Charlie Maybee
 

Polymath Performance Project

Polymath Performance Project is a collective of performing artists who explore the unique hybridity of the tap dancer as simultaneously a musician and dancer as a method for making. Through the experimental rethinking its genre limits, we are committed to fostering a collaborative, futurist approach to tap dance technique and choreography that promises a dynamic expansion of what tap dance can offer the field of contemporary performance.

 

WORKS

From Left to Right: Randi Townsend, Ell Emadian, Isiah Asplund, Charlie Maybee, Hannah Dziura, Alexis Miller, and Lauren Mendelson performing The Promise of Stormy Weather  Photo by Natalie Fiol

From Left to Right: Randi Townsend, Ell Emadian, Isiah Asplund, Charlie Maybee, Hannah Dziura, Alexis Miller, and Lauren Mendelson performing The Promise of Stormy Weather

Photo by Natalie Fiol

THE Promise of Stormy Weather

2019

The Promise of Stormy Weather is a work of tap dance science fiction that revels in the creation of tap dancing alter-egos set in a post-apocalyptic future, experimental approaches to storytelling through the hybridization of movement and sound, and a merging of punk music aesthetics with the rhythmic intricacies of tap dance.

Alexis Miller (Left) and Lauren Mendelson (Right) rehearsing P.S.  Photo by Charlie Maybee

Alexis Miller (Left) and Lauren Mendelson (Right) rehearsing P.S.

Photo by Charlie Maybee

P.S.

2018

A conglomerate of two previously made Polymath solos (Pyrolysis/Shimmer) into a duet, P.S. is a a collaboratively built experiment in abstraction and choice-making. Each performer actively trades portions of their solos as foreign materials for the other as they attempt to embody the theoretical concept of the Cyborg as an action of disassembly and reassembly. Guided by the overarching philosophy that choice-making is form-making is trouble-making, P.S. concerns itself with the performers ability to make active choices about the world they are creating together and engage with the formal consequences of their actions.

Alexis Miller in  Shimmer  at the Dance at Illinois BFA Senior Thesis Concert:  Even Now  at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts  Photo by Natalie Fiol

Alexis Miller in Shimmer at the Dance at Illinois BFA Senior Thesis Concert: Even Now at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Photo by Natalie Fiol

Shimmer

2018

A solo work that played with the material absence of tap dance as an experiment to see what elements of the genre manage to find their way in to Charlie Maybee's choreographic process. Inspired by the theoretical concept of Vital Materialism which redistributes value and agency to the parts that create larger ecosystems, Shimmer highlights the important material and immaterial ingredients in the choreographer's methods of making when located outside a visible tap dance identity.

Lauren Mendelson in  Pyrolysis  at November Dance:  Celebrating Kate Kuper  at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts  Photo by Natalie Fiol

Lauren Mendelson in Pyrolysis at November Dance: Celebrating Kate Kuper at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Photo by Natalie Fiol

Pyrolysis 

2017

A solo work that reimagines the image of the tap dancer by shifting from a musically based approach to physicality to a physically based approach to timing. Abstracting the image of a phoenix, Charlie Maybee uses friction and exhaustion to shed the tap dancer from conventions of strictly metered musical phrasing and restricted spatial orientation and access, all the while asking: What unconscious selves can and will rise from the ashes of a tap dancer? These destructive cravings lead to a melting of genre borders that allow modern and tap dance movement vernaculars to meet as soloist Lauren Mendelson struggles to set fire to herself and her environment just to see them transform into something else; possibly something new.

Lindsey Jennings, Charlie Maybee, Lauren Mendelson, and Randi Townsend in  (S)(C)(H)(I)(S)(M)  at  Jello: Seven  at Links Hall  Photo by Tuli Bera

Lindsey Jennings, Charlie Maybee, Lauren Mendelson, and Randi Townsend in (S)(C)(H)(I)(S)(M) at Jello: Seven at Links Hall

Photo by Tuli Bera

(S)(C)(H)(I)(S)(M)

2017

A follow-up experiment in minimalism, (S)(C)(H)(I)(S)(M) explores the possibilities of spatial restriction and repetition to create a sound score that distorts the concept of a musical downbeat. Continuing with a fascination with chance choreography (à la Merce Cunningham and John Cage), Lindsey Jennings, Charlie Maybee, Lauren Mendelson, and Randi Townsend collaboratively tackle the organized chaos that exists between tap dance and minimalist sound scores.

Charlie Maybee and Lauren Mendelson in Algorithm at Studiodance II at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts  Photo by Natalie Fiol

Charlie Maybee and Lauren Mendelson in Algorithm at Studiodance II at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

Photo by Natalie Fiol

Algorithm

2017

A duet that began as the first of many experiments of intersecting tap dance, chance choreography, and a flexible sense of time, Algorithm is Polymath's inaugural work. Layering complex musical meter alongside arrhythmic phrases, Lauren Mendelson and Randi Townsend (and later Charlie Maybee) wade into a vision of tap dance future that emphasizes the tap dancing body as something betwixt and between genres.

COLLABORATORS

Isiah Asplund  Actor - Dancer - Musician - Writer

Isiah Asplund

Actor - Dancer - Musician - Writer

Ell Emadian  Actor - Dancer - Musician

Ell Emadian

Actor - Dancer - Musician

Jon Faw  Actor - Dancer - Musician

Jon Faw

Actor - Dancer - Musician

Lindsey Jennings  Dancer - Musician

Lindsey Jennings

Dancer - Musician

Lauren Mendelson  Dancer - Musician

Lauren Mendelson

Dancer - Musician

Alexis Miller  Dancer

Alexis Miller

Dancer

Randi Townsend  Dancer - Musician

Randi Townsend

Dancer - Musician

Leah Wilks  Actor - Dancer - Musician - Writer

Leah Wilks

Actor - Dancer - Musician - Writer