Complex Mammal

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Complex Mammal is a collaborative group of Agnes Scott creative arts colleagues who are dedicated to infusing the creative process into all aspects of academic life.  The unique fusion of sound, image, and movement expands the traditional aesthetic modes of expression and establishes a new concept of shared artistic experience.  Complex Mammal is especially excited to share the artistic practice with our students, both as a mode for teaching and learning and as a resource for current and relevant ideas.



Complex Mammal Performance Pieces:

2012-2013: HeLa

HeLa is a creative piece responding to reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The dance work draws on tensions in the story that oppose scientific facts against the more human concerns that exist in the life of an individual.  Choreography by Bridget Roosa, Scenic Design and Sculptural Elements by Nell Ruby

Part I: Critical Resolve

In this section the dance draws on the tensions and relationships that the descendents of Henrietta Lacks face as they are trying to figure out the details of her legacy.  Relationships with others and with oneself are explored as the dancers work out issues with trust, hatred, and violence to a score by Steve Reich.  

Part II: HeLa

The movement of the dancers relates to the notion of the living person at the core of this story of scientific inquiry. Disruptions representing scientific methods are imposed onto the natural fluidity of body movement to suggest ethical questions about the responsibilities of a society making moral decisions that balance the “greater good” with what might be good for an individual and her family.


2011-2012: Enamored Flame

Enamored Flame- is a collaborative work by the group Complex Mammal.  The choreography and text, created by professors Bridget Roosa and David Thompson, were initially inspired by the historically documented stage accidents in which ballerinas would become enveloped in flames after their tutu’s would come in contact with oil burners.  Continuing with this idea of a dancer suffering for her passion the piece further explored the psychological effects of a dancer feeling the need to conform to achieve perfection.  While the movement is developing the performers are abstractly chanting choice words such as passion, conform, burn, accept, destiny, suffer, and others that represent the perilous life of dancers.  In addition, the 11 performers are manipulating a long piece of black tulle (approximately 40’) through the space.  This work is accompanied by selections from Zoe Keating and Jennifer Thomas and a live performance of a violin solo by Jules Massenet played by professor Qiao Solomon.

2009-2010: Timeless Bearings

Timeless Bearings- is a collaborative work by the group Complex Mammal.  The choreography, projection and sound score were all inspired by research findings about Parkinson’s disease.  With the use of an 8’ screen and manual lighting, this 8 ½ minute composition moves through the struggles of one finding out they have the disease and working through feelings of isolation, anger, regret and hopefulness. Choreography by Bridget Roosa and Projection by Nell Ruby.

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2009-2010: Shift

Shift- is a collaboration by the group, Complex Mammal with direct input from the Department of Sustainability.  Shift explores the relationship of man and earth, focusing on the whole earth, the manipulated earth and the fundamental earth.  To a sound score created by Juan Chattah, the choreography (by Bridget Roosa) and use of a large dome, portrays the fullness of the earth, the disintegration of the earth and the possibility of hope for the future.  As the dancers are diving in and out of this dome shaped structure, projected images by Nell Ruby are consistent with the ideas being performed. 

2007-2008: Complex Mammal

Complex Mammal- a performance piece created collaboratively with Professors’ Bridget Roosa, Nell Ruby and Juan Chattah that incorporates original movement, visual art and sound in performance with the use of video and still projection.  This performance piece is the first in a series of collaborative works created by the group Complex Mammal and inspired the creation of the group.

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