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Persephone struggles upwards, bringing Spring with her arrival.  Perhaps… the persistent spirit of a woman endeavors to free herself from restraint and repression and struggles from confinement to freedom,  from darkness to the light of renewal. Directed by Mariel McEwan.

Synchronized Swimming

Music for synchronized swimming is a natural extension of my longtime interest in the relationship between music and movement. I have collaborated with choreographers in multiple disciplines of dance including modern, ballet, dance theatre, and West African dance for nine years. My first commission for synchronized swimmers was received in 2007 for a Friends of CalArts (FoCA) fundraising event, in which I collaborated with choreographer Sue Nesbitt, architect Ron Radziner, and graphic designer Robin Cottle, to create an extended synchronized swimming performance art (ESSPA) event called Liquesant Crystal. ESSPA rests outside the parameters of competition requirements allowing for greater artistic freedom and expression for the performers, including special lighting, props, and longer performances. The performance took place in and drew inspiration from the beautiful Cottle-Radziner residence in Venice, CA, designed by architect Radziner. Since then, the Ohio State University synchronized swimming team, which has dominated the intercollegiate competitions in recent years, commissioned me from 2008-2011 to create music for their routines. Our collaborations have been performed in various national and international level competitions including the 2009 international competition, which took place in Rome, Italy.

Liquescent Crystal


Grain. A Dance for Everyday Life

Grain. Starring Tida Sripanich with music by Derrick Skye Created for the Dances for Everyday Life series for Dances Made to Order – free, one-minute, dance films inspired by small moments.

Ebb and Flow

A film by Kingsley Irons and Bryan Koch. Starring Tulani Weeks. Music by Derrick Skye. Created for Dances Made to Order. Visit to see more films.

I longed to go back to the beginning…

This contemporary kathak choreography investigates sam in North Indian rhythmic tradition.  Sam means to conjoin or come together, and refers to the moment where the first and last beats of the metrical cycle merge, where musical tension is released and begins again, where union and loss coalesce. choreography: Cynthia Lee in collaboration with the dancers music composition: Derrick Skye and Ravindra Deo dancers: Sheetal Gandhi, Cynthia Lee, and Shyamala Moorty musicians: Ravindra Deo (tabla) and Chelsea Lumley (clarinet) Note: the current version has been rescored for cello and tabla.

Against the Dark of Night

Against the Dark of Night. Three mysterious figures move against an alien landscape as the encroaching darkness threatens their extinction. One generation gives way to the next in a growing ritual of awareness and reaction. This is a story as ancient as the fear of the dark and the necessity to triumph over adversity. Set in an alien landscape, Against the Dark of Night is modern creation myth, exploring themes of disaster and renewal; fear and hope for the future of the next generation. Director: Mariel McEwan Choreographer: Jia Wu Dancers: Jia Wu, Maya Gingery, Michen Liu, Rosemarry Candelaria, Eva Aymami Cinematographer: Daniel Brockett, Sergio Palermo Composer: Derrick Skye, Special Effects: Jake Abrams, Sergio Palermo Editor: Mariel McEwan

In Expiration

Contrapuntal percussive dance and stirring vocalizations come together in this highly rhythmic performance blending Kathak, Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance forms. Composed by Derrick Spiva and Ian Smith and enhanced by live music from bassist Mark Gutierrez, Sheetal Gandhi and Ulka Mohanty investigate issues of personal justice and identity, the imperative of breath, and the repercussions of race-fueled violence.