Movers & Shapers: Lynn Peterson and Kate Sutter

By February 28, 2023March 1st, 2023Podcast

PODCAST 151: Lynn Peterson and Kate Sutter

Release Date: 2.27.23


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Sharing the Power of Dance with Lynn Peterson and Kate Sutter

The power of dance can be harnessed and shared with people from all walks of life. The connection facilitated by the art form is undeniable when witnessing the fortuitous friendship between Lynn Peterson and Kate Sutter. The two visionary leaders behind SYREN Modern Dance join us today to share their respective dance journeys, and the process of starting, sustaining, and now celebrating 20 years of SYREN. We learn about their roles in the organization and their principal source of inspiration, as well as their intention to share the value of modern dance as widely as they can. Lynn and Kate always have been and always will be dedicated to dance and, in this episode, we are reminded of the importance of placing creativity at the center of any art form, despite the distraction of building a business around it. Tune in for this inspirational conversation with two women who didn’t idly wait for opportunities to come their way, but rather seized the reins and did it their way!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Kate and Lynn’s respective dance backgrounds, and what initially drew them to dance.
  • The process of starting SYREN Modern Dance together.
  • The various jobs they’ve done along the way to support their dance careers.
  • SYREN’s development over the years.
  • Kate’s role in the company and what gives her the most energy in her role.
  • Lynn’s college audition and selection process.
  • How Kate and Lynn connected and how it transferred to their work.
  • What caused them to make the intentional shift to stop auditioning and start Syren.
  • Their intention to share the value of modern dance.
  • The story behind the name, Syren.
  • Their growth strategies for the organization and the challenges they’ve encountered.
  • How they’ve merged dance and science.
  • SYREN’s current projects and plans for the future.
  • The power of dance and the source of Lynn and Kate’s inspiration.

“The past five years have really started to feel like we have this organization that is being supported by many different prongs of programming, and the cycles of inspiration and work continue to feed each other and grow.” — Kate Sutter

SYREN Modern Dance is a New York City based company Co-founded by Lynn Peterson and Kate Sutter. Now celebrating its 20th year of sharing dance, SYREN exists to embrace dance as a conduit of connection, communication, curiosity, and collaboration.

In February 2022, SYREN performed on behalf of the U.S. State Department as a U.S. Cultural Ambassador at Expo 2020 Dubai (the first “World’s Fair” ever held in the Middle East).

SYREN has shared dance where people gather in classrooms, theaters, churches, temples, over Zoom, in the grass, in art galleries, libraries, and museums in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Washington D.C., Texas, Rhode Island, Ohio, and Paris, France.

In addition to hundreds of individuals, SYREN has received support from Mid Atlantic Arts through USArtists International, a program in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Trust of Mutual Understanding, Aleph Fund, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Dance/NYC, Jewish Community Fund, and Queens Council on the Arts, Particle Fever, Harkness Space Grants (92nd Street Y), The Chelsea Art Museum, and by residencies at DanceNOW/NYC’s Silo and DTW’s Outer/Space.

SYREN has been exploring the intersection of science and art since 2015, which led to the premiere of “Red and Blue, Bitter and Sweet” in 2017. This dance was inspired by quantum mechanics, specifically entanglement, uncertainty principle, super position, and duality. SYREN’s most recent work “Ticktock” is performed in collaboration with Astrophysicist Paul Sutter, and is an exploration of time using dance and narrative sequences, “Ticktock” has been presented at Expo 2020 Dubai, Bryant Park, Museum of Science-Boston, Houston Museum of Natural Science, and New England Biolabs. In an effort to share the process of this intersection of science and art, SYREN created “Science in Motion”, and has since shared it with The American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington D.C., Society of Physics Students at NYU, Women in Physics at Yale, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, American Physical Society’s New England Conference, IONA College, The Chapin School, St. Paul’s School for Girls, Cambridge Science Festival, High Tech High School, OSU Dance Department, The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria, and Girl’s Inc. of NY.

In New York City, SYREN has been presented by Gibney Dance Center, Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity, Green Space, Arts on Site, Children’s Museum of Manhattan, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Riverside Theatre, Symphony Space, 92ND Street Y, Dance Theater Workshop, Dixon Place, Queens Theatre in the Park, d.u.m.b.o. Arts Under the Bridge Festival, and St. Mark’s Church.

SYREN has self-produced performances at Baryshnikov Arts Center, The Ailey Citigroup Theater, University Settlement, John Jay Theater, and St. Francis Xavier. SYREN’s visual arts partnership with The Art Students League of New York was exhibited at The Office of the Manhattan Borough President.

SYREN’s commissioned work by composer Galeet Dardashti was presented by JCC of Manhattan, 92Y Tribeca, and Le Poisson Rouge.

SYREN has worked with students in NYC at P.S. 123, Ballet Tech, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, and Mark Morris Dance Center.

Outside of New York City, SYREN’s has also been presented by Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Cité Universitaire in Paris, Purchase College, Bach Society of Houston, Sacred Music at the Red Door, Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival, White Plains Performing Arts Center, Educational Center for the Arts, New Haven Ballet, and Grounds for Sculpture, among others.

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

SYREN Modern Dance

SYREN on Instagram

Lynn Peterson on Instagram

Kate Sutter on LinkedIn

Podcast produced by: The Moving Architects
Interviewer: Erin Carlisle Norton