a dance with three steps

An exploration of the process of creating dance


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Straya Mate!

Having recently studied abroad in Australia, I’ve been exposed to some Australian dancers, choreographers and companies that I wouldn’t have normally known of. One huge highlight was the presence of a beautiful Australian dancer: James O’Hara. O’Hara is most well known for his work in Faun choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. This is the video, it will blow your mind. I can only post the link, as embedding has been disabled for the video.

While in Perth, Australia, I had the pleasure of watching him perform Faun live at the Heath Ledger Theatre. I also got to take 2 classes from him at the Western Australia Academy for Performing Arts (WAAPA). They were amazing.

James O'Hara in Faun

James O’Hara in Faun

O’Hara was also featured in the new Sigur Ros music video, Valtari. He is PHENOMENAL. Unfortunately, I can’t embed a Vimeo video, so here is the link. (O’Hara is so damn elusive.)


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Young ‘n Up ‘n Comin’

The process of creating dance… So far I’ve been sourcing a lot of my influences. Be it art, choreography, systems and structures from older established artists, inspiration can also be drawn from the people close to you. The choreographic process is difficult and requires patience and hard work. My own rehearsal process has been heavily influenced by my experiences as a dancer in other people’s projects. At the dance conservatory at SUNY Purchase, graduating seniors must complete a senior project. Senior projects weekends are a 2 day dance show that consist of 4-5 seniors that each perform a solo set on them by a professional, established choreographer as well as a 7-10 minute dance that the senior choreographs. The dancers in these pieces are typically other SUNY dancers.

LIVE at Purchase, a senior project

I’ve recently had the honor of dancing in the senior project weekend entitled “LIVE at Purchase” in Matthew Perez’s ¬†dance “Extemporary Destiny.” Aside from the fact that the dance was incredibly fun and challenging to perform, the rehearsal process was amazing. Perez had a clear idea of what he wanted. He was calm, straight forward, and he was able to articulate what he wanted from his dancers. Intent, focus, imagery, tension, power, etc. As a dancer, his professionalism was very much welcomed (some seniors have trouble establishing the rehearsal dynamic of choreographer over fellow dancer). As a choreographer, his professionalism was inspiring. I’ve been in rehearsals where nothing got done because everyone was just hanging out. That’s a waste of time. In the real world, no one is going to pay money to rent a studio just to sit around and gossip.¬†Now, not only is Matthew Perez a great choreographer, but he is also a beautiful dancer and person. His solo for his senior project was a piece by Andrea Miller called “In Medias Res.” Perez currently has a coveted apprenticeship with Miller’s company, Gallim Dance. See? Young ‘n up ‘n comin’!

Matthew Perez, Photo Credit: Ted Kivitt

Matthew Perez, Photo Credit: Ted Kivitt

Perez is a beautiful dancer with long, strong, limbs that he has complete power over. He is a giant. No, really, he’s like a giraffe. He eats up space and can be ferocious and strong. He can also be delicate, soft and quiet. He has no bones; he is the bendy-ist baby. As a friend, he is sweet, funny and honest. It’s very clear that he loves dance and works hard every day to fulfill his desires. Perez has always pushed me to want, to desire, to fight for dance. I have an unbelievable amount of respect for him. Inspiration can be found everywhere and anywhere and it is powerful as hell to find it right in front of you, dancing his ass off.