By Nicole Harris
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?
Carmen Rizzo: I’m most excited about creating something relatively quickly that I am proud of and that genuinely reflects my artistry. I’m also very excited to witness everyone else’s process and learn from the community. I guess with that comes some nervousness to deliver up to my own standards.
N: You talk about the importance of collaboration in your work. Will you be collaborating with anyone for NACHMO this year? How do you usually find collaborators? Do you have anyone in particular that you normally work with?
CR: My goal is to collaborate with a musician for NACHMO and potentially one or two more dancers. I am in communication with the composer I want to work with and ironing out details. I usually collaborate with artists I admire and know the quality of their work. Many times they are colleagues, friends, references or artists whose work I have already seen in some other setting. Most commonly I have some connection to the artist before the collaboration begins. With that being said, I don’t have anyone I always work with. I like diversifying my collaborators as a way of diversifying my work and to find authentic artistic connections to each work’s subject.
N: Your bio ends with the line “Carmen also typically engages in deep scientific research before conceptualizing dances.” Can you tell me more? How does science overlap with your work?
CR: I typically go down a research rabbit hole on a subject relating to psychology, neuroscience, anatomy, and general human biology linked to dance. The most recent deep dive, for example, was a comparison on how language, movement and dance are interpreted/processed in the human brain. I read multiple scientific papers and research studies on the innateness of movement and language as forms of communication, on the regions of the human brain that are responsible for producing language and the ones responsible for interpreting language, on how other animals communicate, and so much more. That research led to the creation of a work called “Lost in Translation”. I am very interested in all facets of the human body and appreciate all the scientific research there is available on different aspects of our bodies. Because of that and my more obvious appreciation for dance, I like to combine those and appreciate them even more. I like looking at something so “factual,”“real,” and many times “flat” like science with a dance perspective, with a creation process in mind. The opposite is also true, that I like looking at something so abstract, complex, filled with dimension like dance with a scientific perspective. It’s something that has always sparked my creativity and ignites my inspiration.
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?
CR: One of my favorite local choreographers is Victoria Awkward because not only is her choreography the kind that I could watch forever and never get bored but she is also an inspirational figure for me. I love how she is able to accomplish so much, maintain her honesty, be fair with her company’s dancers and collaborators (compensating them adequately, among other practices), support the community around her, and be such a welcoming person always. She truly has so many elements that I look up to and use as a guide for myself as I navigate the Boston dance scene as a young choreographer.
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