I met with Elliot Vaughan and Natalie Schneck separately over coffees. The pair have be working together on and off for years and their upcoming collaboration combines musical performance with movement and theatre elements.
Elliot Vaughan is a classically trained musician and composer. Inspired to create his own music from a young age, he was drawn to compositions that worked with movement in an integrated way. He references Shostakovich as an early inspiration, describing a piece where the act of playing the score turns the string quartet into a sort of machine, bows flying wildly. By the time he was studying composition at SFU, Elliot was writing a variety of performative tasks into his compositions, actions that started to go beyond the physical execution of the sound itself. He tells me that a university friend said to him, “So you’re starting to make some kind of naive, kind of bad theatre, maybe you should check out what these kids are doing,” which led him to working with theatre and dance majors and more fully delving into experimental performance.
“Making compositions is solitary and being in the room with other people making stuff on the fly was a revelation,” he says, continuing to find projects where he is collaborating with other artists and musicians. Currently Elliot is half of collaborative songwriting duet called The End Tree. He is also making bluesy ghost-songs under the name Iffy South, a solo project that he always imagined would eventually incorporate dancers.
Natalie Schneck comes from a theatre background with training in Grotowski and a history as an athlete. Having always been drawn to movement, she pursued further dance training after her theatre degree, attending the dance and choreography program at Concordia for a year in Montreal. Working as a choreographer and dance teacher in Montreal, she also created a creative movement program for kids called 123 Steps Ahead. She’s been back in Vancouver since November and is currently working as the Development Associate at The Cultch as well as expanding her creative practice.
“It’s interesting for me to find the intersection of business and arts and see it in a positive way. Sometimes I think it’s looked at as one alienating the other, and I would be interested in seeing how they can come together.”
Before she moved back to Vancouver, Natalie heard Elliot’s Iffy South ep and decided to use one of the tracks for a short dance piece. Now the pair are back in the studio creating something that pushes both of their skillsets and blurs the movements of musical performance with choreographed dance. As a tangent development, Natalie has become the manager for Elliot’s Iffy South project, taking their creative collaboration into more of a business relationship as well.
Elliot Vaughan and Natalie Schneck will premiere their latest work at Shooting Gallery Performance Series #3, March 31st and April 1st.