by Nicole Harris
Nicole Harris: What will you be doing for Uplift?
Hannah Ranco: For Uplift I will be doing a contemporary solo, Soft Season (although I like to call it a duet as I am using a chair as a prop, the chair being just as important as me). The choreography was done at my school (Dean College) and I performed it for the first time this past Spring at Kelley Donovan & Dancers Third Life Choreographers Series. The music I will be using is #3 by Aphex Twin.
N: You are interested in creating work that layers many simple gestures to communicate a complex idea. Can you talk about specific examples of how that manifests itself in your work?
HR: In this dance specifically, I use many humanistic gestures which prove to be vital in communicating with the chair. These gestures apart are what we would use in everyday life, but together creates a clear conversation with the chair. Being frustrated with the chair but also showing kindness towards the chair. I also enjoy taking simple gestures or movements (head nod, a wave, etc.) and manipulating them into something more abstract.
N: Who are your mentors past and present?
HR: My mentor Ali Brodsky was my professor during both my freshman and sophomore year at Dean College. She taught many different classes that all transformed the way I think of dance. Freshman year was pilates, which allowed me to understand my own body. My restrictions and natural movement pathways. It also gave me a better awareness of the human body in general and the way it works. Sophomore year she taught my contemporary and composition class. My contemporary class taught me how to effectively move through space and allow myself to take up space. My comp class was probably the most transformative. She taught me the basic choreographic tools needed to create a piece. She also questioned my perviously held beliefs about what dance is, as well as introduced me to many pioneers in the field of dance that I hadn’t heard of before. Apart from me connecting with her personal aesthetic and movement, I really respected how honest she was with me and the other students. She wasn’t afraid to critique us but still did it in a way that was helpful rather than harmful. I grew the most from her classes.
N: Aside from the amazing people in this festival who are some of your favorite local choreographers?
HR: Ashlee Rapoza is a friend from my school who graduated this year. She is an artist who I really look up to and admire because her art is so uniquely her. Her work screams Ashlee but she still manages to always find something new, a task I aspire to do in my own work. Apart from her dancing, she is also a very accepting and kind human, and I think that translates into her teaching, choreographing, and dancing. You can learn more about Ashlee and her work by following her instagram: @ashrapoza