A Guggenheim Fellow in choreography, Dayna Hanson creates minor-key, cross-disciplinary work with humanist values and a strong movement sense. A graduate of the University of Washington’s Creative Writing Program and a self-taught choreographer, Hanson entered film through dance: Measure, a short film she directed with Gaelen Hanson, has been considered a seminal work in dance film since its premiere at New York Film Festival in 2001. Since then Hanson’s dance films have screened at festivals internationally, including Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, Dance Camera Istanbul and Festival Internacional de Videodanza de Buenos Aires.
Her debut feature film, Improvement Club, premiered in Narrative Competition at South by Southwest Film Festival in 2013. Backstage Magazine called Improvement Club “as good a representation of the dedication and tunnel vision required to make art as any ever filmed.” Hanson wrote, choreographed and directed an episode of HBO’s Room 104—”Voyeurs,” starring Sarah Hay and Dendrie Taylor—that was hailed as one of the top television episodes of 2017 by multiple outlets, including The New York Times and Vox. James Poniewozik of The New York Times wrote, “‘Voyeurs’ is one of the most striking half-hours I’ve seen all season.” Hanson’s feature film Confession, written by Gregory Mulligan, produced by Yale Productions and Convoke Media and starring Sarah Hay, Michael Ironside, Clark Backo, Sterling Beaumon and Nolan Gerard Funk, is available on demand.
Hanson has toured her live performance throughout the U.S. and in Europe. Her body of work in dance includes abstract pieces and original dance theater created from disparate, cross-disciplinary sources. From 1994 – 2006 she co-directed, with Gaelen Hanson, 33 Fainting Spells, a dance theater company whose critically acclaimed work was commissioned and presented by more than 30 presenting organizations internationally, including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm and Walker Art Center.
Artist Support Program 1998 (with 33 Fainting Spells)