A R T I S T
S T A T E M E N T
I am a dancer, choreographer, artist, and filmmaker.
Whether I’m working on a live performance or choreographing for film, I use movement as a means to create a sense of community and connection. This co-exists between audience and performer, participants and spectators. My work is meant to evoke reflection on the universality of human experience.
I am very interested in using dance as a form of communal therapy by illustrating novel perspectives on issues that emphasize the shared or common nature of timely social issues.
Movement, for me, is inseparable from storytelling, and I've been drawn to storytelling my entire life. I believe that it is the capacity of movement to convey meaning that makes good dance so compelling. Because my work focuses on this relationship, I consider myself a visual storyteller. In dance, I endeavor to create a series of meaningful images or moments, which then can then take on new or more complex meanings through their juxtaposition.
In my practice, each movement has meaning, and by using this approach it allows me to move with texture and communicate ideas that cannot be expressed adequately or with full freedom in verbal language. This is where I believe the therapeutic potential in dance lies. As humans, we have emotional responses to our problems and struggles, and we experience emotions like rage, fear, love, and terror with our physical bodies. There is so much about our emotional experience that simply can’t be captured in words, and dance offers us a physical language for expressing ideas about these experiences. I believe we can enter an empowering place by identifying these emotional experiences through movement.
When I choreograph, I like to focus on creating the most intimate connection between the dancers and the movement possible. In order to accomplish this, I draw from a variety of dance traditions, including Modern, contemporary, ballet, jazz, and African dance. I also draw upon the dancer as they relate to the movement, so I choreograph with that in mind. Each dancer I work with has a unique relationship to movement and his or her body, and I strive to explore these relationships by drawing on the strengths and talents of each individual dancer. I too rely on collaboration as a key element with a selection of the pieces I create, as I believe that produces a more grounded, organic and personal connection to the work.
The use of film in my practice is important, as I’m often inspired by images, scenes, or scenarios. Film to me, augments the communicative possibilities of dance. Through the use of angles, filters, focus, and creating a cinematic world I feel I can contextualize or re-contextualize movements in a way that allows for a greater emphasis on expression of meaning. Film allows me to shift the focus of a piece to the nuance and sensuous particularity of simple movements, which can be very emotionally poignant if we allow ourselves to pay attention to them. With film, I can utilize different forms of media in order to create a more multi-dimensional experience that can be tailored to specific audiences.
Connection, community, storytelling, exploration, intimacy and community continue to be fueling values for my movement journey. I hope to continue to create and grow in my practice as I keep creating work.
photos by Samantha Ruby