By Nicole Harris
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Nicole Harris: This is your first time doing NACHMO. (WELCOME!) What are you most nervous and most excited about the experience of creating work in a month?
Tess Liddy: I’m most excited to be creating with a group of dancers who I really love and respect! I’m also excited to have gotten permission from the artist of my song to use it; as it was my top most played song of 2022, it feels like a great way to start 2023.
I’m most nervous about creating a jazz piece in such a short time. I’ve created contemporary pieces in a crunch before but I’ve recently become much more interested in jazz dance and upbeat songs. I haven’t ever choreographed jazz so it’s a double challenge to choreograph jazz and to do it in a month!
N: You are relatively new to the Boston area. Where did you come from before here and what brought you to Boston?
TL: I grew up in Plymouth, MA dancing since I was 6 at Center Stage Dance Academy in Sagamore, MA. I went to undergrad in Madison, NJ at Drew University which is where I first choreographed! The pandemic closed everything during my senior year and I returned home to live with family on Cape Cod. After a year of working on Cape Cod, I was offered a job teaching for the Boston Public Schools and I made the move in July 2021! I now live and teach in Dorchester; I teach 7th/8th Grade Applied Behavior Analysis. Working for the public school system and moving a bit farther from home was what brought me to Boston but the dance community is what has kept me wanting to be here!
Can you talk a bit about your choreographic journey in the last year? When did you feel most successful? What are you looking for to keep your momentum going into 2023?
TL: I love this question because it is actually what my NACHMO work is about - the last year of my life in dance! The aMaSSiT program felt like a shot in the dark for me and when I was accepted, it introduced me to the large dance scene here in Boston; before that, I hadn’t choreographed since my senior year of college - spring 2020. I was able to continue my aMaSSiT piece, “In A Minute”, for the OnStage 360 show in July. From there, I took a break from “In A Minute” and began choreographing a piece entitled “Falling” which was a duet danced by Kaylee Mahan and Gwen McGovern - it was presented at the 2022 Dance for World Community Festival in September and I then adapted it again for the DanceWorks In Progress show through Metamorphosis Dance Company in December 2022. To keep my momentum going into 2023, I am looking to broaden the amount of dancers I work with. Coming to the Boston dance community was intimidating at first because of how well connected everyone felt and how little I knew; I’ve made some amazing friends along the past year and I’d like to continue building those relationships.
N: Monkeyhouse and NACHMO Boston believe that we wouldn’t be here without the support of our community. Who is one of your favorite local choreographers and why?
TL: At the OnStage 360 show, I was absolutely blown away by the dance “Rain in the Ravine”, choreographed by Pearl Young (IG: @pearlyoung21). While I haven’t had the opportunity to see any of Pearl’s work since, I would love to see more! It was a beautiful, dynamic performance with amazing synergy between the dancers.