We are incredibly excited to announce that Aisha Cruse is going to be representing Monkeyhouse at ChoreoFest this year. It's been wonderful to watch Aisha grow as a choreographer over the last few years and we are glad we are able to give her the opportunity to create something new during one of our favorite festivals.
ChoreoFest takes place Friday/Saturday September 9/10! Get more information and your tickets to this year's ChoreoFest concerts here!
AC: I'm always pretty anxious about setting my work on other people. When I'm the one performing, when I'm inside my own work, I'm not nearly as self concious about how the movement and ideas read. When I'm putting on the director's hat, I get so much more critical of my ideas. I'm definitely nervous that I'll trip myself up.
N: What's your favorite memory of a previous ChoreoFest?
AC: Oh my gosh that moment when the yarn ball hit Sam in the head during dress rehearsal my first year. It was too perfect. There was no way to reproduce it, so we sort of accepted it as a one time perfect moment.
N: ChoreoFest is a controlled situation to create work in in terms of time and topic. What the first thing you hope to do once you get your dancers in the studio?
AC: Get comfortable. Really though, I'm going to be focusing on getting everyone comfortable with each other and with me. The parameters of the festival make it so that the more comfortable we are and the more trust we have in each other, the faster we can get things done.
N: You will be working with dancers from Endicott College's Dance Program. How did your relationship with them begin? How are you feeling about potentially working with dancers you've never met before?
AC: I first got to work with some Endicott students earlier this year when Karen asked me to work on the exquisite corpse piece. The group I worked with will probably have some overlap with the group at Choreofest, and this is why getting everyone warm and relaxed and comfortable is so important and so challenging. We won't all know eachother, and building a rapport before we start building a dance will probably make things a lot smoother.
AC: Karen has given me constant feedback in the time we've been working together, but coming off the Pilobolus workshop I think the thing I'm going to ask the most is "What do you see?" In the past I've been very precious with my work, and I'm hoping Pilobolus has broken me of the habit. I want to ask about the moments that stand out and and build on them, and it will be interesting to see whether what I think is interesting and what Karen thinks is interesting matches up or diverges.
N: If you could pick any performer from any time to set a piece on who would it be and why?
AC: I'm reinterpreting this question because what I actually want is for Martha Graham to set a piece on Pilobolus (any iteration, really, they're all pretty spectacular). Her dancing has such an intensely sculptural element; even though they're vastly different schools I feel like they would have made amazing choreography together. So I guess I'm saying I want to set a piece on Pilobolus, but as Martha Graham. #lifegoals
N: Who are your mentors?
AC: Karen Krolak and Nicole Harris have been such driving forces in my life, I don't think I would ever have done ChoreoFest as a choreographer if they hadn't asked. To be fair, Karen and Nicole are less "you can do this" coaches than "can you do this by friday" coaches. They know you can do it, or they wouldn't ask.
N: What's something that you feel you learned from them that you want to pass on to people you mentor?
AC: Perfection is boring. If your choices are perfect or unique, pick unique. There are no mistakes. They're usually the best part of a dance.
N: Where can people learn more about you and your work?
AC: Monkeyhouse can be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as well as here at MonkeyhouseLovesMe.com. I can be found on Instagram and Twitter as well as on my Dance Every Day YouTube channel!