We are so excited to share the first interview with one of the 2016 ChoreoFest choreographers! Gracie Novikoff and Natalie Schiera are the co-directors of Nozama Dance Collective. They took a moment out of their preparations for a show in mid August to talk to Nicole about who they are and their thoughts on ChoreoFest!
Interested in learning more about ChoreoFest or purchasing your tickets? Visit LuminariumDance.org!
ND: To begin a new work, we take the concept and the piece of music and ask ourselves how those two make us want to move. We improvise to the music and picture ourselves in the time and place the concept lends itself to, and we build choreography based on the improvisations. Each new piece is a new world. We think about how choreography would naturally fit in this world, and who the dancers are portraying in this world. At times the dancers are humans, and in other worlds they are not. We think about if and how the dancers would interact, and if it makes sense for the dancers to be aware of one another's existence. When all of the elements come together into a cohesive world, we have a piece we are excited about.
ND: In college, Natalie and Gracie were dancers and choreographers with Dance Theatre Group, a contemporary company directed by Micki Taylor Pinney. In choreographing new works for Dance Theatre Group, Micki along with other faculty would give constructive feedback throughout the creative process. We were encouraged to think through the aesthetics of the piece, as well as how the choreography fit and how we could push the movement to be bigger and bolder. We greatly appreciate Micki's assistance during those years, and since the creation of Nozama Dance Collective in 2013, we have asked Micki for her guidance. Natalie and Gracie were the Choreographers in Residence at Green Street Studios in January-February 2015, and during those months we asked Micki to assist us with the creation of our two solos, "Vortex" and "Nightmare". We were encouraged to take a concept and create not just one, but multiple worlds in which that concept could live. We improvised movement, and then built variations of those movements. As a result, we have successfully created four pieces based on the movement created during those residencies. We are ever in debt to Micki's expertise, and we continue to seek her guidance.
ND: Whenever we are lucky enough to have a mentor assist with our work, we ask whether or not the movement that we are presenting makes sense with the concept, the music, and the world in general. We want everything to be cohesive and make sense. We don't necessarily want to direct the audience to an exact emotion or an exact instance in time, but we want to create a world that the audience can relate to that can be easily followed. We want to take the audience on a journey that they will enjoy and be excited about. We also ask our mentors, "have you seen work like this already?", because we are consistently striving to create new choreographic experiences.
N: Who are some of your favorite choreographers? If you could pick any choreographer from any time to set a piece on you, who would it be and why?
ND: We are both currently obsessed with the work of Jaci Royal, the director and choreographer of Royal Flux based in Los Angeles. Her movement is raw, athletic, bold, daring, and exciting. Her larger group pieces are captivating, and the stage pictures that she creates are incredible. As we create works that portray women empowering one another, choreography like Jaci Royal's is inspiring. We would be honored to have Jaci Royal set a piece on us!!
N: What other events do you have coming up?
ND: We have our first full-length production, "Pushing Past Impulse" at Green Street Studios on Friday, August 19th at 8pm. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students/children. We are thrilled to produce our best works since our inception! Here is the Eventbrite link for tickets, and our post in the Boston Calendar.
N: Where can people learn more about you and your work?
ND: Here are our Facebook page, website, and Twitter page. Check out what we are all about!