Lily Taylor and Sarah Alexander collaborated in May at WAAS gallery. They'll perform with dancer Ali Honchell Saturday at the same space. Melissa Hennings


Dallas Musicians Lily Taylor and Sarah Alexander Bring Dance to Their Improv Project

At WAAS gallery Saturday, a new way to meditate with the duo.

In a small gallery just south of Deep Ellum, two Dallas vocalists will expand a ritual they started two years ago. Sarah Alexander and Lily Taylor took the audience on a journey through the their vocal process in the vitreous white walls of Women Are All Stars (WAAS) gallery for the 2016 collaboration INVITATION. This time, dancer Ali Honchell will join them for MOVEMENT in the same space,  on Saturday at 7 p.m. 

The chemistry is already strong between the two singers, known for bringing elements of avant-garde and free jazz to Dallas venues.

“The discipline of improvisation for me is an exercise in listening, responding, and staying present in the moment,” Taylor says. “If I think too hard about what’s going on, I can’t find the flow, but improv is all about the moments that work and the moments that don’t work; both are valid. I feel far more free as a vocalist than I do performing with any other instrument, but I do consider myself a multi-instrumentalist. I think one of the reasons Sarah and I find so many wonderful moments when improvising together, whether vocally or with external instruments, is that we enjoy listening to and then reacting to one another. We have a special connection.”

As educators, Taylor and Alexander encourage audiences to grow with them.

“I think being a “lifer” musician means constantly learning from every performance undertaken, always striving for a perfection that may not ever be achieved, but it fuels forward motion, staving off stagnation,” Alexander says. “If it is also educational for the audience, that’s even better and at it’s best, I think it is.”

“I see every class, rehearsal, and performance as educational. I mean, what’s the point if I’m not learning from what I’m doing? Every day is a lesson. Music is an ever-evolving art form, and improvisation is a big part of that philosophy, teaching is, too. We hope that the audience will experience thinking about sound differently than maybe they did before after attending this show,” Taylor says. 

Though they play out often in separate projects, it’s rare to hear Alexander and Taylor perform together. They teamed up to record an album as a trio with Sean French of Pour le Corps Records for release on cassette tape and digital download— the release date has yet to be announced.  In the meantime, you can keeps tabs on both musicians via their shows on KUZU 92.9. Taylor hosts “BandwidthTX,” twice a month on Tuesdays at 7 p.m., and Alexander hosts “Tiger D” each Tuesday at 8 p.m.