One of my favorite things about my job is that amazing people like Gracie (Nozama) and Jen (OnStage) reach out to me when they have exciting projects like Empower One Another and ask me to interview the artists and host their post show conversations!
Get your tickets to see six female run dance companies/choreographers on April 13th. You can catch the matinee, check out the Spork (post show conversation) with yours truly and then head over to the Dance Complex just in time to see karen Krolak's I-ARE Residency Showcase in the evening! It's a perfect day of dance! But first, check out this fabulous interview with Gracie Novikoff about Nozama's role in this show and her experiences in collaboration! (More show at ticket info at the bottom of this post!)
Nicole Harris: Collaboration can be rewarding and difficult. What is one great moment and one challenge you’ve faced during this process?
Gracie Novikoff: When Jen (of OnStage Dance Company) and I were coming up with the concept for “Empower One Another”, we were primarily driven by the idea of bringing Boston dance companies and independent choreographers together. We wanted to not only promote collaboration, but support for one another and to build a network in which directors can share the highs and lows of managing a company in Boston. With that, the overwhelming reward of “Empower One Another” has been to see six companies share their visions, talents, and experiences to work together and create beautiful new art. I am also thrilled to see the companies creating works under the themes of female empowerment, as this is what drives my company Nozama Dance Collective’s entire mission. At the same time, working with others can be tricky when you all have strong, powerful ideas that are worthy of being shared. With our partner company, Kaleidoscope Dance Company, they are also directed by not one but two incredible women. Along with my co-director Natalie, that makes four collaborative partners with bold ideas. Finding space and time for all four of us to be heard in this process has been tricky, especially when even the co-directors disagree with one another! But overall, that challenge has made me even more proud of this process.
N: In addition to collaborating in the studio you have been collaborating with OnStage on this entire project. What is something you’ve learned through this experience?
GN: Working with Jen from OnStage Dance has been a gift. She is not only an experienced instructor and choreographer, but studio owner. She also single-handedly runs a 60 person company, which is a phenomenal feat. Jen juggles all of her tasks and jobs so seamlessly, and I have learned an incredible amount from her. She has taught me about prioritization, time management, and how to push beyond one’s limits. Our partnership materialized into “Empower One Another”, which is such a dream and accomplishment to me. I cannot wait to see what else our partnership creates!
N: Where did the idea for this concert come from?
GN: Unfortunately in the Boston dance community, there is not nearly as much support between companies as we would like to see. Companies do not often attend one another’s shows, or take one another’s classes. Companies are insular, and do not often collaborate or help one another with things such as fundraising or networking. Jen and I wanted to tackle that, and bring companies together to collaborate and share one another’s gifts and creative visions. At the same time, we wanted to help form a network between Boston dance company directors and choreographers. Managing a company is hard work, and doing it without any support is nearly impossible! Having the six company directors meet for a Round Table Discussion about how we all tackle the challenges of managing companies was a massive priority for Jen and I. The “Empower One Another” performance is the exciting culmination of this collaboration, but we know that the partnerships will last beyond the show as directors continue to lean on one another for support.
N: Where else can we find you this Spring/Summer?
GN: Nozama Dance Collective has a lot of exciting things coming up! We are launching our Spring Company Class Series, in which we will teach master classes at Green Street Studios on 3/18, 4/19, 5/6, and 5/20. Additionally, we have our annual concert “Uplift” at Green Street Studios on August 9th and 10th. We are also looking forward to performing in a few festivals and concerts around Boston, so keep an eye out for us!
N: What other local companies or choreographers do you recommend people check out? Why?
GN: SO many! It is so hard to pick just a handful. The Boston dance community is filled with incredible talent, visions, and creativity. Personally, I am drawn to choreographers who tell poignant, empowering stories about the female experience through their work. Putting the other artists of “Empower One Another” aside, I am forever drawn to Colleen Roddy’s choreography. I am also inspired by the work of Luminarium Dance, particularly because that is another company managed by two incredible women who collaborate together so well. But honestly, if you have a free night, just check out the Dance Complex or Green Street Studios and check out whatever is happening! There is no bad dance experience out there. Support other artists! They will support you back!