By Nicole Harris
N: You have done many virtual performances in the last year, between 24hr ChoreoFest and OnStage’s most recent season. What are the joys you are finding in this format that you wouldn’t get in live performance?
AF: For 24 hour ChoreoFest, I found joy in creating a duet that could never be performed in a conventional theater. In this duet, I was projected onto a screen in the room where my collaborator was dancing in, allowing us to look like we were in the same place, while we were miles away. The duet that I created was inspired by the ending of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, a story that I wouldn’t have been able to approach if not for the virtual format.
For OnStage’s Season 19, it was inspiring to be able to dance in nature at the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, MA. While it took a couple of rehearsals to learn how to dance on grass, I have never performed in a more beautiful space than that!
N: This year’s NACHMO is different than anything we’ve done in the past, with all events entirely virtual. How will you change your process to deal with the obstacles 2021 brings us? What is the first thing you did at the start of the month?
AF: My goal for NACHMO is to embrace the fact that we are all dancing in our homes. Because of that, I started this month with playing around with dancing on my bed and other places of my house. It took a little bit of time to understand how to work in a narrow hallway or a bouncy bed, but these experiences certainly opened up the movement vocabulary of my piece.
N: Who are your mentors? What makes those relationships special to you? What are you doing to pay forward the gifts they have given you?
AF: Larissa Ursprung is my constant sounding board and mentor. She’s usually the first person I run my dance ideas by and sometimes, like for 24 hour ChoreoFest, I get to collaborate with her!
Being a member of OnStage has also provided a community of dancers who mentor each other. The OnStage choreographers often provide feedback and help each other think through their pieces.
N: It is important to us that we continue to lift up other artists in our community. Who are some of your favorite Boston area choreographers? Why?
AF: Wendy O’Byrne of Contemporarily Out of Order is among my favorite Boston area choreographers. I find her way of incorporating a story into her choreography compelling.
Natalia Maldari is another one of my favorite Boston area choreographers. I appreciate how she juxtaposes traditional ballet vocabulary with novel movement.