Haas is a movement artist, director, facilitator, builder and writer. They received a B.A. in Performance Art from Columbia College Chicago in 2001 and an M.F.A. in Dance at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2011.
They co-founded EcoDance, a grassroots organization that researches, designs and builds mobile live/work spaces, and have received awards, such as the Roy Acuff Chair of Excellence Fellowship, and residencies at art hubs, such as Links Hall in Chicago, IL. Haas's work has been written about in the Chicago Tribune, was broadcast on Channel 23 by New Chinese Media and has been honored, multiple times, as Chicago Reader Critic's Choice.
After finishing graduate school, Haas began a three-year art/work traveling experiment inside a Mobile Performance Dwelling (MPD) that they built through EcoDance. In August 2014 Haas stopped their travels to homestead on unincorporated land in northern Arizona. There they opened Rosie’s Ranch, which served as an informal art residency and retreat space that included alternative building from December 2015 to January 2021. They currently live within the traditional territory of the O'odham peoples, today known as the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, the Gila River Indian Community, the Ak-Chin Indian Community and the Tohono O'odham Nation.
I am drawn to raw, experimental and introspective works that challenge us to move beyond ourselves and take risks. I think a lot about transformation—that elusive, nameless thing that causes a hesitation, a stirring within, and sometimes, an absolute hijacking of the body. What unnerves us often compels us to lean forward and listen.
I trained as a dancer, but my investigations often disrupt the training within, gravitating instead towards the wild and uncontained movements of my childhood. I view our socio-political-corporate world as a vehicle for the industrialization of the body which encourages and often demands subservience and self policing; this creates disconnection and has the potential to weaken and break down the spirit. I believe that movement has the potential to loosen and eventually break those strongholds, reconnecting us to the very elements that comprise our humanness and our power.
My work ranges from serious to campy, highly choreographed to completely improvised, private to community oriented. Sometimes I have a strong intention to create political work; other times I don’t. There is no hierarchy in the creative process; I invite emotion, excess, narrative, objectivity, reduction, abstraction, conceptualism and non-narrative into the room. What links my work through the wide range of modalities I move within is a curiosity for the body and investigations that involve research and/or performance phases.
I view our bodies as the keepers of all things. How do we navigate these complex and varied landscapes as individuals within communities? How do our bodies shift and morph as we move through this life? What does our body hold for us? What does it keep from us? What do we pick up? What do we leave behind? What seeps in unbeknownst to us? What challenges us? Changes us? Uncovers us? Undoes us? These questions are often at the forefront of my investigations.
I love challenging projects and therefore work on a wide range of ventures, from collaborations with artists across disparate mediums to building structures that house our moving bodies to creating installations within old decaying spaces. Every place I temporarily inhabit influences my work—the architecture and mood/aura of a building, it’s sounds, light and shadow, as well as what is housed within my own body, such as the unconscious, dreams, memories and everyday experiences. It is the sensorial stimulation and confluence between these elements that stimulate, provoke and ground my investigations.