ANIMAL is an interdisciplinary dance-based piece that relates movement, sound and image to environment and place. It highlights raw power, energy, beauty and emotion, and celebrates the intuitive animal in all of us. It is a living breathing piece of art that has been enjoyed by all ages.

ANIMAL was created over a two year developmental process, including 15 public performance drafts in various locations with varying casts, costumes, and technical elements.
The production options are versatile, including a 50 minute evening length work set for the stage, or sections of the choreography can be reworked for site specific locations or collaborative installations. The film and sound components can also fill a gallery room to create an immersive environment exhibition.

The 50-minute evening-length work set for the stage, is comprised of 7 dancers with a moving film backdrop collage of 9 different nature scenes, with a commissioned sound composition that uses field recordings (birds chirping, insects munching logs, words, a train, outer space), digitally mixed with sounds from invented handmade instruments (i.e. a garden hose horn, a fiddle made of nails).

The staged work was premiered in April 2015 at the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe, Vermont and was described as an “Experiential odyssey of emotion.”

WACTH the full length stage work:

READ a review:

BOOK the work:

animal crawlingduet evolutionline sppac1

photos by George Bouret and Jeff Herwood

More photos:



October, 2013. Worcester VT & Colchester, VT. Film by Michael Fischer. An exploration in how to compose a series of abstract images vs. a narrative story. Practice in presence and authenticity. Research for how to incorporate film into the final premiere.


I devised a 45-minute walking tour in Hubbard Park with 11 stages for performances along the way. I invited 13 dancers into the rehearsal process and rehearsed for months on the forest’s floors, fields and ridges.  When show time came it was an incredible downpour of rain. DOWNPOUR. Instead of cancelling, we decided to bridge three sections of movement into one, and dance on the first stage only, an open field that faced the parking lot, so as to let the audience watch from inside their dry cars. Everyone who came, to my surprise, got out of his or her car to watch. The sound was mesmerizing. It was so much fun to dance in the rain.


This idea was my first “rehearsal experiment,” under the theory that bringing raw material into a new environment with altered conditions would enhance the visceral memory of the work for the performers in the future, and could stimulate an experience (versus a witnessing) for my audiences. Fascinated by our studio notes and drawings of our separate pathways, I wanted to somehow leave a trace for viewing the residual effect of the work. After falling on cushiony, forgiving snow, with a memorable softness of the terrain, we animals never wanted to run and fall onto a hard studio floor again. We attempted the choreography only a few times back in our studio rehearsals, before deciding to completely cut this section from future renditions of the show. What did remain was our new connection as a trio, wild animals, playful souls, three women with a common understanding of one another’s momentum, power and endurance.

DRAFT #1 Contemporary Dance and Fitness Studio Draft #1 Premiere.Full length documentation: In the search tab please enter: Interpretive Dance “Animal”

BRAVING THE COLD CREATING SOME HEAT March 22, 2014, Spotlight on Dance, South Burlington, Vermont:

Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center “Draft 2” performance:

A 15-minute excerpt of ANIMAL was shown within the “Dance Fest VT!” program presenting local choreographers. The cast grew for this version, and the environmental film backdrop was finally conceived.

Premiere! Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, April 25, 2015.

Discussing my work with members of the press prior to the big premiere helped me to consider all of the work and behind the scenes action that had been happening for so long, including all of ANIMAL’s previous performers. The content of my work has shifted quite severely over time, becoming primarily about relationships, and communicating viscerally with each other as well as the environment we occupy.

“A leaf is disturbed and the conversion of awareness into action is instantaneous. To fight or flee, to strut or pause, to synchronize, camouflage or attack: these are not decisions, but immediate and visceral responses held deep in the muscles of the body of the animal.”

Premiere Excerpts:

Excerpt 1, Marly Deer Solo:

Excerpt 2, Chariot/Triangle Trio/Ballet Duets:

Excerpt 3, Evolution and Crawling Duet:

Excerpt 4, Gong Double Solo:

Excerpt 5, Algae Duet:

Excerpt 6, Chicken Cow Peacock:

Excerpt 7, Yoke:

Excerpt 8, Hanna Solo:

Excerpt 9, Unison:


Jim Lowe, Arts Writer for the Times Argus, has been following ANIMAL since its inception, August 2013.

He writes:

“Hanna Satterlee’s “Animal” may be abstract but it has the emotional power of heartfelt storytelling…What separates Satterlee’s work from much original work in all the arts is a simultaneous devotion to excellence and the idea itself resulting in a clear and unfettered sense of conviction.” March 2014

“Satterlee brought her powerful “Animal” even closer to nature, adding a bow to evolution. New is the real nature video backdrop and nature sounds by Lukas Huffman, and the number of dancers has grown from four to 10… The generic animals mate, fight for dominance, hunt and play, often in sudden but graceful movement. There is a march from feral animal to human. All underscores humanity’s connection to the animal world. It was compelling and beautiful.”  September 2014


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