“…full of hip hop’s signature aggression and larger than life personas yet always feminine, her moves are infectious, energizing stuff; dance that sucks you in and makes you want to get off your ass and join in (or at least try).”Willamette Weekly


Premiere: Februrary 2009 The Moore Theater Seattle WA
Tour: TBA Festival Portland, OR(2009), Kyoto Arts Center (Amy O solo version), Japan (2009), ODC San Francisco, CA (2010), The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, MN (2010), Velocity Dance Center, Seattle WA (2010), Danza Sin Frontreras Festival UNAM, Mexico City (2010)- locust’s final show.
Concept and direction: Zeke Keeble and Amy O’Neal
Performers: Amy O’Neal, Zeke Keeble, Ellie Sandstrom, Amy Clem, Jessie Smith, and Benjamin Maestas (Understudy: Alice Gosti)
Choreography and video: Amy O’Neal
Music and video: Zeke Keeble
Lighting design: Ben Zamora

crushed is a dance/music/video performance work dealing with the idea of being blindsided.  crushed is looking at how it feels to be caught off guard and how often times the entity doing the blindsiding is at times more affected than the blindsided entity.  Dancers sing and musicians dance in this feverishly physical dissection of cause and effect.

crushed is presented by Seattle Theatre Group and funded by 4 Culture with developmental support by On the Boards and Creative Capital.

Press for crushed

A few months ago I saw a one night only dance performance at the Moore Theater by locust, the dance group led by choreographer/dancer Amy O’Neal and musician/composer Zeke Keeble. The work, entitled Crushed, was breathtakingly brilliant. Its intensely physical movement left me at a loss for words, but I left the theater convinced that I had witnessed a profoundly accurate representation of the overwhelming pressures of contemporary life. The degree of tension escalated and drew me in as the dance gained momentum over the course of the performance. However abstract it was, it embodied something I could recognize but not readily explain.
Jim Demetre, Artdish Blog (2009)

Zeke Keeble and Amy O’Neal’s locust, spurred on by the beatbox wizardry of Keeble, will debut “crushed” — their latest work.  locust (always with a lowercase “L”) draws in part on a hip-hop/breakdance vocabulary. But choreographer O’Neal extends it and refines it considerably.

In “crushed,” five dancers are pushed in and out of squares and corridors of light, contending for the spotlight or being shoved into it involuntarily. In rehearsal, dancers O’Neal, Ellie Sandstrom, Amy Clem, Jessie Smith and Benjamin Maestas all demonstrated a swift, clean control that — even in rehearsal without Ben Zamora’s special lighting effects in play — was a joy to watch.

locust has been around since 2000, performing at On the Boards and Velocity Dance. In the case of “crushed,” co-directors Keeble and O’Neal atypically started with a title, then came up with a dance about “being blindsided” to go with it.

“We tried to stay away from the whole love angle of the word,” Keeble says — although O’Neal concedes an erotic component has crept into the work. (In some duets, the coupling is more akin to athletic hostility than loving union — but it does have a feverish carnality to it.)

In developing the work, the dancers came to realize that the person doing the blind-siding can often be as affected as the person being crushed.

“In a car crash,” Keeble observes, “somebody’s at fault — but it doesn’t mean they’re not traumatized.”

Keeble’s live score — in which he interacts at the microphone with his own prerecorded sounds — offers a layered, electronic soundscape in perfect tune with O’Neal’s choreography. There’s also a video component to “crushed” that sometimes echoes and sometimes comments on the live stage action.

As for the movement, it’s both daring and accessible.

“My goal,” says O’Neal, “was to mix what I would do if I was dancing in a club with all my training as a dancer, and have that be a seamless vocabulary.”

Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times 2009