School of Dance

Kayla Farrish, an alumna of the University of Arizona School of Dance, is making waves in the world of interdisciplinary arts.

As the founder and director of Kayla Farrish/Decent Structures Arts, she combines filmmaking, storytelling, dance theater performance, and sound score to create captivating works. Farrish’s talent has been recognized through commissions from renowned institutions such as Gibney Dance Inc, Louis Armstrong House Museum, and Danspace Project Inc.

Her creative residencies include prestigious programs like Gallim Women + Residency and Baryshnikov Arts Center. Farrish has produced groundbreaking pieces like “Black Bodies Sonata,” “The New Frontier (my dear America),” and “Spectacle,” which challenge traditional boundaries of form, voice, scene, and narrative. Her work has been showcased at acclaimed venues like Judson Church, Jacob’s Pillow, and New York Live Arts.

The artistic journey of dance alumna Kayla Farrish
Kayla Farrish and Nikolas Owens perform ‘Black Bodies Sonata.’

The artistic journey of dance alumna Kayla Farrish

In addition to her dance and theater performances, Farrish has ventured into the world of film, directing and choreographing a range of projects. She has received grants and support from organizations such as Sundance Uprise Grant, Dance Films Association, and Brooklyn Filmmaker Collective. Farrish’s remarkable achievements have earned her a Bessie Performance Award and recognition from The New York Times and Dance Magazine.

Farrish was featured in a New York Times review of the La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival this spring. The Times dance critic Siobhan Burke called Farrish a “stunning dancer,” stating she “clearly has the drive, vision and skills to bring it to the next level – most of all, her own power as a performer.” The Times also named Farrish a “Break Out Star of 2021.”

Kayla Farrish’s contributions to the world of interdisciplinary arts have captivated audiences and critics alike. With her innovative approach, she has created a platform for meaningful storytelling and exploration of socio-political structures. Farrish’s work serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of representation and the limitless possibilities of artistic expression.

Black Bodies Sonata
Choreographer: Kayla Farrish/Decent Structures Arts
Performers: Kayla Farrish and Nikolas Owens
Music: “Claire De Lune” played by Steve Anderson, Joey Badass, and Childish Gambino

This story originally appeared on the School of Dance website, a member of the Arizona Arts division at the University of Arizona..