Q&A: What dance that you’ve seen or choreographed affected you the most, and why?
Woosh... our first Q&A blog post is starting off with a bang!
What dance that you’ve seen or choreographed affected you the most, and why?
-Carson, Age 13
Ever since I was young, I have felt affected by dance more than anything else. Nothing can give me space to feel okay with being vulnerable like dance does. One of my earliest memories is of seeing my very first show on Broadway. I was either three or four, and my family went into the city to see Beauty and the Beast. My parents say I stood with my hands on the railing and didn’t move once, which was extremely rare since I was an absolute wild child. (No really guys. My parents had to get rid of their dining room table because I *repeatedly* climbed on top and swung from the chandelier.) I don’t remember the standing still part; however, watching the stage go black and the spotlight come on is one of my most vivid memories to this day. I whipped around to see where the beam of light was coming from. My eyes followed it from the very back of the theater to where the performers started appearing on stage. I remember fixating my eyes on dust particles floating through the light. I thought it was magic. I don’t know if I’ve ever realized this until this moment, but I think my four-year-old memory is the root, or the foundation, of how I create. Live dance and theatre are magic, and that is a belief that will never leave me.
Fast forward, my obsession with Crystal Pite began while I was in college, she was EVERYTHING I dreamed of being. I think I memorized every clip of her choreography I could find on YouTube. If you asked me to, I probably could’ve performed every role included in the clip of Ten Duets on a Theme of Rescue and the entire trailer for The Tempest Replica. A couple of years after graduating, Kidd Pivot finally came to the United States on tour with The Tempest Replica at The Joyce, and I was lucky enough to get tickets. My Mom and I took the bus up to NYC for the day to see the show. When I say I was speechless, I’m not exaggerating. And it got better, I didn’t realize that our show included a Q&A with Crystal Pite. The performance was amazing and inspiring. I was starting to delve into the land of creating full-length works, and when I finally saw The Tempest Replica in person, not just a trailer, I knew what kind of storyteller I wanted to be. I understood what spoke to me in regards to the balance of narrative, technical movement, and emotion. Seeing Crystal’s work in person helped me find my niche and calling within the world of choreography, and honestly, I've never looked back.
Within my own work, there are a few things that stand out as works that genuinely affected me. First would be everything I’ve created under my company Invisible Wings Dance Project with [Padlock] being the stand out piece. Before creating [Padlock], I rarely openly created dances about my own life. I either made up stories or used other people as inspiration. I would occasionally sneak little Easter eggs about my own experiences into dances, but I really didn’t start openly creating about my life until around 2016. I understand now that this was a defense mechanism. [Padlock] and the other works I created under IWDP finally made me brave enough to be open about my illnesses, and the severe struggles I experienced as a result. By letting my guard down, I became stronger, kinder, and more empathetic.
Creating act one of Kinetic Canvas: Vincent Van Gogh was a very cathartic and unique experience. There were a lot of parallels I found between myself and Vincent. The most obvious being that we were both affected by illnesses we couldn’t control. There is a lot of great art that is created as a response to feeling powerless. I see that in Vincent, and I often see it in myself.
Photos by Scott Serio & October Sky Photography
Kinetic Canvas: Jackson Pollock and Claude Monet are up there on the list as well. Both shows had clear messages that resonate with me deeply. Both made me cry, and both felt like huge triumphs to complete. After their final performances, I immediately missed getting to watch them, that is not always the case.
I’m going to write a separate post about the studio works I’ve made that have affected me over the years because many deserve attention and recognition. I hope this post has given you a little insight into my world and what makes me tick! Live dance is magic, and we can always use a little more magic in our lives!