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E r y k a   D e l l e n b a c h (she/they)
is a Chicago-bred filmmaker, choreographer, performer and teaching artist based in California’s East Bay on Lisjan Ohlone territory. Her embodied films, soundscapes and evocative, multidisciplinary performances are rites of carefully designed sensation that mine  psychophysical thresholds and the malleability of consciousness. Eryka regards work process as life and values close and longterm collaboration, intimacy with brutal climates, rituals of consent, conflict+resolution, fantasy and world-building.

She has worked with and performed in the works of an eclectic variety of dance/performance artists including  Atsushi Takenouchi, Tori Wränes, Tino Sehgal, Blair Thomas Puppet Theatre, Amanda Gutierrez, HOGG, Michael Zerang & Eva Mag. Her process and technique have been heavily informed by her  teachers Wendy Clinard (flamenco), Atsushi Takenouchi (Butoh), Vangeline (Butoh), Deborah Stratman (celluloid film), Joshua Grainger (capoeira) and the late Dr. Waud Kracke (psychoanalytic-anthropology).

Eryka has presented work at Movement Research at the Judson Memorial Church, Anthology Film Archives, Roulette Intermedium, Green River Cemetery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Intuit Outsider Art Museum, The Art Institute Museum of Chicago, Links Hall, No Nation Gallery, and internationally at the Shiryaevo Bienalle of Contemporary Art (Russia), Spazio Nu (Italy) and Schloss Bröllin (Germany). 

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the Universiy of Illinois at Chicago, and a master’s degree in Film, Video, New Media, Animation and Sound from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

She works as a choreographer, performer, artist teacher, performance documentarian, DP, camera operator, and contracted worker. She is a collaborator of transnational group HEKLER.

︎  ︎


Film: Eryka Dellenbach
Performance: Nola Sporn Smith
Shot in 2018 
Edited in 2020 
Location: Eryka’s apartment in Brooklyn
Material: 2x 100 ft. rolls of digitally transferred Color Negative 16mm film

Nola, Apt. features two segments of a solo Eryka witnessed Nola performing when they first met. Partially influenced by visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2013, the solo explores the act of private ritual put on public display, and inversely, the individualization of public ritual.

The Western Wall is the only remains of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, held to be uniquely holy by the ancient Jews and destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. There is a lasting practice of kissing the surface, placing notes, or whispering into the crevices of this wall by visitors. The wall is also strictly divided by gender - women are allotted about half of the space devoted to men - though it is easy to peer through the fencing to witness the practices of those on the other side.

‘A wall is like a projection screen for fantasy, how the further we turn away from the outside world, the deeper we go within - and also, the blinder we become to what surrounds us. ‘ (Nola, 2020)

Switching the context of Nola’s performance [back] to a private setting brings the work to a confrontation with its own vulnerability. Adding a third layer of celluloid film documentation creates a new, fragile dynamic between performer and viewer. The editing of the performance by the filmmaker emphasizes the sensual element in the performance and juxtaposes choreographic moments located at the poles of the brutal, and the more gentle, perceived through the lens of the female gaze.


Outpost Artist Resources (NY), Cuts and Burns screening, Sunday November 15 7pm EST followed by Q&A: RSVP here