I am currently in my third season with the Dancing Wheels Company, and this season has been pretty incredible in terms of the performances and touring opportunities that I have been granted. It is still a little hard to believe that the dance world has returned to some bit of normalcy. Since the first of the shut downs in March 2020, I hoped and could only imagine that a little over a year later I would be able to tour nationally and internationally with my dance company. Performing looks a little different, and I know from the administration-side in my role as the company’s Tour Manager that we are still working in a volatile period – but it is amazing how adaptable and resilient the dance world and dance artists are.
Here’s a recap of my third season so far, and there’s still more to come that I’m looking forward to!
August 6 – Performed in the premiere of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Cain Park in Cleveland, OH as Helena
August 17 – Danced with the Statue of Liberty as my backdrop in the Battery Dance Festival in New York, NY
September 11 – Toured to Cincinnati, OH
September 25 – Presented at the Forward Motion Festival in Miami, FL
October 2 – Drove to perform at the Abilities Expo NY Metro
October 21 – Toured to Old Dominion University
November 6 – Toured to Point Park University
November 24 – Presented at the Festival Internacional de Arte Contemperáneo in León, Mexico
Since October 2020, I have been working with my dear friend, Morgan Walker, in her newest choreographic project “inside Outsider” as a dancer and collaborator. “inside Outsider” is a work that is inspired by the complexities of mental health impacts due to sheltering in place, social distancing, and isolation. Despite the pandemic, this project has toured to multiple virtual festivals – Mark DeGarmo Virtual International Arts Festival (VIA), Trifecta Dance Festival, and the 2021 CDCFest. I am incredibly proud of Morgan and so gracious to her for including me in this work. I am excited to see the future iterations of this piece and its continuation!
Rehearsal shots by Liz Cooper (@theballetexperiment)
Performance shots from CDCfest by Sorcha Augustine
After my tour to Beijing, China with the Dancing Wheels Company in October, I was given the opportunity to create a work for the company to be premiered at moCa Cleveland in “East Meets West… A Tale of Two Cities”. All commissioned works for this production were created from experiences throughout the tour and from taking inspiration from Beijing-based artist Liu Wei’s exhibit “Invisible Cities” .
Specifically, my piece titled “Imposter!” is a solo work inspired by the exploration of those questions without answers…
On May 5, 2019, I graduated Summa Cum Laude from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and dual minors in Nonprofit Management and Society and Environmental Issues!
I am so grateful for these past 4 years of that have been full of learning, dancing, friendships, and memories; and I am so glad that I chose to spend these past 4 years as a Buckeye. After my first visit of OSU in 2015, I knew that this school was exactly where I wanted to be.
Now looking towards the future, I hope to continue dancing and also exploring my other passions of arts and the community. I will be taking this summer to solidify my path and make some decisions around dancing for the future. But in the meantime, I will be sticking in Columbus through May and continuing to dance with Hixon Dance. And in June, I will be headed to Chicago to work with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago for their summer intensive program.
My senior research project, titled what the horizon looks like at 4:48 pm, was a choreographed solo that was presented during the Ohio State University (OSU) Dance Senior Concert. This piece served as an investigation into my self-identity, my relationship with the environment, and how both of those parts influenced my artistic voice. Finding a way to combine my studies in dance and environmental science is something that I have been seeking to explore since my first year attending OSU. I originally started as a dual major in both of those disciplines, and I have always disliked the fact that the fields felt so separate. Through this project, I sought to find the intersection of the two seemingly-separate fields by investigating how choreography can be used as a tool to express science-based concepts in a more personal or human way.
The process of composing this relational study was a stark contrast to that of the autobiographical study. This study was a dialogue between two – a duet with the subject being the relationship.
The appearance of two bodies in the space.
Relationship and response.
For this study, I worked with Jackie Bordjadze, who is shares many similarities with me in terms of movement quality, tendencies, and thought processes. Because of these similarities, I believe that the development of our thoughts naturally built off of prepositions that exhibited mimicry and similarity.
With, like, because of…
Our study was filled with commas and ellipses as much of our movement stemmed from one phrase. Each of us started with one phrase to which we inserted and superimposed more movement to create something more complex. Much of our work came from the reiteration of these phrases with changes in orientation, level, speed, etc.
I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, and what I remember the most is the physical environment. It is a beautiful place encircled by mountains with blue skies and red rocks. Though I was young and Las Vegas mostly lives in my memory, I still remember the richness of the land. I feel that my love for nature and the environment grew from being surrounded by and living in such a beautiful physical environment. Growing up, I remember playing in the dirt in my grandmother’s backyard for hours and loved learning about the plants and wildlife native to the valley. Trips to the nature center or one of the many state park were very memorable events for me. My value of the environment came out of the physical space that I was in, and this value still shapes who I am today. My favorite places always seem to be related to nature. I see myself outside, surrounding by the sky and the surrounding environment. I believe that this place attachment forms a large part of my identity and gives reason to why my Autobiography study is centered around those memories.
For my Artistic and Creative Endeavor STEP Signature Project, I attended the 2018 International Associations of Blacks in Dance (IABD) Conference in Los Angeles, California. At this conference, I took various workshop classes with companies and artists I admire, I increased my technical skill and artistry by learning renowned artists, I forged connections with artists in the black dance community, and I researched and auditioned for companies that I am interested in dancing for.
One thing that I have always struggled with the complexity of my identity. As a biracial female, for much of my life I have wondered about my own blackness and my fit into the black dance community. Being able to attend a conference that celebrated an enforced my identity as a black artist was transformational. I felt encouraged to engage and share; create and absorb; and most importantly, to enjoy being black. This project has also given me insight to my future career as a performer. I was able to see options that I have – companies and artists that I would love to work with and who are looking to work with me. My view of myself and of my future has definitely transformed through my STEP Signature Project, and I feel inspired to see where dance takes me in the coming years. Continue reading Artistic and Creative Endeavor STEP Signature Project
The intermedia jam was an end to a culmination of history learned and acquired in this class. Entering the space, I was transported to a place that brought together our favorite elements of the course with artifacts and memories that were significant to our learning. These memories were brought into the space with audio clips our class had recorded, photos that our class had taken, and showings of our work and others’ through viewings. All of this added to the physicalization of the word “intermedia” and what it means to me.
To me, intermedia is a way of portraying of the world. I feel that the importance of inclusivity to intermedia, and the importance of identities is something that is salient to what I have learned throughout this class. Intermedia is not only a reflection but a form of communication.
In making my final study, I have realized how much I have grown as a choreographer and dancer in this class. I found that I have learned so many techniques for generating and using movement material. All the lessons I have learned have found their way into the process of my final compositional study. I see my final study as a culmination of all the topics, discussions, and viewings of this course.