement intensive


Vicki Brown's unique manipulations of sounds derived mainly from the violin have been described as "alluring", "transporting", "cinematic moodscapes". The versatility of her approach to layer and weave sonic geographies and an openness to collaborate and cultivate with others keeps her surrounded by creativity as her music translates mood and pace for time-related projects. She has been collaborating, composing, recording, touring and performing as a solo artist and with several bands in the US and internationally since 2006. Her music also appears in several award-winning environmental and dance films.

Peter Jones musician MICI the architects


Peter Jones is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and improviser with a wide stylistic range. He has been an active musician in the dance field for over twenty five years as composer, accompanist and performer. He has created numerous scores for choreographers including, “Viscous Beauties” for Kevin Wynn, “21st Century Stride” for Danny Buraczeski’s Jazzdance and “The Metal Garden” for Sean Curran. As an improviser he has performed with a wide range of movement artists including Andrew Harwood, Chris Aiken and Kirstie Simson. He has released Seven CDs of music on his own recording label, Joneschord Music. Currently he is musical director for the dance program at Mount Holyoke College.

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