“Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.”
-Endgame, Samuel Beckett
Combining video, dance, and live performance to create a mirror in which to demand authenticity from the self, I incorporate pop culture references and mechanically mediated techniques to explore contemporary feminine gender dynamics and the intensely personal nature of identity.
The resulting growing body of work is organized around the premise of transforming images of the self and producing unique and individualized portraits. My goal as a performance artist working in dance, theatre, and visual art, is to foster opportunities for performers to contribute to the creation and telling of stories. By utilizing traditional and contemporary dance forms to then break those guidelines, each production is shaped by context, in its most comprehensive sense. The work is grounded, both methodologically and theoretically, in social discussions regarding gender, gender basis, sexuality, abuse, and etiquette.
Primarily influenced by the dance and theatre productions of Pina Bausch, Lloyd Newson, and Mark Dendy, my work has developed in reflection of and in reaction to dance’s traditional western performance style. In acknowledging the need for intimate, immediate human understanding, my work presents dance as a mechanism for audience connection. The productions work to capture the audience, to frighten, to delight, and to change them. The questions that we ask may or may not have an answer, and the mission of the shows is to search for those answers in an attempt to find possible resolutions through performance. In a way, this creates a kind of dramaturgical feedback loop of constant research, adaptation, editing, analyzing, interpretation, and documentation of the rehearsal process and performance.
As my work has evolved, it has become apparent that while technique has created a foundation, it should not be the identity of the performer. What has become paramount is my ability to develop a space where artists of various disciplines can enter into a creative process with an open mind and a willingness to examine and question. My creative process begins with an interview session that fosters dialogue and interaction with the artists and participants. I also utilize an improvisational approach to crafting movement and narrative points. I want to promote a liberally expressive environment that lends itself to equally free movement. The result is a trusted space where all are equals. Individual’s experience and the lives they lead are honored, respected, and used as inspiration for the work they will develop with me. They are an active part of the composition, helping to devise the overall vision.
Further influenced by aspects of Diamanda Galás’ performance style, Cindy Sherman’s photography, Chris Marker’s editing style, Matthew Barney’s avant-garde techniques, and Guy Bourdin’s highly sexual fashion photographs, the mise-en-scénes I create present the performative equivalent of Samuel Beckett on a dinner date with Sarah Silverman.
I view my work as an interplay of performative elements—dance, theatre, music, and multimedia—with a distinct effort towards eliciting a response from an audience, wherein the audience may claim the primary ownership of experience and signification of meaning. Environments, performances, and intent are amplified to draw viewers in to receive the show as one side of a shared conversation. I have named this interdisciplinary nature of dance theatre as dialogic dance theatre, which emphasizes audience engagement by inviting them into the conversation through various means, such as interactive performance elements, immersive environments, and the use of social media to participate in post-show discussions. The performers enter into a conversation with the audience by way of dancing, and that resulting dialogue is the environment.
Moreover, through visual documentation of my self-discovery of dysfunction, the weight of catastrophic dread is blended in equal measure with female-power and pop, resulting in a darkly comedic performance. With a dash of female spectacle thrown in for good measure—less like Guy Debord, and more like kitschy, self-reflective music videos of today’s pop “stars.” Acted out in an ironic form of stand-up comedy and ritual—as lines and actions are repeated over and over in an attempt to convince myself of something or to help me become something—the performances beg the question, “will you die laughing?”