The Architects

The Architects were born out of collaborations between Katherine Ferrier, Lisa Gonzales, Jennifer Kayle, and Pamela Vail, dating back to the late 1980s at Middlebury College. For over 20 years, the quartet has been engaged in celebrating composition through their commitment to collaborative movement research. The Architects have presented their work and taught master classes in such venues as the “Slice and Dice” performance series, N.Y.; Texas Dance Improvisation Festival; Chicago Dance Improvisation Fest; Improvisation Festival/N.Y.; Epiphany Dance Experiment, Chicago; Jazz Fest, Burlington, Vt. (in collaboration with Ensemble V, directed by Arthur Brooks); Improvised and Otherwise Festival of Sound and Movement, N.Y.; Big Range Dance Festival, Houston, Tex.; The Fringe Festival, Minneapolis, Minn.; The Flynn Theatre in Burlington, Vt.; Movement Arts Thorne’s in Northampton, Mass.; the University of Iowa; and Franklin & Marshall, Middlebury, Muhlenberg, and Keene State Colleges. They were the company in residence at Work in the Performance of Improvisation from 2001-2005 at Bennington College; in 2007 they toured to Helsinki, Finland and St. Petersburg, Russia to teach and perform. They offered “wiMICI” (winter Movement Intensive in Compositional Improvisation) each January from 2011-2013 in Tucson, Az., and 2017 marks the twelfth year they have held MICI. In their professional and life-long devotion to choreography, improvisation, and teaching, The Architects bring a holistic and ferocious intelligence to the dialogue of dance-making and teaching, process and product, individual voice and ensemble composition, crafting, and opening to the unknown.


  • Katherine Ferrier

    Katherine Ferrier Image

    Katherine Ferrier is an improviser, poet, director, educator, entrepreneur, textile artist, curator and community organizer, based in Portland, Maine and Bethlehem, NH. She has been immersed in making since the late 80s. A chronic instigator of collaborative and community actions, she creates generative situations for makers and thinkers to gather and share research and was named the 2016 NH Arts Advocate of the Year by NH Citizens for the Arts. She earned her B.A. in Dance and Women’s Studies from Middlebury College, and M.F.A. in Dance and Performance from Sarah Lawrence College.  A co-founder of The Architects, she regularly teaches and performs throughout the US and abroad. Her research grows out of a deep practice of paying poetic attention to the world, and lives in the intersecting communities of movers, makers, writers and activists. She is the founding Director of Cultivate, a festival designed to enliven community through contemporary dance and art in Northern NH, and serves as the Gallery Manager at The Women's Rural Entrepreneurial Network, organizing art and cultural events throughout the North Country, including the Bethlehem ArtWalk and the monthly tradition of First Fridays. Collaboration is a cornerstone of her work, and she thrives on the exciting alchemy of working with a variety of artists. Recent collaborators include: The Architects, WanderWORD (Jason Tors, Susan Brennan, and Ed Zeizel) Maya Stein and Amy Tingle, Haiku Analog (Kathy Couch, Vicki Brown) George Manupelli, Miguel Gutierrez, Marcus Godwyn (England/Russia), Sini Haapalinna (Finland), Cinzia Fiaschi (Italy) and Nina Gasteva/Iguan Dance Theatre (Russia). More of her work, and links to her writing can be found at  

  • Lisa Gonzales

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    Lisa Gonzales is an independent dance maker, performer, and associate professor at Columbia College Chicago.  Interested in the complex array of meanings revealed by bodies moving in relationship to each other and their environment, Gonzales’ work often investigates some aspect of the power and frailty inherent in humanness.  She has shown her work nationally and internationally in diverse spaces such as DTW in New York, The Dance Center of Columbia College and Links Hall in Chicago, the historic Lu-Ling Theater in Taipei, Taiwan, the Dostoyevsky Theater in St. Petersburg Russia, in Helsinki, Finland, and in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.  She is co-founder of The Architects (with Katherine Ferrier, Jennifer Kayle and Pamela Vail) and considers the politics of a collectively organized group teaching collaboratively and making performance work improvisationally and non-hierarchically to be an important and ongoing social practice.  She has been described as a performer of “stunning power and nuance” by the New York Times.  She is grateful to her mentors and many collaborators for inspiring her life-long commitment to dance and creative practice.  Gonzales attended Middlebury College and received her MFA from the Ohio State University. 


  • Jennifer Kayle

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    Jennifer Kayle is Associate Professor at University of Iowa, Co-Director of the MFA Program in the Department of Dance, and Co-Director of the Graduate Institute on Public Engagement in the Academy at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies. She holds a BA from Middlebury College, and an MFA from Smith College. Her choreography is deeply informed by collaborative process as a form of collective knowledge-production. Her creative research examines issues of power, equity, and liberty, including works that address migration and immigration, climate change, corporate and consumer culture, and the relationship of tourism, technology, and colonialism. Her recent research in ensemble improvisation addresses both individual and communal concerns, and looks to expand practical notions of “the democratic” to include more complexity, difference, and divergence. Kayle is midway toward certification in the four-year Feldenkrais Method Professional Training Program in New York City, and will be fully certified in Spring 2017. Kayle’s work has been chosen for festivals, for regional and national GALA concerts, and for grants including an NEA/CBE project to investigate improvisational methods for choreography. Kayle’s dancing has been referred to as having “muscular presence” (Dance Source Houston), while her work has been reviewed as “provocative, tight, with wit and stage craft… serious chops” (Vox Fringe), “distinct… affecting scenes” (Hampshire Gazette), “memorable…shockingly poignant,” (City Revealed). She actively presents her work in the U.S. and internationally. Recent presentations include “GUSH,” co-produced with Charlotte Adams and presented at Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles, CA, and “Smoke-Screen,” an evening length mixed-media work presented by The Obermann Center for Advanced Studies at The Englert Theater, and also by the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research, the Berry Biodiversity Center, and University of Wyoming.

  • Pamela Vail

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    Pamela Vail is a choreographer, performer, improviser, and teacher. In addition to being a co-founding member of The Architects, Vail is a founding member of critically acclaimed New York City-based Yanira Castro | a canary torsi with whom she has been performing and touring since 1995. Over the years, she has had the pleasure of working with and being inspired by an array of artists, including Penny Campbell, Terry Creach, Heidi Henderson/elephant JANE dance, Tori Lawrence, The Lovelies, Andrea Olsen, Peter Schmitz, Susan Sgorbati, and of course The Architects, among others. As an independent dance artist, Vail creates and performs her own work and teaches master classes near and far. In 2012, Vail ventured into the realm of screendance with filmmaker Jeremy Moss; their collaborations have been shown in film festivals and dance venues around the world. They recently toured a full-length program of their works around the country. Vail holds a B.A. in dance and sociology from Middlebury College and an M.F.A. in dance from Smith College and is currently associate professor of dance at Franklin & Marshall College. Vail has been dancing since she was six years old.


  • Jason Palamara

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    Jason Palamara is a composer, improviser, performer, teacher, musical technologist and guerilla musician. He specializes in making music for dance, film, theater and in developing interactive music technologies. He is a lecturer of Music Technology and Composition at Iowa State University of Science and Technology. He also works as a musician for the Iowa State University Dance Program. He has degrees from Butler University, The University of Louisville and The University of Iowa, where he worked closely with dancers and choreographers such as Jennifer Kayle and Charlotte Adams. jason recently constructed and debuted the world's first laptop orchestra made of 100% recycled machines, with which he has been performing under the name trashchestra. Since 2009, he has been developing his own generative improvisation software, HIDI, a project that has gone far beyond the standard human-using-tool model and progressed into a philosophically cyborgian synthesis of man and machine. His recently released full length album JCϟjp is a collaboration with saxophonist, composer and laptop musician Justin K. Comer which aims at taking avant-garde laptronic music back to its DIY punk-rock roots. You can find more links to his music and events at


  • Kathy Couch

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    For 17 years, Kathy Couch has been designing and creating visual landscapes in performance and installation works. Primarily working in the mediums of light and space, Couch has designed performances in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Australia, Armenia, Russia, Latvia, Serbia and throughout the United States. Creating installations and designs for a variety of traditional and non-traditional spaces, Couch’s artistic practice focuses on the vital role of the audience/viewer as active contributors to the work. Kathy Couch has recent and ongoing performance collaborations with a canary torsi/Yanira Castro, Adele Myers and Dancers, Vanessa Anspaugh, Karinne Keithly Syers, Katherine Ferrier, and The Architects. She received a 2009 Bessie Award for her work with a canary torsi/Yanira Castro on Dark Horse/Black Forest and a 2013 Bessie Nomination for their 4-hour interactive performance installation—The People To Come. In Fall 2013, the archive component of The People To Come was featured in the exhibitionPerformance Archiving Performance, at the New Museum in New York. Kathy Couch currently teaches Lighting Design at Amherst College. Couch received her MFA in Visual Arts from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a founding board member of the Northampton Community Arts Trust that seeks innovative ways to preserve arts space in Northampton, MA.