Want to be part of National Choreography Month? Take the #MonkeyhouseNACHMOChallege. Every day we will be posting a new prompt on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Follow along on social media to get the prompts and see some incredible dances! Share your own videos (no previous choreographic experience required!) using the #MonkeyhouseNACHMOChallenge hashtag in order to be featured!
Finally, don't miss the NACHMO Boston Concerts at the Dance Complex on Friday, February 9th and Saturday, February 10th!
In addition to our own show, we participated in several festivals and performances. One of them was the Southern Vermont Dance Festival, which was our first performance opportunity outside of Massachusetts. We were proud to be featured in their Friday night gala and their Social Justice Walk. Finally, last year we formed a partnership with the Big Sisters Association! We are now in the middle of our second workshop series. These workshops invite girls, ages 9-13, to explore movement themes like positive body image and strong female friendships with the support of their Big Sisters. We are now a company of thirteen talented, powerful ladies, and we cannot wait to see what happens next!
N: The story of where you got your name is pretty amazing. Can you share it?
G: Of course! In 2012, Natalie Schiera and Gracie Novikoff were alumni choreographers for Dance Theatre Group at Boston University. They were lucky to create works with inspiring, empowered women, who weren’t afraid to convey stories through athletic, raw, grounded movement. After graduating, they wanted to bring this movement quality and message to the Boston dance community by creating their own company, but without what to name it. They researched synonyms for “empowered” or “strong” woman, but they found many had a negative connotation. One that stood out was Amazonian, which they decided to quite literally “flip the term on its head” - with that, ‘Nozama’ was born.
N: It is very clear in reading about your company that powerful women are important to you. How have events in the last year like the Women’s March and #metoo impacted the work you make?
G: The political climate of 2017 refined and redefined our message as a company. We have always been a collective of women, about women, who aim to create a safe space for women to share their stories. In 2017, this became even more important as our liberties as women felt threatened. At the same time, we were beyond excited and empowered by the Women’s March, the #metoo campaign, and other initiatives where female voices were heard. This is the time to stand up and speak out, and confidently share those raw and powerful stories that make us vulnerable, but strengthen and empower us in the process. In 2017, our choreography shifted to highlight our reaction to what was happening in the world around us. In particular, our piece “Bodies and Choices” (2017), represented female empowerment in this tumultuous time. Our dances in this 2018 season will continue to portray empowered, emotional, badass women who are coming into their own and ready to speak out in a time where others may not want us to. Our pieces will include a great deal of partnering, as we believe now, more than ever, women must empower one another in times of struggle, and celebrate one another in times of triumph. We are stronger and more powerful as a collective.
N: What advice do you have for emerging choreographers?
G: Experiment! Don’t be afraid to say whatever it is you want to say through dance - more likely than not, someone else is feeling the same way, but cannot figure out how to express it. If you have a concept in mind, try coming up with short phrases that convey the theme. Or try throwing on some music that evokes that specific emotion and see how your body moves to it. More often than not, our dances begin with a rough concept and a piece of music that we love. The music inspires the movement and often influences and refines the concept. We also always recommend that emerging choreographers find a mentor or established choreographer in the area to help get his or her feet off the ground. It is inspiring to work alongside other artists, and we have been so lucky to create some wonderful projects with other companies and choreographers in the area