Choreographer and Director of Multi-disciplinary Performance Installations
I am a dance artist living in Kansas City. For years, I felt like I was missing out on something — New York, LA, Philadelphia, a scene. Now I fully recognize the value of living here. No longer am I just “making do”, but I am making art, because I am here in Kansas City. Sometimes the lack of infrastructure, dancers, a venue, a community, makes me crazy, but the craziness also challenges me and drives my artistic process. Making work in Kansas City has been liberating; I am free to take risks that would be impossible anywhere else. There is no one here to hold me to a standard of excellence, so my two choices are complacency or deepening growth. This continually forces me to search within myself.
My personal movement style occupies a vacillating identity between highly technical dance and emotionally expressive physical theater. I construct dance based performance installations by combining my skills with those of actors, dancers, visual artists, lighting designers, vocalists and musicians to construct performances that are sensorially integrated and surpass anything I could create alone. Each work’s generative process, narrative, and final performance is inextricably linked to the inherent talents and personal histories of the collaborating artists.
At the outset of a project, there are no wrong choices. I foster an egalitarian process, where all collaborators engage in experimental play. As time passes, a unique vocabulary emerges, arrived at by the group’s collective experience. As the choreographer and director, I subject this language to a process of transposition, amplification or concentration, until a palpable emotional chord resonates. Each rehearsal hones the work closer to its true intention. Through steady observance, I unfurl the hidden narrative of the piece, and simultaneously reconstruct my own creative identity to accommodate its nature. An auspicious moment arrives in the middle of every project, when I realize that the work has assumed creative control and has begun “making me.” At this point I am convinced that the piece has the power to move the audience.
The resulting works have been staged in office buildings, on street corners, haunted house basements, parks, art galleries, and on occasion in theaters. I select locations that allow me to remap relationships between audience and performer through new forms: one-on-one dances, remote viewings (dancer on the street, viewer with binoculars from the sixth story of a building), or supplying the audience with disposable flash cameras to light, frame and document the performance.
At some point in early human history, someone, somewhere, was overcome by feelings that only movement can release — a bend of surrender to the earth, throwing arms and chest open to the sky in exaltation, or a flirtatious do-si-do around a prospective love. Our cells, muscles, bones and skin archive our life experiences. Dance can be this simple. I sidestep the corporeal structure of codified dance by unearthing our flesh memory, and together with the audience and performers, tell its story.