In preparation for the upcoming and exciting work that will be presented at Pilgrim Church February 10th and 11th, I decided to chat with Megan Lee Gargano, Grace Nicklos, and Jon Lawson about their pieces, their processes, and their choreographic hopes. Take a look below and see what they have to say:
Megan Lee Gargano:
You created this piece specifically for this show. What do you hope this work will accomplish? What would you like the audience and dancers to take away from this movement experience?
Megan: In this new work "Hold Still", we are exploring the forces which hold us back or silence who we are. Sometimes we are silencing or censoring ourselves based on what society has deemed normal. And too often our voices and bodies are being silenced by others, often by those who hold positions of power. From this work, I hope to keep us conscious Be aware that it's happening to ourselves and those around us. I hope the audience and dancers are inspired and motivated to be present, take action and to fill space. We as people need to unite for not just ourselves but for the voices and causes of others.
There is an interesting tie between the sound used for the piece and the piece itself. Was this music what sparked your initial inspiration, or did movement come separately? What is it about the blend of this particular piece of music with your movement that worked well with you?
Megan: My choreographic process is fluid. At times, I am inspired by sound and more often movement is my motivation for new work. This time around, it was a little bit of both. As for movement, I started exploring sensations of force and bound energy. I think this physical quality is a response to my feeling of frustration and restraint. At first I didn't know what was driving me to explore this new quality of movement, but as I started to work through it, the origin of my inspiration become clear to me. Simultaneously, I began looking for sound that was representative of the movement I was exploring and eventually found sound that captured the feelings of rawness and force coming through in my movement. This time around, sound was a major factor and source of inspiration that played heavily in the final product of the work.
You are bringing this piece back to life from college, and this includes fitting it to work with a smaller cast. What challenges did you face doing this? Did certain parts feel better this time around? Worse?
Grace: "State of Flux" was originally choreographed in 2015 with a cast of ten. Bringing this piece back to life and resetting it with 6 TMP dancers was a pretty smooth experience as a choreographer. At first I faced some doubts in my head of using a smaller cast and still keeping true to the original piece. The reality of resetting the piece was at times a therapeutic one. I found the time I had in-between the original setting of the work and now allowed me time to look at my art from a more objective view. I felt this time around I was able to look more critically at the work while making adaptations with this cast that allowed for my first vision to clearly come through. While being a dancer in your own work can present its own challenges, being a dancer in the work this time around allowed me to fully immerse myself in the resetting process and kinetic patterning of the piece.
What's the concept/ inspiration? Has your concept changed at at all from when you first created the piece? Has it morphed into something a little different than the original piece with the larger cast?
Grace: My concept in making the work derived from exploration and contemplation of the states of instability and stability. My concept has stayed the same during this resetting of the work, and I made sure that my original thoughts and writings of the work carried me through the resetting as an anchor and path that any adaptations had to exist in. The making of much of the original movement material derived from a physical abstraction of the human need for security and support of others in times of vulnerability. Since this time around the material was already made, this process of resetting felt like a revisiting, and I tried to allow my memory to take me back to the original making as much as a could in order to stay true to its identity.
Much of the work of this duet was made on the spot, which created a specific atmosphere. Do you think this bled into the piece? Do you think being in the same room with the dancers during creation affected any choices you made?
Jon: This was my first time having a process be 100% in the moment. I practice an experimental process, so I tend to come in with many ideas prepared but this time I let the process guide me. I do think that it shows in my dance. I can see moments of playfulness that arose organically while choreographing in the moment. It was also a great experience for me to generate a bunch of material and then have the ability to go back and edit what I want the audience to see.
The relationship between the two dancers has a push-and-pull quality to it. There is definitely an interaction going on between them. What about these interactions do you most want to read? What do you want the viewers to see? What is your goal?
Jon: I feel open about what I want the audience to see. What this dance means to me is something that is unique to me. What my dancers get from this is unique to them and I want the audience have that unique experience too. I wasn't working with an abstract concept so hopefully the audience can connect to the humanity and physicality of the dance.
Come on out and see these choreographers’ work in person!