How would you describe your contemporary practice? N: "Using the information and tools given in the studied techniques in dance education and exploration (classicism in ballet and modern styles) and fusing it with the current fascinations in urban street styles as well as the ideas and trends manifested in the constant search for movement in choreography, I describe my work to highlight/emphasize the clarity of these classical forms whilst dissecting pre-existing ideas of body connectivity in order to foster perspective in movement invention. When introducing my work and the necessary tension to execute the movement, I make an effort to take time to investigate tools that challenge the dancers urgency in the peripheral view amongst a larger group, reminding them of the power of accessing the nervous system before movement is delivered as a response to the environment and what the eyes perceive. These tools execute the ideas of how 2 or more parts that coexist and supplement the overall image of the body - i.e. the relationship and angle of the arm and leg (the parallelisms and simultaneity of the those two or more parts of the body). We create invisible lines in space around the kinesphere with the dominant limb of the body. The kinespheric space, or the globe that surrounds the body, is dissected and we intentionally dismantle the obvious symmetries based on how the body reacts in push or pull of the leading limb. Also, there is emphasis on the resistance against space and gravity - allowing the necessary tension to exist in and out of the body in order to amplify the idea of thickness and volume when moving around in the space. When creating movement, I tend to be very clear with instructions and guides based on raw material that have been initially introduced and learned. Once the phrases are thoroughly executed, I give the dancers open ended rules to create their own material based on my movement vocabulary and the given tools in order to thread together other ideas that may not be apparent in my own body. space holds, weight transfer, points of connectivity, and weight carried by the body is a keen emphasis. A pendulum of energetic momentum that weaves in and around the body is what I look at when looking at the flow of sequenced movements, making sure that there is a clear yet unexpected movement path of the limbs whilst constantly changing textures of the choreography."
What is your intention when working with dancers?
N: "In general, when working with dancers, I strive to allow enough freedom in the working environment so that the dancers are able to find a connection to the movement and how it can make sense to their innate and instinctual given anatomy, before the work is entirely set in stone. There will always be movements that I may not necessarily be able to physically comprehend or deliver in my own skin, thus when giving these guidelines to certain dancers, they seem to enjoy being given time to analyze their own anatomical structure as I encourage them to meet me halfway in creating another layer of nuances in the raw materials.
I intend to make the working and creative process a collaborative experience rather than a dictatorship. I aspire to refresh my vocabulary based on the types of bodies and capabilities that the dancers possess and present - highlighting and reinforcing their strengths and exercising and manipulating their weaknesses. I attempt to understand the stream of consciousness of each individual dancer, whether it be their physical structure or their overall personality and emotional currencies, and I try to use it to my advantage only to showcase what is necessary and to project that honesty in spontaneous discovery in our dramatic works. On the other hand, I do still strongly encourage them to stay within bounds of the style and use and manipulate my "templates" to empower further individual identity. When working with dancers, I research the intended style and overall brand of the company/school/organization and do my utmost best to respect the background of training, introduce new methods of using those tools, whilst being proactive in making innovative stories/feelings and methods of movement. I intend to create work that makes the artist question and reason with when and why movements should exist and what propels bodies to enter and exit sacred space, the theatre."
How do you feel that your work is impacting the next generation of dancers?
N: "As I have been working with many pre-professionals (whether they intend to major or minor in dance via college, High School, conservatories, etc), I reason with myself and understand that each dancers' path into the professional realm of the world is entirely different. My path as a dancer studying about movement, technique, performance, and methods of seeking employment may differ from another colleague's path, who is within the same generation as I. I value the idea that specifically studying the elements of dance at an early age is inspired by the desire to move and groove freely without expectations or needs to be "perfect." I would rather preach the notion of "celebrating the human body" rather than manufacturing or producing professional dancers - I want to manifest the whole-hearted person first before dramatic technicians. Those who desire to lead and become professionals have a preliminary and personal responsibility to decide and dedicate oneself to the stage.
I recognize that the next generation of dancers are of course the ones who are responsible and capable of being our next leaders. As I am fairly in close proximity to most of the pre professionals I work with, I aspire to set an example of how one should represent themselves, respect those around you, and how to effectively transcend and express the value of our artform on and off stage. I remind them that they cannot regret what body they are given, but merely encouraging them to improve their skills, to calm down their nervous system, listen to the body, and encourage potential answers in whatever dreams they want to fulfill in their near or far futures. I feel that my work encourages younger dancers to make decisions quickly and logically for the betterment of the group and the creative process. I want them to question the functions of the world and their bodies and seek answers only to reflect profound meaning opposed to rebelling and exacerbating the environment. I feel that there are a lot of young artists who contain their emotions and put out a facade that they are "flawless" and "perfect," thus I want to remind them that each step or each process is personal and it is accepted to spill out the flaws and polish what is necessary. I do, of course, want the dancers to perform and deliver choreography to their best potential, therefore I am fully aware and always take full responsibility to demonstrate my passion to the art form. Passion is infectious and needs to be constantly seen rather than the expectation that it already exists - it must be exercised.
I can only hope and feel that I may be a good example for them as my own dreams and wishes have also been manipulated and constantly changed throughout my journey as a young dancer. I allow mistakes to be made and corrections to be embedded, only to polish and update their existing software. I want them to open up their senses, make performance an experience, and distance themselves as "entertainers" but giving them confidence and value as an "artist" - One that sees the world through a different lens and can comprehend, compare and reason with all the differences."
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