N: Can you tell us about the work you do with ECI on Location?
E: Boston Ballet has a really fantastic community initiatives department, and ECI on Location is one of a few programs that they run (in addition to Citydance, Adaptive Dance, community workshops, etc.). We send teaching teams out weekly for the entire school year to 11 community sites in all different Boston neighborhoods, including after-school programs, community centers, and Boys & Girls Clubs. The goal is to make high quality dance education accessible across the city for children who are interested, and using it as a youth development opportunity as well - we balance beginner ballet technique with creative movement and composition, so it's a little bit of everything. I'm lead teaching at 3 sites currently, and it is a constant learning curve as an educator in adapting to different student needs and interests, different spaces, and different goals within the curriculum. I have some amazing students this year that make every single class an adventure, and this year we also have a performance opportunity so getting to make pieces with them has been a really cool process. I come from a strong contemporary, improvisational, and Laban choreological background myself, so finding ways to incorporate those elements and give students those creative tools has been a fun challenge for me as well! My goal is really to get my kids excited about dance, break some assumptions they might have about it, and to show them that building technique and strength is really just to give you more choices and options to express yourself!
N: This fall you did an At Home Movement Practice + Journalism Project. Can you tell us a little about what you did and what you felt you got out of it at the end?
E: Yes! I was actually a journalism major in college, and have always gravitated towards using text and writing in my choreographic process. I was struggling a bit this fall with an extra-busy teaching/work schedule and wasn't feeling very fulfilled in my own artistic dance practice. I was pretty religiously reading the New York Times and a few other outlets every day though, and had noticed such an uptick in the number of articles and topics I really felt compelled to read and understand (I think a lot of us probably felt that way in this insane past year or so!). So I came up with the idea to just take a few excerpts from what I read each day and to make a short movement response, either improvised or set, based on the words and images. It was a cool way to combine my interests and respond to all the intense things I was reading within my artform; to look at the language being used to capture our world in a slightly more removed way; and to dance a little every day in an attainable way and from a clear inspiration point. I'm actually using this idea to create my NACHMO piece as well! It seemed like an awesome fit for the whole concept of making-a-piece-in-one-month. I'm still in the movement generation portion of the process, and will be figuring out how best to weave things together/analyzing what kind of themes emerge (or none! it may end up being more a chain of vignettes).
N: What are you most excited about for this year’s National Choreography Month?
E: This will be my first solo performance since 2014! So I'm pretty excited to take the plunge of being onstage by myself within my own work. It's such a different process than choreographing with other movers, and I'm definitely a little nervous but also looking forward to the experience. There are also a bunch of artists in the NACHMO lineup whose work I haven't seen before, so I'm really excited to check out their pieces and see what's going on in the Boston scene!
N: Who are some of your favorite choreographers?
E: My current list is all choreographers whose work I've actually gotten to see live in the last couple years, so am still just geeking out about. Hofesh Shechter (Hofesh Shechter Company), Andrea Miller (Gallim Dance), Pina Bausch (Tanztheater Wuppertal), Crystal Pite (Kidd Pivot), and Michael Keegan Dolan (Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre). They all combine crazy, beautiful, pure physicality with theatricality and narrative in such an incredible way, and all these performances felt like full on emotional experiences.