One of my favorite things about my job is that amazing people like Gracie (Nozama) and Jen (OnStage) reach out to me when they have exciting projects like Empower One Another and ask me to interview the artists and host their post show conversations!
Get your tickets to see six female run dance companies/choreographers on April 13th. You can catch the matinee, check out the Spork (post show conversation) with yours truly and then head over to the Dance Complex just in time to see karen Krolak's I-ARE Residency Showcase in the evening! It's a perfect day of dance! But first, check out this fabulous interview with Gracie Novikoff about Nozama's role in this show and her experiences in collaboration! (More show at ticket info at the bottom of this post!)
Nicole Harris: Collaboration can be rewarding and difficult. What is one great moment and one challenge you’ve faced during this process?
Gracie Novikoff: When Jen (of OnStage Dance Company) and I were coming up with the concept for “Empower One Another”, we were primarily driven by the idea of bringing Boston dance companies and independent choreographers together. We wanted to not only promote collaboration, but support for one another and to build a network in which directors can share the highs and lows of managing a company in Boston. With that, the overwhelming reward of “Empower One Another” has been to see six companies share their visions, talents, and experiences to work together and create beautiful new art. I am also thrilled to see the companies creating works under the themes of female empowerment, as this is what drives my company Nozama Dance Collective’s entire mission. At the same time, working with others can be tricky when you all have strong, powerful ideas that are worthy of being shared. With our partner company, Kaleidoscope Dance Company, they are also directed by not one but two incredible women. Along with my co-director Natalie, that makes four collaborative partners with bold ideas. Finding space and time for all four of us to be heard in this process has been tricky, especially when even the co-directors disagree with one another! But overall, that challenge has made me even more proud of this process.
N: In addition to collaborating in the studio you have been collaborating with OnStage on this entire project. What is something you’ve learned through this experience?
GN: Working with Jen from OnStage Dance has been a gift. She is not only an experienced instructor and choreographer, but studio owner. She also single-handedly runs a 60 person company, which is a phenomenal feat. Jen juggles all of her tasks and jobs so seamlessly, and I have learned an incredible amount from her. She has taught me about prioritization, time management, and how to push beyond one’s limits. Our partnership materialized into “Empower One Another”, which is such a dream and accomplishment to me. I cannot wait to see what else our partnership creates!
N: Where did the idea for this concert come from?
GN: Unfortunately in the Boston dance community, there is not nearly as much support between companies as we would like to see. Companies do not often attend one another’s shows, or take one another’s classes. Companies are insular, and do not often collaborate or help one another with things such as fundraising or networking. Jen and I wanted to tackle that, and bring companies together to collaborate and share one another’s gifts and creative visions. At the same time, we wanted to help form a network between Boston dance company directors and choreographers. Managing a company is hard work, and doing it without any support is nearly impossible! Having the six company directors meet for a Round Table Discussion about how we all tackle the challenges of managing companies was a massive priority for Jen and I. The “Empower One Another” performance is the exciting culmination of this collaboration, but we know that the partnerships will last beyond the show as directors continue to lean on one another for support.
N: Where else can we find you this Spring/Summer?
GN: Nozama Dance Collective has a lot of exciting things coming up! We are launching our Spring Company Class Series, in which we will teach master classes at Green Street Studios on 3/18, 4/19, 5/6, and 5/20. Additionally, we have our annual concert “Uplift” at Green Street Studios on August 9th and 10th. We are also looking forward to performing in a few festivals and concerts around Boston, so keep an eye out for us!
N: What other local companies or choreographers do you recommend people check out? Why?
GN: SO many! It is so hard to pick just a handful. The Boston dance community is filled with incredible talent, visions, and creativity. Personally, I am drawn to choreographers who tell poignant, empowering stories about the female experience through their work. Putting the other artists of “Empower One Another” aside, I am forever drawn to Colleen Roddy’s choreography. I am also inspired by the work of Luminarium Dance, particularly because that is another company managed by two incredible women who collaborate together so well. But honestly, if you have a free night, just check out the Dance Complex or Green Street Studios and check out whatever is happening! There is no bad dance experience out there. Support other artists! They will support you back!
You can catch their show at
OnStage Dance Company, 665 Salem St, Malden, MA
Saturday, July 7th @ 4pm
Use VIP Code NDC10 to get a special ticket price here!
Follow Nozama on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter to learn more about them!!
Nicole Harris: Can you tell me about the work you’ll be performing as part of the OnStage Summer Performance Series?
Gracie Novikoff: Nozama Dance Collective is thrilled to be a part of the OnStage Summer Performance Series! We will be presenting a 45 minute set on Saturday, July 7th at 4pm. We will be performing predominantly new works, which is very exciting! We have been crafting a series of pieces surrounding the concept of “Enough”, in that as women we have seen enough, we have heard enough, we have had enough; now is the time to embrace that we are enough. Under this concept’s umbrella, we are presenting empowering works of frustration surrounding the threats to women’s rights, as well as uplifting dances of women coming together to celebrate one another. The tumultuous political climate of 2016-2018 has inspired us in numerous ways, particularly in how bold women have stood up and claimed their voices against oppressive forces. We are committed to bringing female empowerment to the Boston dance community, and this performance will fully embody that. This set list will then make up a large percentage of the choreography for our own full-length production, appropriately entitled “Enough”, which will be on August 3rd and 4th at Green Street Studios in Cambridge, MA.
In creating our pieces, we pull inspiration from our own experiences as well as the other women in our lives and our relationships with them. Specifically, Natalie Schiera and I (Nozama’s Co-Directors) are inspired by our mentor from Boston University, Micki Taylor-Pinney. She taught us the bulk of what we know about the art of choreography, and how to captivate an audience with your message. She is our greatest instructor and guide!
N: Last time we spoke it was during NACHMO Boston and you were presenting work of a new choreographer for your company. Have any additional company members choreographed work during 2018? How has it been for you and for the dancers to expand the number of choreographers you’re working with? What have some of the challenges been? What has been really successful?
G: One of the internal missions of Nozama Dance Collective in 2018 was to offer opportunities to our dancers that would promote their own individual goals as artists. With this, we now have numerous choreographers within the company. Natalie Schiera and I as Co-Directors still choreograph many of the pieces, but we have had stunning pieces choreographed by Kelly Gauthier, who has been with the company since its inception. Additionally, this season Dana Alsamsam is choreographing a phenomenal trio, while Juliana Wiley is crafting a fantastic duet. We are also excited to produce solos choreographed and performed by Teresa Tobin and Katy Esper, individually. We look forward to fostering the creativity and passion of our dancers as choreographers and as artists, and we are consistently seeking opportunities for them to achieve their goals.
N: I know it hasn’t been nearly as long between the last interview and now as it was between the first two, but what what are a couple of amazing things that have happened to the company since January?
G: So many things! We are especially proud to now be officially partnered with the Big Sisters Association! We teach monthly workshops to girls ages 9-13 years old with their “Big Sisters” from the program. These workshops focus on topics such as girl power and positive body image, and incorporate movement and choreography to express these concepts. The partnership has been tremendously beneficial for both parties, and we are excited to donate a proceed of our ticket sales from our August 2018 production, “Enough”, to this organization.