All images by Olivia Moon Photography
by Nicole Harris
Here's another interview with the wonderful Lacey Sasso! On Saturday go see her and her company at Empower One Another on Saturday at 4pm to catch a Skort (post show conversation) with ME! Then join us at the Dance Complex to see An Animated Addition of the Dictionary of Negative Space at 8pm!
Nicole Harris: Collaboration can be rewarding and difficult. What is one great moment and one challenge you’ve faced during this process?
Lacey Sasso: As a unit, we decided to fully collaborate, meaning that every dancer has contributed movement, ideas, choices, etc. This decision greatly shaped our creative process by opening the door for everyone to have a voice. At times, we almost had too many ideas; this is where we had to step back as a group and really discuss what should come next, what made sense, and what might be an idea for later. The most difficult part of the process was scheduling. As artists, we all have multiple jobs and creative projects, so simply getting our bodies in the space at the same time was a large hurdle.
N: In addition to running a company you have a Masters in Counseling Psychology and Expressive Arts Therapy. How does your work in those fields impact your work as a choreographer?
LS: As time moves on, the work I do both as a therapist and an artist blend more deeply together. Some of my choreographic work tackles specific psychological ideas such as the theory of attachment, which is explored in our work, Deeply Rooted. Some of the repertoire is inspired by the themes, movements, and diagnoses that I work with on a daily basis. For example, the company is currently working on a piece entitled Entwined Days which will debut on May 10 and 11 at the Dance Complex. This piece is a visceral and emotional response from my work with clients who have experienced trauma, or who deal daily with intense anxiety and life altering depression. The movement is a method of processing my therapeutic work while also trying to honor the stories in which I am entrusted to keep safe as a therapist.
N: You used to dance with Undertoe Dance Project in New York City. My understanding from when I’ve seen their work is that they are a combination of jazz/contemporary and tap dancers. Are you also a tap dancer? If so, does tap dance ever appear in Sasso & Co? How does working rhythmically impact your current choreography?
LS: Yes, I am a tap dancer! I performed as both a tap and jazz dancer in my first season with Undertoe Dance Project, then focused specifically on jazz for the remainder of my tenure with the company. There currently is no Sasso & Company repertoire where tap is featured, however I am always open to collaborating across genres. Rhythm plays a large role in my movement and teaching style. I often find myself teaching movement with sounds or specific attention to parts of the music, rather than focusing on counts. I love syncopation and greatly enjoy finding ways in which movement can both support and oppose music.
N: Where else can we find you this Spring/Summer?
LS: Sasso & Company has a fun and exciting performance schedule this Spring! Our spring season culminates with our full evening length performances of Days Gone By at the Dance Complex on Friday, May 10th and Saturday, May 11!! We will be debuting new work as well as performing some of our favorite pieces of repertoire. You can also catch us at goodTHANGpassing on Friday, April 19 at 2:30 pm in Somerville, and we are performing at the Providence Movement Festival on Thursday, April 25 and Saturday, April 27th at AS220 in Providence, RI.
N: What other local companies/ choreographers do you recommend people check out? Why?
LS: Lynn Frederiksen and Paul Kafka-Gibbons also known as Lynn and Paul Dance - they create work that has a classical modern base, but often has a humorous element involved. I love humor in dance and find it incredibly hard to create.
Colleen Roddy - creates innovative partnering mixed with athletic framework. She's always pushing the bounds of movement and never afraid to try something new.
Erin McNulty -- she has a gift for combining technical elements with gesture and creating a dynamic is both bold and smooth all at once; it's beautiful.
by Nicole Harris
I love when we get to interview people more than once! It has been a lot of years since we last talked to Lacey Sasso and many amazing things have happened! She's here to tell us about herself and her work with NACHMO Boston this year! Learn more about her here!
To learn more about NACHMO Boston you can find them on Facebook and Instagram! You can also support this year's NACHMO Boston programming here!
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!
N: We interviewed you way back in 2013 when you were part of Against the Odds. (Read that interview here!) It’s great to talk with you again! So much has happened in the last five years! In 2014 you started your own company. How did that come about?
N: In 2013 you were splitting your time between Boston and New York. Are you working in both cities?
L: Following that period of time, I moved to London and spent the last two years teaching and performing overseas. It was a brilliant opportunity to see how dancers in other nations train, to work with a diverse student population, and to perform in some incredibly creative work. Since moving back to Boston this fall, I have refocused on how I can be a part of and engage in the local dance community. We have so many wonderful programs and opportunities here in the city! I do still have connections in New York and am hoping to collaborate with a few of my artist friends to create work together soon. Currently, I am looking at performance opportunities in both cities, however, I consider myself to be Boston-based now and am so excited to be participating in NACHMO and producing on a new shared show, Deeply Rooted which is being presented in February.
N: What are you most excited about for this year’s National Choreography Month?
L: NACHMO has a wonderful way of kicking my winter blues away. Even today, I was trying to plan rehearsal and feeling rather uninspired, then I got on instagram and was instantly excited by the phrases other participants are coming up with. One of my favorite things about NACHMO is that the prompts continuously challenge me to move in ways that I ordinarily would not. I also love how the whole dance community comes together to share in this creative challenge. The work that is produced is exciting, innovative, and inspiring.
N: How long do you usually take to create work?
L: Completely depends on the piece. Some pieces come out in 4 hours and others take 4 months. For me, it can depend on how clear my vision is for the work. I love that NACHMO inspires me to focus and get a clear vision in a short amount of time. It can be so refreshing to see a finished product after such an intense period of creativity.
N: Who are some of your favorite choreographers?
L: Trisha Brown, Jose Limon, Michelle Dorrance, Akram Khan, Hofesh Shechter, Tracie Stanfield, Melody Squire…. I could go on and on!