We interviewed you back in 2015 when you were part of 24Hr ChoreoFest. What sort of amazing things have happened in your life since then?
I am grateful ChoreoFest sparked the re-birth of Freedom Dances in the Northeast, following my return to Rhode Island from North Carolina. Since then, I have created many new works, co-produced a concert at AS220 with Heather Brown Dance in January 2016, produced “Verge” at the Providence Fringe Festival (FringePVD), and collaborated with composers Kirsten Volness, Dan VanHassel, and Verdant Vibes. Freedom Dances has also performed new work in a number of shared dance events including José Mateo’s Dance for World Community, AS220’s Dance Works in Process, The Dance Complex’s Friends and Faculty Showcase, Tiny and Short, Festival of Us, You, We and Them, and NACHMO 2017. In fall of 2016, as one of the guest choreographers for the Providence College Dance Company, I created “Silver Threads Among the Ashes”, inspired by the 15th anniversary of 9/11. I have joined the dance faculty at AS220 and am completing my 2nd year of the Boston Feldenkrais Training Program.
Freedom Dances’ mission is about creating works that explore individual, social, and cultural identities. This last year has been a doozy in dealing with those departments. How has the climate of the country impacted your work of late?
Last year’s NACHMO piece was very much a reflection of the results of the 2016 Presidential election, set to Kirsten Volness’ composition, “Complacency Will Kill You – (Contentment Is a Choice)”. There are so many incredulous and baffling things happening in our country and world recently, it is hard to grasp onto one strand before the next thing happens that leaves me with my mouth agape. There are a multitude of topics which infuriate me and pull on my heart strings promulgating a call to action. However, amidst the chaos, and changes in my personal life, I find myself logistically and emotionally much closer to my family. In troubling times, I find it important to remember that when push comes to shove, what is most important are the connections with those we love, those we can help in our day-to-day lives, and those who bolster us in times of need.
Who are some of your favorite choreographers?
Christopher Wheeldon, Alvin Ailey, Dwight Rhoden, George Balanchine
What changes in your process to build a piece in such a short time span (one month)? How long do you usually take to create work?
I find every process creates itself out of necessity of the parameters surrounding it. As dancemakers, we never have the luxury of time or money to pay for a lot of space, dancers, etc. so in that way, all processes are restricted by time. Of course, when in university, we are afforded free dancers and space, and a semester to make a piece or maybe two. In the past couple of years, most of my dances are created in less than 15 hours, unless the work is one of my longer multi-media productions. In that way, this process isn’t much different in total hours, but shorter in overall duration. We had our first rehearsal on January 15th! My dancers are great – they love dancing and being in the studio, so they are super generous, amazingly talented, and a joy to work with! We have been meeting twice a week, a total 4 hours per week, plus company class.