Let the Dance Begin with Christopher K. Morgan
CityDance’s Professional Artist Series begins this weekend with Christopher K. Morgan & Artists (CKM&A) production of ‘Spiraling’ on October 27 & 28 in CityDance’s new state-of-the-art Studio Theater at Strathmore. Spiraling will set the tone for CityDance’s 2012 – 2013 season, with many of its performances based on partnerships and collaborations. CityDance features nationally acclaimed resident and guest artists from Washington DC and around the country. By bringing and presenting high-quality professional art to the DC metro area, CityDance fulfills its primary mission of advancing the appreciation for and participation in dance in the community.
CityDance also values artistic education and will be offering exceptional educational experiences for students studying at their center at Strathmore. The participating professional artists will interact with the young dancers through master classes, workshops, and joint performance opportunities – helping develop a new generation of performance artists.
The Professional Artist Series for the 2012-2013 season begins with CKM&A’s Spiraling, and continues with quality performances on November 2 & 3, when CityDance presents Hubbard Street 2 for an evening of dance featuring a new work by CityDance Conservatory Choreographer-in-Residence Robert Priore. Then closing out 2012, CityDance presents Erica Rebollar/Rebollar Dance in collaboration with CulturalDC and the Mead Theatre Lab Program in Space Junk on December 1& 2.
Recently I had the honor of speaking with CityDance Resident Artist Christopher K Morgan on the phone of the first things he said to me when I started inquiring about his life as a dancer was “Dance has been good to me, it has shown me the world and given me the opportunity to share my art in more places than I dreamed possible” and immediately I knew he was going to be an inspiration having made his way as both a dancer and an entrepreneur. Below is an excerpt from that interview for your pleasure:
What was it that you first found alluring about dance?
When I started dance as a senior in high school (later than the average dancer) I found a place where I felt I could fully be and express myself. I fell in love with both the studio & the stage. But it was on stage where I truly found shelter, it was the place I felt most at home.
Did choreography always come easy for you?
Choreography is something I've done almost as long as I've been a dancer, but I wouldn’t say that it has ever come easy! It's a challenge that I put upon my self. I'm full of inspiration for dances, but I find that the path to fulfilling each inspiration is always different. I never know what to expect. Each new creation presents me with an unexpected journey. I often find that I have an idea for a dance and as I begin to create it, that idea evolves as the piece develops. Sometimes props show up, or text, or projection - things change. A big part of my job as a choreographer is to navigate my original idea of a dance, and what that dance ends up telling me to do.
What is the inspiration behind Spiraling?
Part of the inspiration for this concert began with the desire to partner with other dance organizations. I feel strongly that partnerships are needed to grow a young dance company like CKM&A. As Spiraling will consist of five different pieces, three by my company, one by Dance Exchange choreographed by Sarah Levitt, and one work of mine on the CityDance Conservatory, I was attracted to the image of all these dances and organizations in a spiral. In much of my work life I facilitate collaboration, and a spiral is my favorite image to describe collaboration.
Well if we think in shapes, there's the directorial model of a pyramid, with the leader at the top. I've experienced that many people, and artists, think of collaboration as a counterpoint shape to the pyramid, a circle, where all the collaborators sit equally in a circle, sharing responsibility. But I think a good collaboration is much more dynamic than either of those shapes. I like to think of collaboration as a spiral, where at any moment one collaborator can spiral up to be a leader - then ride the spiral back down to be part of the circle. Then, as a project moves forward, someone else might need to spiral up to take the leadership position when their strengths or expertise are needed, and the cycle continues.
As a mover, I respond to this interpretation of collaboration – the idea of collaboration moving forward in a spiral, a cyclone. I love this image of collaboration, where those involved take turns in leadership roles.
Pyramids and circle structures of collaboration I find to be prone to stagnation – cyclones and spirals on the other hand are dynamic.
How did you find your collaborators?
I have a pretty set group of dancers that I work with. There are seven dancers in my company right now. I have been working with one of the dancers for a year and a half and I have been working with four others for just under a year. There is one dancer who is apprenticing with CKM&A through a partnership with American University (where I am Artist in Residence) and one dancer was hired just for this project. I rarely hold auditions. Right now, I have a solid group of dancers who are committed to my company and our projects. I also collaborate with musicians and visual artists from time to time. Each of those relationships evolves differently.
Can you tell us about the roll the small white balls on the dance floor play in the production?
The balls are used in a piece titled De-Generate. I was looking for a physical metaphor for the number of distractions one faces in everyday life. At first I thought the amount of balls we were using was an exaggeration – but as the dance came together, and the more I thought about it, I don’t think it is an exaggeration at all. I open my Facebook news feed and there are a million distractions there. Walk down the street, and one is faced with distractions at every turn. I wanted to find a tangible metaphor for describing an over abundance of distraction in the modern world. The objects on the floor create real risk for the dancers in the space. They have to have a highly heightened awareness when they work with the objects. I am very interested in the heightened sensitivity that the dancers need to have for this piece, and how they are forced to be fully present to be able to problem solve the objects in their path throughout the work.
CityDance is excited to have Christopher K Morgan and other celebrated artists as part of their community for the 2012-2013 Professional Artist Series. We hope you take the time to come see these talented dance professionals – you wont be disappointed!
Dates, Times and Overviews of The Professional Artist Series Fall Performances:
Christopher K. Morgan & Artists: Spiraling
SAT, OCT 27, 8PM & SUN, OCT 28, 3PM
Tickets $25 ($20 with student ID)
Tickets on sale at www.starthmore.org or by calling 301.581.5100
CityDance Resident Artist Christopher K. Morgan and his company Christopher K. Morgan & Artists (CKM&A) will present his "forward thinking choreography" (Ballet-Dance magazine) in an evening of dance featuring guest performances by Dance Exchange and CityDance Conservatory.
Hubbard Street 2 & CityDance Conservatory Dancers
FRI, NOV 2, 8PM & SAT, NOV 3, 8PM
Tickets $25 ($20 student tickets)
Tickets on sale at www.starthmore.org or by calling 301.581.5100
Hubbard Street 2 & CityDance Conservatory is a co-performance that will be held in the CityDance Studio Theater at Strathmore. The evening will feature signature repertory from both groups as well as a new work by CityDance Conservatory Choreographer-in-Residence Robert Priore.
SAT, DEC 1, 8PM & SUN, DEC 2, 7:30PM
Tickets $17 ($15 for students/artists/seniors)
Tickets on sale at www.culturaldc.org or call (866) 811-4111
In partnership with CulturalDC’s Mead Theatre Lab Program, CityDance will present Erica Rebollar and her company RebollarDance in Space Junk. The performance will explore the outer limits using set choreography as well as improvisational, unrefined scores and experimentations. As part of her residency, Rebollar will lead dancers from CityDance Conservatory in a master class, as part of CityDance School & Conservatory’s weekly Master Class series.
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