Tender Hearts Journey

Over a 2 year process, "Tender Hearts" became an umbrella term for a series of art projects, ranging from interview documentaries, live dance performance, and photography and film projects.

Fall 2021

In the fall of 2021, after a full year of Nomadic travel during the pandemic, I could not shake the need to dive into so many images and questions that were coming up for me regarding love. How to carry hope through heartbreak? How to lead a life of love? What is love (for self, for other, for earth)?

There was a feeling that I needed to make an art project about this concept, but I was unclear about the direction of the work. Wanting to bring the feeling outside of my own curious mind, I decided to conduct and record many online interviews to hear other peoples experiences and points of view. This initial phase of creation involved 17 1-on-1 interviews with people aged 26-73 from different cultures and walks of life. Some of the interviewees were friends or colleagues of mine, others were folks interested in the project who reached out to join the process.

With the momentum of accumulating information from these conversations, I applied for winter residencies, to be able to find my next step in the creative process using the audio material.

Winter 2021-22

I was accepted for a winter residency at Mauser Ecohouse in Parrita, Costa Rica, where I spent 5 weeks solo during the holiday season. In this self-directed residency, I compiled all of the thoughts, questions and interview statements into idea-chapters for the film. I listened to the 20+ hours of audio to make large post-it note charts with themes that seemed to reoccur throughout the interview series. From the charts I created a text-based rehearsal directory of phrases and scores to use in the studio. Using this directory, I would record my dancing, and then choose which specific movements I wanted to memorize. I left with an extensive journal of notes and new ideas, a folder of organized post-it note charts with direct quotes from the interviews, skill in transcribing audio into movement, new experience with creating earth mandalas as part of the creative ritual, many new field recordings to use in a future sound score, and lots of new choreography to use in my next creative studio sessions. Yet still, I was unsure what the outcome of this “art project” was going to be…

This residency was partially funded by a New England Foundation for the Arts’ New England Dance Fund.

Late Winter - Spring 2022

Upon returning from Mauser Ecohouse, I reached out to my long-time film/photo collaborator to dive into the work concepts with me. With COVID still raging, a public performance experience did not feel possible, but I wanted to share the work in some way, and felt that perhaps a film could be the way. We set up other additional interviews with other Vermonters who had unique stories, to help us continue building the story. In addition, Andreas began to conduct interviews as well, with new and old friends- and now we were using his camera to document it as a film. I took the choreography from Mauser to create a duet with Montpelier-based dancer Bridgette Wheeler, which we filmed in March 2021 at the frozen lakefront at Oakledge Beach in Burlington VT.

Summer 2022

I was selected as the inaugural artist for the Homeport Art House residency in South Thomaston Maine, for two weeks in summer 2022. Andreas and I went together to gather with the community in multiple ways in order to develop our research and contribute to the potential content of the film. We filmed many more one-on-one interviews with the townspeople that our residency director deemed a good fit for the project content; conducted a group workshop; and held a Community potluck + work share. In addition, we were very inspired by the landscape, and completed several new professional film and photography projects.

This residency was supported by a NEFA Public Arts Learning Fund and a Vermont Arts Council Artist Development Fund.

Six professional projects were made by Hanna and Andreas: Feel, Cocoon, Liberation, Beacon, Pink Bouy and Breakwater.

Fall 2022

Andreas and I continued to meet to determine how all of this footage would be synthesized into a presentation for the public. An online film series featuring each interviewee? A gallery exhibit with audio captures from the interviewees? A series of dance film vignettes? We spent many months drafting proposals for these ideas, and submitting grant applications for funding to make it happen. Letter after letter denied funding, so the extensive editing process was put on hold. We gave the project some space, allowing its shape to unfold naturally.

Late Winter - Spring 2023

In December 2022 I launched a new business, ANIMAL Dance, with the desire to have a recognizable entity for my creative and curatorial work. (My graduate school thesis project was an interdisciplinary performance titled ANIMAL, and from that show I had always dreamed of forming a performance company. This dream was now so clearly ready to come true!)

After the logistics of setting up the business, I asked five stunning Vermont-based dancers to join me on the journey of creating a work for the stage. All five happily agreed, and four were able to actually commit to the rehearsal schedule.

Using all of the solo dance rehearsal footage, audio text/phrases from the interview, visceral experiences of the residency, and sound recordings from throughout the process, I entered into a weekly studio process from January-June. Working with Jessie Owens, Mireya Guerra, Nicole Dagesse and Marisa Hall I created “Tender Hearts” as a live performance for the stage. We were able to publicly share the work while in process twice, and worked with a dramaturg once, to allow the piece to be in a bigger conversation while it was still shaping.

Simultaneously, Andreas and I worked on a final film project using the thematic concepts from Tender Hearts. The idea was to meet at the same location, at the same time of day, once a month for five months, to capture the effect of change over seasons. We worked with 13 participating Vermont dancers accumulating per month to abstractly tell a story of the journey to connection.


After many iterations of the way the Tender Hearts dance show material would be collaged, layered, ordered and defined, ANIMAL Dance landed with a full-length evening performance which we were able to share on a four-town tour through summer and fall 2023.

Tender Hearts: A tour of the human emotional experience through an abstract movement journey.

Full program can be found here.

WATCH THE SHOW: Please contact to purchase a digital streaming of the premiere performance. Partially supported by a Vermont Arts Council Artist Development Grant.

Meanwhile, Hanna and Andreas completed the final film edition from the thematic content of Tender Hearts, called: REVOLUTION
A site specific film by long-time collaborators Hanna Satterlee and Andreas John. "Revolution" was shot from January to May 2023 at High Acres Farm in Shelburne, Vermont. The work abstractly tells a story of the journey to connection, and the support that is needed to stand strongly on one's own.

Revolution was premiered at a Dance Film Screening Party in OCtober 2023, at Blossom Wellness center in Montpelier, Vermont.

Hanna and Andreas completed the final film edition from the thematic content of Tender Hearts, called:


A site specific film by long time collaborators Hanna Satterlee and Andreas John. "Revolution" was shot from January to May 2023 in Shelburne, Vermont, meeting once monthly at the same site and the same time (noon) to capture the effect of change over seasons. With 13 participating Vermont dancers accumulating per month, the work abstractly tells a story of the journey to connection.