Sam Mullen: You created a new piece, Ricochet, for the version of this show we did at OnStage Dance Company in July. This winter you restaged it with Nicole for our upcoming performance. What was that like?
Sarah Feinberg: Honestly, setting Ricochet on Nicole was easy. She participated in the musings that lead to building the piece and already knew portions of the choreography. We made a few minor adjustments to sections to make them work better for our partnership but other than that not much had to be changed. Both Elizabeth (who originally danced the piece) and Nicole move so fluidly that their natural movement aesthetics worked well for this piece. I’d love to see Ricochet danced by the two of them together. Maybe next time!
SM: In addition to dancing you can often be found upside down or up in the air at AcroStrong in Charlestown, MA. How are acro and and the partnering you do at Monkeyhouse different? How are they the same? Does being fluent in both impact the other?
SF: All the training and experience I have received in contact improvisation and partnering was definitely beneficial to learning partner acrobatics. I was no stranger to being picked up, picking people up and being upside down. Even more important and useful is my understanding of connection and weight sharing. Acro is much more structured than contact improvisation and there are clear roles (base, flyer, mid, spotter) that are agreed upon before starting a skill. When we improvise at Monkeyhouse we don’t necessarily make those decisions in advance. You have to be ready to play any combination of those roles at any time. Having strong connections and clear weight shifts make that possible. I like to improvise in acro when I have a willing partner. It’s fun trying to come up with creative transitions and new shapes. Acro continues to challenge my perception of what I am capable of. A few years ago I never would have believed I could do the skills I am doing now. Acro has definitely made me stronger, a little more fearless and expanded my knowledge of partnering. For me, dance and acro compliment each other nicely.