Patrick Mueller

Patrick Mueller

Choreographer/Venue Executive Director/Dancer/Teacher/Lighting Designer/…/…

Hometown:  Lakewood, CO
Current City:  Denver, CO
Education:  BA from Pomona College / MFA from Hollins Univ. & ADF
Profession:  Choreographer, Venue Executive Director, Dancer, Teacher, Lighting Designer…
Company:  Control Group Productions / work|space Denver
Spouse:  Kristine Whittle
Children:  In utero!!!!! (just 1)

Patrick Mueller is a Denver-based performance artist and the founder and artistic director of Control Group Productions, a platform for collaborative research into performance, presence, aesthetics, and form. In tandem with Brian Freeland of the LIDA Project, Patrick co-directs the multi-use black-box venue work|space Denver, where he curates and produces progressive and experimental art from the local community and around the world. Patrick teaches dance technique, history, and theory at Naropa University and Red Rocks Community College. Patrick grew up in Colorado and attended Pomona College (Claremont, CA), where he designed an individualized major in Performance Art. He later completed his MFA in Dance from the American Dance Festival and Hollins University, with supplementary study at the Ohio State University. From 2002 to 2005 Patrick performed in New York with Troika Ranch Dance Theatre, Mark Jarecke Dance, Julia Mandle, Paige Martin, Scott Rink, and others. He then worked in Europe for with Ben J. Riepe Kompanie (Germany) and Mancopy Danse Kompagni (Denmark), touring extensively in Europe, the Middle East, and Mexico. He returned to Colorado in 2008 and formed Control Group Productions. The company’s first venue, The Packing House Center for the Arts, was awarded Best Venue for Dance and Avant Garde in 2010 by Westword Magazine. Control Group’s works have been presented by the American Dance Festival, Denver Theatre District’s Blacktop Festival, BINDERY|space, Naropa University, Denver Office of Cultural Affairs, Westword Magazine’s ARTOPIA Festival, and others. Control Group and its programs at work|space Denver are supported by WESTAF, several family foundations, and many local businesses and individuals.

Tell us your favorite things about living in Denver.
I grew up in CO and then left for 10 years, but Denver never stopped feeling like “home”. I still feel more connected to the people and culture here than anywhere else in the world. I love the outdoors culture, the frontier can-do mentality, and of stunning natural beauty.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I always wanted to be an artist of some sort – sometimes a fiction writer, sometimes a painter or sculptor, later an actor. I found dance in college and it felt like it was drawing together all of my creative pursuits, putting to use the skills and atunements that I had worked on in different media.

Who/What motivates you?
Necessity, I guess. I have things that I have to do in this world – things that I need to pursue and combine and create and develop. Of course many more concrete things drive this: my desire to see my community move forward, the desire to share my work with broader audiences, and inevitably a level of artist ego that wants to be appreciated for these things that I feel driven to make and do.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Opening Control Group’s first venue, the Packing House Center for the Arts, was a massive undertaking. Something magical happened with it – very early on it started drawing to it what it needed to take each step. It brought me some of the most valuable relationships that I’ve made in Colorado, as well as many new skill sets and resources.

What is something you still hope to accomplish?
I’m working hard to get Denver’s culture to “pop”. We all talk about how Denver is ready to do that thing that Portland or Austin or Philly have done: transition from a provincial ‘receiver’ of culture to a relevant contributor and participant in larger dialogs. In many ways I think this is already beginning to happen, but I think we still have some serious work to do to move Denver into the central role that it can play regionally and globally.

Tell us about your creative process.
In Buddhist practice (of which my knowledge is only very basic), it’s possible to eat meat in times of famine, but it needs to be karmically cleansed by passing through 3 people. The person who kills the animal can’t eat the meat, and the people who prepare and cook the meat can’t eat it, but the karmic sacrifice of these three people is balanced if they can provide food for the rest of the village to eat.  

My creative practice requires collaboration. Collaboration repeatedly filters the materials that we generate in an artistic process, developing and enriching them through being touched by many people. I’m not interested in the act of CREATING – of bringing forth from the depths of my genius an object of perfect wonder. Instead, I want to cultivate an accumulation of materials contributed by everyone in the process, to guide and arrange them into a unique experience of our common thought and impulse.

Who is your favorite dance company or dancer?  Why?
I hate the word favorite… I need a context or purpose to make a choice. I can say, though, that John Jasperse, DV8 Dance Theatre, and Bill Forsythe’s early work all had a major impact on my development. A lot of local artists gave me faith that this was a community that I could dig into – Kim Olson, Angie Simmons, many others.

What do you do in your spare time?
Spare time? Seriously? I sleep.

Tell us something funny about yourself.
I used to wear a tutu when I was 2 years old – with cowboy boots and a Superman cape. I only stopped wearing it because I peed in it and my mom (maybe with a bit of relief?) said it couldn’t be cleaned.

Anything else you want to say?
I spend far too much time wordsmithing. You want more, call me, I’ll talk your ear off.