2015-16 Performance Series Choreographer Simone Stevens

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Photo by Michael Sykes

I am very honored (and so thrilled) for the opportunity to present Skewed at The Rialto as part of the Dance Canvas performance series. The dancers will also showcase Skewed at Emory this coming March for ACDA 2016, so we’re grateful to have the opportunity to perform the piece for multiple audiences.

My dance roots are in performance, so, prior to this year, choreography was not a component of the art I experimented with regularly. Of course there were the tasks of choreographing my junior and senior high school year solos at my home studio, but creating a piece that exceeded three minutes for dancers other than myself did not come into play until recently.

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Photo by Scott Nilsson

It’s been exciting, to say the least, to discover my own movement vocabulary—what feels natural versus what feels forced, my physical abilities and limitations, understanding and accepting the transfer of movement from my brain to my limbs, etc.—while also having the opportunity to translate and realize those same ideas on the bodies of other dancers.

12342833_10207483041167336_4627852092311539536_nThe quintet of dancers I’m working with, some of whom have been a part of this process since June, are all very different technicians; they apply direction and interpret information differently, and I believe that is the beauty of the piece.

Skewed illustrates how an individual’s perception of a situation can be so biased towards an idea, or interpretation of an idea, that, once he/she is able to step back and see the situation in its entirety, there is too much distortion done that would allow for its restoration. We’re all individuals and therefore interpret circumstances differently based off our own understanding of a given subject, prior experiences, or other extraneous factors.

FullSizeRender (2)Consequently, it can be quite easy to take data and twist it so that it has new meaning. I’m hoping the audience will be able to identify three key stages throughout the work: the misinterpretation of matter through the performer’s eyes, the manipulation of that information in a way that does not reflect the initial product, and, finally, the realization that nothing could restore the movement to its original form. Forever will we view scenarios through our own eyes, and while that can most definitely be an asset, it also opens the door for misinterpretation and skewing of information based off our predisposed point of view. *crosses fingers* I hope this central argument is clear throughout the work!

Anaïs Nin: “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.”

After Dance Canvas and ACDA pass, I’m not entirely sure what will become of Skewed, or if I’ll try my hand at choreographing a piece for ACDA 2017 over the summer. That’s all quite a ways from now though, so we’ll get there when we get there.

Since I have another year at KSU, the chance to experiment with creating at least one other piece is available, and that excites me. And since my mind is constantly spinning and imagining new concepts, it’s a definite possibility I’ll be giving choreography another whirl before I graduate. Skewed is fairly demanding physically, so maybe it would be fun to create a piece on the opposite end of the spectrum…a piece where the dancers aren’t covered in bruises…who knows.

Nevertheless, I’m forever grateful to my dancers, KSU Dance, Dance Canvas, (and my mom) for this opportunity.

Being given the chance to show my first work on the Rialto stage, well, that’s truly something special.

 

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Photo by Scott Nilsson


 

Simone’s Story

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Simone Stevens is a Dance Major and Anthropology Minor at Kennesaw State University. She enrolled in the university in the Spring of 2014, so this term officially marks her third year in the department. Stevens began dancing at En Pointe School of Dance in Lilburn, GA at the age of three under the direction of Kathy Thomas-Law. There she trained in classical ballet techniques, modern, jazz, and musical theatre. Stevens also continued her training during the summer months at various intensives and conventions including, The Pulse On Tour (2011, 2012) and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Summer Intensive (2013). Upon enrolling at KSU, Stevens has attended dance festivals in Birmingham and Chattanooga, been mentored as an Apprentice for the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, as well as had a choreographic work, Skewed, selected for presentation at the 2016 ACDA Conference in March at Emory University.


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Our Partnership with KSU

Simone is a shining illustration of our unique and special partnership with the Kennesaw State University dance program. The illustrious program holds impressive talent and artists! For the past few years, Dance Canvas has worked with both interns and, of course, our KSU student choreographers, including Jamie McCord (2012), Zachary Richardson (2013), and Christopher Hall (2013, 2014). We thought you might like to see where some of them are now and how Dance Canvas impacted their future journeys!

We caught up with Zachary Richardson and are so excited to hear where his choreography has taken him:

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From Katherine Maxwell’s The Growing Beast photography by Eli Percy

 Zachary Richardson premiered Winergy with Dance Canvas in 2013 through the Kennesaw State University partnership. Richardson is currently performing internationally in the cruise line industry. His home base is now New York, where he has collaborated with his fellow KSU alum Katherine Maxwell to create her first evening length work. Richardson has also assisted in the installation of Lauri Stallings + glo’s And All Directions I Come To You, a Creative Time commission in Central Park. He is continually discovering his voice with choreography. He is shopping a new work entitled PULP to premiere in 2016.


We thoroughly enjoyed hearing Simone’s bright story, unique voice, and catching a glimpse of her fierce work. Don’t miss Skewed coming to the Rialto Center for the Arts  January 22nd and 23rd!

Buy your tickets today here!

To Simone and all who came before her, we are so happy to provide a canvas for your masterpieces to be painted on and to introduce the next generation.

We are excited to dance into the {Happy New Year} with you! Thanks for being a part of the Dance Canvas family! Cheers!

As always, please comment, share, and subscribe! Check back soon for our next exciting story!

Thanks for reading!

Sincerely,

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