Carrie Ahern
Space Grant (2007/2008)

Since 2005, choreographer Carrie Ahern (she/her), Artistic Director, has used the medium of the body to investigate spaces of taboo. She has a reputation for extensive research combined with an ability to make viewers deeply uncomfortable and comfortable simultaneously.

“Carrie Ahern isn’t one of those contemporary choreographers who makes a dance and moves on. She really digs her heels into a piece.” The New York Times

Sex Status (2018-present) is a trilogy performed in various private homes open to the public, which explores the porousness between modern women’s sexual and quotidian lives. The first part, Sex Status 2.0 (2018) uses Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist masterpiece, The Second Sex, as a jumping off point. Part 2, Carnal Spill (2022) narrows in on the language women use and receive during the act of sex. Part 3 will premiere in 2025 and investigates how religion can influence a woman’s sexuality, focusing on two women from two different religious traditions.

In Fall of 2022, Ahern choreographed Anne Hege’s ‘laptopera’ The Furies, a one of a kind synthesis of electronic music, game track tethers and opera for Stanford University and Mills College, CA. She will also be a part of Hege’s second laptopera currently in development for 2025-26.

For her multi year project about modern death (2011-2016) Ahern learned to hunt, butcher and slaughter animals to learn more about the animals we consume and worked as a hospice volunteer. Public projects stemming from that research include: Borrowed Prey -the two part performance, Part I performed in a butcher shop; The Art of Burial -the fantasy burial experience performed throughout the US which she also developed into a TED Talk; Swaddling -the interactive installation swaddling adults; Composing Decay – the workshop taking participants through the process of their own body’s decay; and Pig to Human anatomy comparison— the hands on workshop with a butcher, butchering a pig and comparing the parts to human anatomy.

Ahern spent 2014-2017 developing work around currency, value and alternative economies with catalyst and producer Andrea Haenggi, co-producer Rob Neuwirth for 1067 PacificPeople in Crown Heights, BK. She created “gestures” or mini-performances for The Pop-Up Gesture Store (2014-2016) -a store that sells experiences not objects and accepts as payment only an experience in return. Pickpocket Dance Party (2015) was created in collaboration with Andrea Haenggi;

Other projects include SeNSATE (2009)–3 hour, multi-floored performance installation; Covers (2009) -a durational window performance open to Lexington Ave passerby and collaboration with crochet sculptress Olek; and two evening length commissions from Danspace Project – The Unity of Skin (2008) and Red (2006).

Ahern is a 2023 & 2018 BAC/ Brooklyn Arts Fund grantee. She was a resident artist for Project: Space Available, Seattle in 2011, 2011 NYFA BUILD grant recipient, recipient of an LMCC Swing Space grant in 2009/10, BAX space grant artist in 2007/08, 2007 recipient of a Fractured Atlas’ Creative Development Grant. Danspace Project commissioned Ahern’s evening length works The Unity of Skin (2008) and Red (2006). Red was also commissioned in 2005 for the Guggenheim: Works and Process. Ahern was an invited artist for the interdisciplinary Resonance Project (2012) and received two commissions from Alwan for the Arts; Turath (2012) for ADC with composer Amir-El Saffar; Fashion in Performance (2011) with fashion designer Hana Sadiq and band New Prosthetics. Two solo commissions: From Bessie award winning dancer Carolyn Hall (2003) and actor/director Jeffrey Frace (2013). Ahern has taught as a Guest Artist at University of Washington/Seattle, University of Wisconsin/Milwaukee, NYU, Ponderosa outside Berlin, School for Film and Television.

While at BAX, my research questions were “where does the texture of our bodies end and the world of matter begin ?” I was working with a massive crocheted set created by collaborator Olek and figuring out how to work with it with our dancing bodies took so much time and patience. I remember one of the dancers became allergic and was constantly sneezing, it was at all times slippery and dangerous and when I fire-proofed it for the premiere at Danspace Project it changed the texture and it was like starting all over again. BAX allowed me to store the entire set there for MANY months as part of my space grant: needless to say: I was so so grateful.