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Home in the Dark

About the Work

Home in the Dark, reveals all that has been found and all that has been left behind, Murphy’s maximalist approach exhibits a constantly reforming display of portraits, collage, poetry, dance, and live original music created in partnership with Steve Surgalski. The work is supported by the Painted Bride Art Center. Part gallery exhibit, part live performance, audiences can visit the Painted Bride September 18, 19, and 20th. Enjoy the installation ranging from tiny sketches on paper to large digital collages adorned with love notes from the guts before or after the 5 live performances which each run 60 min long. Audiences are welcome to contribute reflections or mementos to the already abundantly exposed artifacts of living at Home in the Dark. The event shares the overflow of practices that have developed since the stay at home order beginning in March of 2020. Murphy and her collaborators heavily rely on touch and deep felt listening in their research. During quarantine they did everything they could to feel connected to one another, creating multitudes of adjacent practices which resulted in a year long zine series titled “The Efforts of Moving Through Together.” Some of what is shared in the first three issues comes to life in new ways in the gallery, while other practices examining the porosity of time, place, and memory dilate the groups improvisational performance practice. The dance is bold, intimate, imaginative, and responsive to its environment. Light falls on sparkling entrails, exposing the insides. The feeling of home, love, and ecstasy seep through porous walls. The memory of touch, of holding and pushing floods over each performer and their sweat merges at the same rate that the past yields to the present.

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Light falls on sparkling entrails. Insides exposed. We were here before, no? Maybe it is the feeling of home, love, and ecstasy seeping through porous walls. The memory of touch, of holding and pushing floods over us. Our sweat merges at the same rate that the past yields to the present. How did we sustain ourselves? Shannon Murphy and collaborators share a rich 4-year history of practice. Using a biomimetic framework, they activate the digestive system creating a model for sustainability and collaboration. The dances make visible the complex labor of togetherness. Revealing all that has been found and all that has been left behind, Shannon's maximalist approach exhibits a constantly reforming display of portraits, collage, poetry, dance, and music. Audiences are welcome to explore the installation before or after the live show (see unticketed hours) and contribute reflections or mementos to the already abundantly exposed artifacts of living at Home in the Dark.

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Home in the Dark: Program Notes

September 18-20th, 2021

The Painted Bride Arts Center

Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2021

Light falls on sparkling entrails. 

Insides exposed. 

We were here before, no? 

Maybe it is the feeling of home, love, and ecstasy seeping through porous walls. 

The memory of touch, of holding and pushing floods over us. 

Our sweat merges at the same rate that the past yields to the present. 

How did we sustain ourselves? 

Welcome. Thank you for coming to Home in the Dark. At this time it feels important to focus on how we might greet one another today. As we arrive we share with you our practices from a rich 4-year history. We have been learning ways to support and recognize one another. We have been dreaming, grieving, celebrating, and raging together. During quarantine we couldn’t rely on touch and deep felt listening to the vibrations of both flesh and spirit, but we could imagine. We played with memory in ways that could be felt. We talked a lot. We researched food deserts. Some of us volunteered making food or delivering food and water. Some of us found our bodies moving in protest on the streets. We resisted. We ruptured at times. Some of us worked a lot, cried a lot, ran miles. We got together a few times to dance on a pier in South Philly. We stood back to back on porch dates. We worked hard over zoom to find a way to feel for that connection - the heart syncing kind that is equally vulnerable and desirable. Our practices, once full of dance and sweat and 80’s love ballads began to shift. We started to feel out the distance; how long is the interval of call and response over zoom? Our home practices turned into spontaneous poetry like indigestion - bubbling from our guts to our lips. We learned how to have Steve’s music mic'd just right. We turned up the volume and danced. We played in frames and with plants, blankets and sometimes the pets joined us in our dances. We practiced from family yards and childhood bedrooms; we took walks and bike rides together. We started making portraits of one another by sketching and collaging, not to capture each other but to take the time to get closer through the screen - noticing the light dancing off their curls.  We wrote love notes and whispered into one another's digital ear. We found a mouth that could seek and lead and rant and rave and then we noticed the subtle sensuality of words taking shape seeping out of one zoom square and into living rooms across Philly. We learned how to be more porous, to feel for the abundance that broke through the damn of isolation at times and flooded eyes. Being together has always been a complex dance of pressing into each other. Recently, we have been able to be in a room with more than our ghosts which resulted in this constantly reforming space - this rearranging ecology of living and decaying people, memories, words, and dances. For the next hour we welcome you inside of our practices. You’re welcome to take a look around the gallery or stay a bit after to look at the walls covered in traces of where we have been and where we hope to go. If you’d like you can contribute reflections or mementos to the already exposed artifacts of living at Home in the Dark. 


Director and Curator:

Shannon Murphy


Daniel Currica, Patricia Dominguez, Beau Hancock, Shannon Murphy, Megan Quinn, Michele Tantoco and Sara Yassky


Steve Surgalski


Daniel Currica, Patricia Dominguez, Beau Hancock, Marisa Illingworth, Shannon Murphy, Megan Quinn, William Robinson, Steve Surgalski, Michele Tantoco and Sara Yassky

Music Technical Assistant:

Ella Bess

Social Media Intern:

Isa Mojares

Administrative Intern:

mik phillips

This project was made possible by the support of The Painted Bride Art Center, Edward Heal, David Konyk, Adrienne Krause, Heather Smalley, Anonymous, Erin Walker, Lisa Scholnick, Luisa Orduno, Shana Simmons, Lily Susskind, Erin Polanshek, Juan Luna, Chelsea Murphy, ann marie gover, Lori Lahnemann, Jamie Murphy, Denise Rupert, Kathy & Jim Murphy, Meghan Frederick, and the endless work and dedication of the collaborators.

Artist Bios

Take a look below to learn more about the collaborators of Home in the Dark

Daniel Currica

“I have truly appreciated this practice and exploration as deep meditation in delayering self and finding my pleasure center of gravity.”

Attending Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond, VA), Danielle Currica was named Outstanding Performer at the 2008 Mid-Atlantic American College Dance Festival before receiving her BFA in Dance/Choreography, summa cum laude, 2009. She is a Philadelphia based Burlesque and Dance artist, beginning her performance journey with Philadelphia dance companies DanceTheaterX (Charles O. Anderson 2009-2013) then idiosynCrazy productions (Jumatatu Poe/Shannon Murphy 2009-2011), and since with choreographers Antoinette Coward-Gilmore, Meredith Rainey, Tania Isaac, Kate Watson-Wallace, Megan Mazarick, Shannon Murphy, and Gunnar Montana . She received a 2015 Rocky Award for her dance and admin work with organizations Dance/USA Philadelphia, Ars Nova Workshop, and Headlong. She can be most often seen as her Burlesque persona Sophie Sucre, co-choreographer and soloist with Burlesque Troupe The Peek-A-Boo Revue, Burlesque Hall of Fame Best Troupe (Las Vegas, NV 2008, 2012). Sophie was named Best of Philadelphia Burlesque, Sploosh of the Year in 2017. Sophie most recently competed in the inaugural Noire Pageant, the first-ever all POC Burlesque Pageant March 2020, as the world was shutting down. Danielle helped establish the Philadelphia Burlesque Academy in 2012, as educator and mentor to the Philadelphia burlesque performance and ecdysiast enthusiast community. She can also be seen with the star band The Roddenberries, boldly going where no starband has ever gone before as T’Sophie.

Patricia Dominguez

Traveling through this gut tube journey has been an extraordinary experience, engaging in another level of bonding with other humans through deep focus and support has been  revealing and i hope becomes a common thread for everyone.

A graduate of Hunter College’s dance program, Patricia is a performance artist based in Philadelphia, working within both dance, theater and puppet genres. The Director of ArcheDream for Humankind, a black light mask and dance theater company, Patricia has toured with them nationally and internationally for the last 10years. In addition to her dance practice, she also teaches Pilates, a graduate of the Drexel Pilates Program as well as Karen Carlson’s teacher training program.

Beau Hancock

Recent advances in neurobiology have shown that the enteric nervous system, which controls your gut, operates largely independently of the brain and the spinal cord, and is often described as the “little brain.” Our gastrointestinal tracts are thinking on their own more than we realize. Shannon’s practices ask us to embody, deconstruct, and question our enteric intelligence, and use our “little brain” to make decisions. This deep summoning of primordial perception lets me come forward in performance in an often grotesque, albeit frequently fabulous way. Dancing from the gut involves a particular kind of integrity, which I’m working to translate into my daily life. My suggestion: listen to your gut!

Beau Hancock is an artist-educator who integrates his choreography and performance experience into the classroom and uses the lessons from teaching to fuel his dance making. A graduate of Temple University (MFA) and the University of Kansas (BA), he began his career performing with diverse artists such as Ben Munisteri, Douglas Dunn, and Merián Soto.  His teaching has taken him across the globe, most recently as a guest artist with the SPAN Dance Academy in Lagos, Nigeria. He has developed works for various university dance programs, including Rowan University, Franklin & Marshall College, Georgian Court University, and Drexel University as an Ellen Forman Memorial Award recipient. He received the Rocky Award (2013) for his dancing and dance making in Philadelphia. In 2017, he joined the Stockton University Performing Arts faculty as an Assistant Professor of Dance. 

Marisa Illingworth

Dancing with these people has been one of the greatest joys of my life.

Marisa Illingworth is a dance artist now based in Brooklyn. She has a BFA in dance from The University of the Arts where she performed works by people she hopes sound familiar to you so that you think she’s a good dancer. She’s danced in lots of venues around Philadelphia and for a handful of artists since graduating. She has most recently danced for the Naked Stark and with Shannon Murphy/ Dark Moon, both groups of people who share her values around authentic, non-hierarchical, politically conscious art making. She can still do splits on both sides.

Shannon Murphy

Shannon Murphy (pronouns she/her)  is a dance artist, educator, and somatic practitioner. She received her MFA in Dance from the University of the Arts, has a certificate in Embodied Social Justice from Embody Lab, and is a fully certified Franklin Method Practitioner. Her self-productions could not take place without the scaffolding of support built by Meg Foley/the Whole Shebang, Patricia Dominguez/Archedream for HumanKind, Laurel Raczka/Painted Bride Art Center, the amplification of her research by the long term investments of the collaborators in the project, thinking partner Jennifer Nugent and the continuous emotional support of her parents Murf and Kathy and sister Jamie. 

As an adjunct Professor, she teaches at Stockton University, Temple University and UArts where she is the Co-Curricular Head of Body Pathways and is developing programming to reduce injury and support the healing and recovery of injured dancers. She is also on faculty at Franklin Method Institute, Switzerland. For more information on current research please visit

Megan Quinn

I am always in relationship to you. Desire does not need to be fulfilled in order to be powerful. Love is a superpower.

Megan Quinn (she/her)  is currently pursuing an MA in Transformative Leadership from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her research is in embodied presence and collective attuning. She holds teaching certificates as a Pilates Instructor and Franklin Method Educator, and is a Facilitator in Training and Circle Guide at Woman Within International. She develops somatic inquiry curriculum and has been adjunct faculty and guest instructor at the International Leadership Association, Temple University, University of the Arts, and Drexel University. 

William Robinson

Born to Patricia B. Robinson and Maurice Robinson Jr. in August 1985.

William is a multidisciplinary artist, and teacher from Washington DC, now based in Philadelphia, PA. A graduate of The University of the Arts, William has worked professionally as a dancing artist since 2008, and is co-owner of Dancewear On Broad.

As an artist and small business owner William seeks to do the laborious, joyful and necessary work it takes to evidence the irrevocable importance of community, activism, and collective work towards equity and abundance respectively. William moves to synthesize research done through various dance practices, and community engagement via volunteer work. Work done to serve and be available to the dance and dancing community.

Black Skin Pink Flesh Ivory Skeletonized Structures Flora Blood Sensing Acting Funky Being

Steve Surgalski

Does sound shake the dirt and the creatures emerging, or is it the sound of the emerging made by the creatures, or perhaps different degrees of both?

Steve has worked with Shannon Murphy since 2005 on and in different performances starting in Pittsburgh and then relocating to Philadelphia in 2006.  Since then he has designed sound scores for FIND, AquAsions, GLIA, Parade of Traces, and others and has done visual work for Scratch Night showings and idiosynCrazy productions’ Private Places.

Michele Tantoco

Michele (she/her) is a movement artist and educator in Philadelphia. In addition to this on-going collaborative investigation of the enteric, of togetherness, of the imagination, and possibility - Michele and her partner are fast at work becoming guardians and witnesses and fans to their little one. 

“I might not know the exact shape of the world I want. The present weighs heavily and makes imagination difficult. But I know it starts with relating to the planet’s bounty as mysterious, vital, and nourishing; envisioning abundance as shared flourishing; broadening our solidarities to encompass people we may never meet and places we may never visit but whose futures are bound up with our own.” - Thea Riofrancos (What Green Costs)

Alone my edges can feel confining and rigid. In the company of these vibrant, morphing, fantastic gut tubes I can discover porosity, expansion, and transformation.

Sara Yassky

"We are a large group of bodies, histories, personalities, and experiences that have continued to find ways to build and move together for over 4 years. The biggest part of these never ending practices is the way we find a certain home with one another. I can feel a deep knowing and trust that my collaborators are there with me, attuned to the layers of all 10 of our bodies moving through worlds of viscera, imagery, grit, confusion and joy together. It's testament that there are neverending ways to develop care and curiosity on minute levels."

Sara Yassky(they/them)  is a white, queer, non-binary dance artist, somatic psychotherapist, politicized healing practitioner and bodyworker in Philadelphia. They have collaborated nationally on creative practice, research and performance for the past 20 years.  Currently Sara holds a private somatic therapy practice for queer and tgnc folks, teaches somatic workshops wtih a focus of reslience and trauma, and studies practices of touch and aliveness.

Ella Bess

Ella Bess is a Philly based artist specializing in dance, sound, visual/digital design, paint, film, and fashion. She is a 2021 graduate with a B.F.A in dance from the University of the Arts. Ella‘s current creative practice flows through breakdance, sound design, captured map patterns of location/land, rhythm density, subconscious/unconscious realms, and ever flowing intuition.

Isa Mojares

Born and raised in Miami, FL, Isa Mojares is a freelance dance artist and arts administrator now based in Philadelphia. She has a B.A in art history and dance from Kenyon College.

mik phillips

mik is a queer + trans artist based in Philadelphia who recently graduated with their bfa in dance from the University of the Arts. their research is deeply rooted in how queerness inhabits performative structures + the ways this transforms through space + time. mik’s work explores the ways in which the vulgar + queer body exist in simultinaeity with notions of intimacy, care, + tenderness. they have always been interested in collaborative processes with an emphasis on audience interaction + they are constantly wondering how the audience can have increased autonomy in how performance is viewed + navigated. this has led mik into exploring the elastic bounds of what movement is + can be; through voice, text, collage, sound + other mediums.

mik's most recent project: 

Set List


Floor phrase (slow seeing) solo

     a. Steve playing


Gut Tube solo

     a. Record Track A: 2 people Home/body


Gut Tube solo

     a. Record Track B: 2 people Home/gut tube


Replay Track B immediately with Steve playing (leave some space before the first trio forms)


25% trio up on feet

     a. Slide from B into A with Steve playing


25% trio on floor (leave some space for the first trio to be established before you enter, but you can overlap)

     a. Just Steve playing once B into A ends


Gut Tube Love Note solo

     a. Record as Track C


All join on floor for merging floor phrase

     a. Steve playing


Steve solo


I Want duet

     a. Record Track D - I Want vocal duet


Tensegrity trio - into Memory solo

     a. C and A being mixed together with Steve



     a. Mix tracks ABCD with Steve

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