Come see Ruth’s work on Friday, March 3rd at the Foundry, 101 Rogers St, Cambridge, MA! Tickets are pay what you can. Reserve yours here today!
Nicole Harris: You are a NACHMO pro by now. Do you have any advice for newcomers or those who have been nervous to take the NACHMO challenge?
Ruth Benson Levin: I would say to any newcomer, just relax and enjoy it! It’s the most supportive, low pressure artistic endeavor you could ever do. And it’s a good place to try something you’ve always wanted to try. Plus, if you choose to perform, you get an audience provided for you, which as a choreographer is a wonderful gift.
N: For most of your past NACHMO experiences you worked with your longtime collaborator, Lynn Modell. Due to her schedule she won’t be with you this year. (We will miss you, Lynn!) Can you talk a bit about what you will be doing this year?
RBL: I am creating a solo for a a dancer named Amy Caine. We’ve gotten to know each other as we both dance for Lynn Modell. Amy was also in one of my pieces for across the ages several years ago. Amy has chosen the theme for the dance and we are going to work together on the movement.
N: You made a joke during your conversational application about working with a younger dancer and the things that your body no longer does. As more and more of the dance world is moving away from the idea that all dancers must be young, skinny, and bendy, what advice do you have for choreographers working with artists whose bodies have different abilities than their own? What are some of the tools you are using to communicate what your vision is besides demonstration? How are you creating in a way that leaves room for translation and interpretation by different bodies?
RBL: Amy told me she likes to “fly high and fly low”. Meaning, she likes to roll around on the floor and leap in the air. I can do neither of these things anymore. But I am determined to try to come up with movement that will be satisfying for her. I’ve asked her to create some movement motifs based on words that describe our theme. I like choreographing when I get to start with somebody else is movement rather than my own.