In recent years there have been movements to eat local and to buy local, but what about dancing local? Or supporting local dance artists, that is.
Durham native Kristin Taylor formed the KT Collective with seven local dancers in December 2011 and has been deep in the creative process since then. The company’s first concert will be July 13th and 14th, marking Taylor’s first time presenting a full evening of her own work. And boy, is she looking forward to it.
“This concert showcases the variety of ways that I move in a single show. I’m excited about that,” Taylor said. “It’s all my work, but each piece is different.”
Taylor explained that her work is influenced by a multitude of things, and that consequently, none of her choreography is meant to represent a single idea.
“[My work is] a combination of things – the music, the original idea of a piece, my overall mood that day,” Taylor said. “Naturally I’m a high-energy mover, jumper, turner and traveler. I’m also big on movement transitions…on how the sequences flow or don’t. My work is the product of all of these variables.”
The KT Collective’s upcoming concert is composed of four dances – “Woven”, a duet, “Sudden Sass,” a jazzy sextet, “Not Myself,” a work commissioned by the NC Museum of Art in 2011, and a solo by Taylor titled “The Lost”. Taylor will also show a dance film by Juel Lane.
Danced by Diego Carrasco Schoch and Brittany Clark, “Woven” explores the experience of starting a life with another person. At press time, Taylor was still unsure as to whether or not this piece will have music.
“Ian Meeks is currently working on duet music, but I’m not sure if I’m going to use it,” Taylor said. “The duet has been choreographed in silence, so I [have grown attached to hearing] breath when I watch it.”
Music plays an important role in “Sudden Sass,” a work inspired by a song from the movie Errand Boy. In the movie, the song “I’m the Boss,” plays while Jerry Lewis sits at a desk pretending to be all of the people who boss him around. See the scene in the video below.
“The scene and the section I choreographed have nothing in common,” Taylor explained, “except for sass.”
“Sudden Sass” takes place in a lounge in the late ‘50s to early ‘60s; the dancers perform as different characters that visit or work there.
“[‘Sudden Sass’] is fun to perform, especially with our cast,” said KT Collective dancer Lindsay Leonard. (Leonard is shown right, in rehearsal with Taylor; photo credit Omar Raja.)
Taylor described the movement in “Sudden Sass” as being quirky, energetic and playful, and agreed with Leonard that the dancers’ personalities fit into the piece well.
“It is interesting to see dancers change [their natural behaviors] to work on a character,” Taylor said. “It makes the piece more than just a dance.”
“Not Myself” is also more than just a dance; originally performed in July 2011, this work was commissioned by the NC Museum of Art and is based two pieces of artwork that the museum highlighted as a part of its 30 Americans exhibit. (See artwork below, “Appear, Appease, Applaud (Also, Perhaps, Maybe)” by Xaviera Simmons, and left, “Untitled” by Purvis Young.) Set to original music by Dave Parent and a poem by Dominique Reed, “Not Myself” explores the idea of feeling like a puppet under constant manipulation.
“[‘Not Myself’] is about 15 minutes long and is made up of a series of duets, trios and solos,” Leonard explained. “This one isn’t as jazzy – it has a bit of an African dance influence and a hip-hop influence as well.”
Though the entire concert is Taylor’s work, she will interrupt the live performances to show “Just Another Day,” a dance film in which she performs. Choreographer Juel Lane created the film in 2010 for a show at University of North Carolina-Greensboro that showcased male choreographers, and used a few dancers from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Taylor explained.
“It is very exciting [to show the film],” Taylor said. “It’s a very unexpected piece, but I think it ties in to the concert as a whole.”
And now the audience will see Taylor perform live as well, thanks to a little family pressure.
“I decided today that I am going to dance in the show,” Taylor said in mid-June. “My mom said a lot of people want to see me dance, so I said I would do it.”
Taylor noted that she could not have gotten through the concert planning without support from her family, friends and colleagues.
“I have so much support from people who have known me for a while who are excited that I’m able to support my work…and from those who have just met me since I returned to Durham,” Taylor said. “This is a good step.”
Leonard echoed Taylor’s enthusiasm about the supportive local dance community.
“I’m enthusiastic about the development of a lot of new work by emerging choreographers in this area,” Leonard said. “I think that it is an exciting time to be [in the Triangle].
Get involved in the growing local dance scene! Come to see the KT Collective performances July 13th and 14th at 7:30 PM at the Barriskill Dance Theatre. General admission is $10; purchase online tickets at www.dancektc.eventbrite.com. Tickets also sold at the door. For more information, contact Kristin Taylor at email@example.com or visit the KT Collective website www.kristintaylor.webs.com.