Nicole Harris: Collaboration can be rewarding and difficult. What is one great moment and one challenge you’ve faced during this process?
Erica Nelson: I loved seeing our dancers, who have never met or danced together before this project, move together as one. It was great to see their interactions, and who danced well or similar to each other. Composing the music was difficult because we composed it as the rehearsal process was happening. I usually prefer to work with music set beforehand so we can have a clear plan and pathway for the choreography inspired by the music, but for this project the dance happened first and the music followed which was a challenge for me.
N: The End Ensemble’s goal is to “challenge audiences to face new concepts, dark themes and the outright bizarre.” Can you talk about what that means to you and why you wanted that to be your company’s focus? What’s a specific example of the outright bizarre that you’ve come across so far?
EN: We mainly want to challenge our audiences to be more active in their experience of dance. We want to be unpredictable, and force them to think deeply about the art presented to them, both during and long after the performance. We never want them to settle! As far as the outright bizarre, we also like to mess with our audience sometimes! In some pieces we have presented humor aspects or just general creepy/distorted movement and concepts that are very unusual for the audience to experience.
N: The End Ensemble is based in CT. How did you wind up in Malden for this project?
EN: I am originally from the Boston area. I grew up here and returned here after college. I danced with a few companies in Boston and became familiar with the dance scene here before I moved to Hartford. Over the years I have stayed connected to the area, which has always been supportive of my company. We try to return to Boston to do a show at least once a year and visit our hometown!
N: Where else can we find you this Spring/Summer?
EN: The END Ensemble will be presenting work throughout the spring as the resident dance company at Central Connecticut State University. This summer, we will be in New York City at Dixon Place to present a split-bill upcoming choreographers showcase titled ‘8 in Show’ on June 26th. We will also be presenting work and workshops throughout the summer in Hartford as part of ‘Art on the Streets’, a Hartford Arts Council campaign to invigorate the downtown public arts community.
N: What other local companies/ choreographers do you recommend people check out? Why?
EN: Check out Contemporarily Out of Order! Another Boston-based female-run company that I danced with for a year, CooCO (artistic director Wendy Bryne) always puts together strong shows that connect her students, apprentices, and professional dancers to the Boston dance community and incorporate all styles of dance.