Designated Movement Company is an avant-garde dance theater company that creates performance as an inquiry into the hierarchical structures society places on bodies, examined through a queer, feminist lens.
Katie Rose McLaughlin & Dan O’Neil have been making work together since 2009 under various names and spanning multiple cities, and adopted the name Designated Movement Company in November of 2013. Key works include 2012’s Montana (The Brink), a dance piece underscored by a live narrative text on the attempt to evoke the feeling of the sublime for its audience, performed at such venues as Dixon Place (NYC), the International Festival of Art & Ideas (New Haven, CT), and BRIC (Brooklyn, NY). Also in 2012, with support of a Chashama Space Residency, DMC created No Correct Dancers, a dance/theater piece featuring six dancers and performed for six interior audience members inside a 211-square foot space and for hundreds of passer-bys on the street who were able to view the performance through the storefront window just off 8th Avenue in midtown Manhattan. In 2013, McLaughlin created NOUVEAU, a post-modern dance piece for two dancers, which has been performed at the WAH Center (NYC), the Wassaic Project (Wassaic, NY), the Fourth Avenue Arts Block Festival (NYC), at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater (Pittsburgh, PA), and at the CATCH Performance Series at the Invisible Dog (Brooklyn, NY). DMC’s 2013 large-group Whither Goest Thou, has been performed across NYC at Dance New Amsterdam, Center for Performance Research, DanceNow Raw, the Chocolate Factory, and Little Theater at Dixon Place. In 2014, in collaboration with JV Squad & director Joshua William Gelb, DMC co-produced & created A Nutcracker, Part I (a workshop) for four performances at the Knockdown Center (Queens, NY). Later renamed Clara Not Clara: A Nutcracker, the project has subsequently been workshopped at Minnesota Dance Theater (Minneapolis, MN) and was further developed at Governor’s Island as part of a LMCC Process Space Residency (NYC) over the summer of 2017. In 2015, McLaughlin & O’Neil teamed up with frequent collaborator & director Joshua William Gelb to create Bear Slayer, a new play with dance & music that was performed at Ars Nova during ANTFest and further workshopped as part of a 2016 Ars Nova Project Residency. Also in 2016, DMC was commissioned by Target Margin Theater to create a dance-infused take on Eugene O’Neill’s Iceman Cometh. This became ICEMAN, ACT III and was performed at HERE to critical acclaim, including a New York Times Critics Pick. The piece was reworked, retitled Hope’s Exit, and remounted with several new performers for performances in January 2017 as part of the Exponential Festival. This Beach Used To Be a Dance Hall, DMC’s show about the sea and climate change, was developed over two residencies at the Barn Arts Collective (Bar Harbor, ME), and was further developed at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center (Tivoli, NY) in May 2017. Oblivion Falls, DMC’s show about all things “oblivion,” was first workshopped at Dance Lab New York (NYC) with further workshops at Abrons Arts Center (NYC). DMC’s latest project, JEST, is an exploration of contemporary femininity, depression, moon cycles, overwhelming sense of impending doom, ritual and witchiness, the color blue, walking bass lines, uncomfortability, snow, and isolation. JEST was first created through a month-long residency at the Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua, NY) in 2021 with generous support from the Mental Insight Foundation.