What do I want for Christmas?
More than anything, I want dancers. I’ve been trying to choreograph on just myself pieces that I really envision for multiple dancers. And guess what? It just does not work. It’s like a painter painting a sunset with just one color of paint. You can get the outline, but you just can’t recreate the colors, well, without the colors.
Wherever I live, or wherever I end up living, I want to build a company of dancers who have the following:
- a strong work ethic
- open-mindedness and willingness to try new things
- dancers who interpret my movement as their own
- i.e., dancers who can dance in my style, without losing their own sense of self
- versatile dancers, meaning they can correctly execute steps and styles from a variety of choreographers
- strong technical dancers…
- who are also willing to let go of that technique to be fully present in the moment of performance in order to be fully expressive
So what am I doing about that? Well, I’m holding auditions the first week of January. I think it takes years to build dancers in a company, and unfortunately we’ll have just over 6 weeks before a performance, but it’s a start toward that goal.
Unfortunately, many flamenco companies in the U.S. tend to be more project based, meaning they hire different dancers each season or for each project. Or, when I have seen a company that does use the same dancers, they tend to be very limited because they have only danced with that company, so even work from different choreographers ends up looking the same. As I grow my company, I would love to have guest choreographers come in and set work, and I want that work to look different than the work I set–to not lose the guest choreographer’s nuances.
The year in review:
Believe it or not, this year has been filled with rejections and “almosts.” I was a semi-finalist for a couple of grants, but not a finalist. I applied to god-knows how many jobs and grants, and got rejected from all of them, or just never heard back. But as they say, each rejection is one step closer to whatever you’re meant to be doing. Sometimes all the rejections (that I am learning are just part of a career in the arts) make it hard to see the successes. And geez, I was busy this year with lots of projects and performances, no need to feel down about the rejections!
January: taught a contemporary flamenco workshop at Gibney dance in NYC
February: Resident Advisor for YoungArts in Miami, FL; lots of rehearsals with Esteban Garza setting choreo for Fragmentos
March: performance of “Chrysalis” at the Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival in Kalamazoo, MI; Fragmentos premiere at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (Abrepaso’s 2nd season at the NHCC)
April: Presented at the Translatlantic Malagueñas and Zapateados Conference at UC Riverside; performed at The Fountain Theater in Los Angeles with Forever Flamenco
May: NYC again! Lots of gigs and teaching in the city 🙂
June: last semester of my MFA in dance
July: Presented my MFA thesis!
August: Forever Flamenco in Los Angeles; set choreography at Mendocino College; performed in Phoenix
October: performance of “Infinite Crossroads” for The Outlet Dance Project at Grounds for Sculpture in New Jersey; article published in Dance Magazine
September: Abprepaso’s (Des)encaracolarse presented as part of Carrizozo’s music series in Carrizozo, NM
November: tour with Jácome Flamenco in Arizona
December: Spanish variation with Festival Ballet Albuquerque
New Year’s Resolutions:
As always, my number one resolution is to keep growing artistically. A major part of that is continuing to challenge myself. Sometimes I really miss NYC, I miss the hustle, the frequent gigs, the energy of the city, etc. But I would not have had the time, space, or focus to create choreography as I have been doing in Albuquerque for the last year. With each work I’ve mounted with Abrepaso, I have pushed my abilities as a director and choreographer. Growing also depends on community, being surrounded by others also challenging themselves and collaborating, and learning from one another. I’ve had some awesome collaborators this year, and I hope to continue to learn and grow with them in 2018. I also want to keep growing as a dancer, which is a bit harder to do weekly gigs or frequent classes with guest teachers/choreographers.
And, less social media. Yikes. I use social media as a tool to announce events, get in contact with friends/peers, but beyond that, I plan on being on Facebook and Instagram way less in 2018. That endless scrolling and comparing myself to others only has a negative impact, so no need to continue that in 2018.
Here’s to another busy & fulfilling year in 2018!