by Nicole Harris
24hr ChoreoFest is a unique choreography event fashioned after 24 hour play and film festivals. Choreographers are locked into Green Street Studios overnight on June 21st with the mission of creating something new. All of the work will be shown at Luminarium's Gala Event, Ignite, on Sunday, June 23rd. Keep an eye out here for more information about the festival and the artists involved! Get your tickets to be part of the magic!
The first interviewee is choreographer Emma Morris. She comes to us from Atlanta where she works as a dancer and freelance choreographer.
Nicole Harris: Who are the dancers you’ll be working with for ChoreoFest?
Emma Morris: I’ll be working with a couple dancers and long-time collaborators that I met during my time at USC. Meredith Price is a Boston native, who in addition to being a talented dancer is an outstanding visual artist as both a photographer and graphic designer. I will also be bringing Lauren Bobo, a dance artist and teacher who I’ve worked with on nearly every work I’ve created.
N: What are you most nervous about for ChoreoFest?
EM: What I’m most nervous for during ChoreoFest is shortening parts of my process to fit into such a short period of time. As a choreographer, words are used as a jumping off point. I discuss with my dancers the theme of the piece, and let where the conversation develop where it may between the people and the experiences in the room. I then collect words and phrases from those conversations and use them to inform gestures and base choreography. In only having a limited time, I will have to condense this process and I am nervous if my work will loose the layered intentionality my work possesses. Or it might allow for an even more intentional piece!
N: Who are your mentors, past and present?
EM: I have never really found myself in the direct mentorship of any one artist. I’ve learned so much from so many people, be it colleagues, teachers, or directors. But, I’ve learned the most from and still continue to look to for inspiration and advice from Shaun Boyle D’arcy. I met Shaun while a sophomore at USC when she selected me as an understudy for the creation of a new work, she saw something in me I didn’t see in myself yet. Her creation process deeply influenced the way I create, and working with her again my senior year, her encouragement in my personal voice gave me the confidence to pursue choreography.
N: Where else can we find you this Spring/Summer?
EM: This summer I’m working a lot in Atlanta. I’m premiering a new work on June 14th at MIXTAPE, a feminist dance festival produced by Zoetic Dance. After 24hr ChoreoFest, I’ll head back to Atlanta to continue to work with multiple companies in the area- I’ve got a few new projects in the works. I’m hoping to head to WA for another project in August but its not finalized yet.
N: What other local companies/ choreographers do you recommend people check out? Why?
EM: So I’m not from Boston, so maybe not the best person to give advice on the dance scene but I can tell you all about the gems in Atlanta and Columbia SC. In Atlanta I love Zoetic, they’re an all female company that creates work centered on female empowerment, and Kit Modus, a company creating beautiful and intricate work with some of the most talented artists in the city. In Columbia I have to say Yuhas and Dancers is amazing, creating highly intelligent work that is socially relevant- most recently creating a work with SC’s poet laurate.
Rich Miner, Joan Panek, Bari Rosenberg,
Amanda Mastroianni, Chikako Iwahori,
Susan Nase, Jim Pagella, Isabel Fine,
Jon Schaffrath, Derick Grant,
Hillary-Marie Michael, Jon Keith,
Andrew Fine, Leah Sakala,
Janine Harrington, Olivia Buntane,
Kendra Heithoff Henseler,
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson,
and Buster Brown.