The imaginative staging is only topped by choreographer Lisa Long’s inspired sequences.

-- Backstage

 

Artistic Statement

Dance to me is sacred, it’s physical and it’s my drug of choice.  I make dances because I believe that communication, at its essence, is physical. Whether it takes place on a dance floor, in a studio or on a stage, there are moments while dancing when the floor drops out, the sky opens up and everything disappears except limbs, breath, and  heartbeat slipping through time alongside of the music. Creating the opportunity for this sensation to occur is the core of my choreography.

Creating works is like going into a laboratory and searching for a combination of specific vocabulary, and rhythm that will, like Frankenstein, be filled with breath and eventually experience a life of its own. I am fascinated by the power of momentum, which, when used to the extreme can either make a dancer transcend or throw up (sometimes both). Dances become most interesting to me when the dynamics are a combination of extreme opposites.  I create works in which my dancers feel like they are throwing rhythmic darts while riding a surfboard over a melody.  Sharing the same breath and heartbeat with another dancer is a divine experience; It is important for me help create that kind of deep kinesthetic awareness and connection within my dancers. Paying attention to a quality of touch between them can create an intimacy whose vibration can be felt by an audience, no matter how far away they sit. Dance has the power to transcend the boundaries that divide us Ultimacy and from each other. On one hand, encouraging transcendence is a colossal, idea to tackle, but when it comes from practiced techniques, it can also be as ordinary as getting out of bed in the morning. For me dance is physicalized rock and roll.

Thematically I am interested in variations on community, with the specifics of a piece arising from individual dancers in the studio. Past works of mine have explored obnoxious energy between siblings, tension between holding out and giving into pleasure, American Indians animal totems and the ability of humans to support one another by touch or by breath.

Our world is becoming intricately more connected by the instant.  Exploring interconnection between artistic disciplines, through improvisation is another aspect of my artistic process.  Aesthetics of free improvisation and how collaboration between musicians, visual artists, filmmakers, actors and dancers can bear unfathomable fruit is compelling to me.  I have found an openness within each artistic community, overflowing with talented, experimental, individuals more than willing to participate in this type of research/play.

As an educator, I am constantly seeking ways to instill an anatomical awareness within the next generation of dancers that will serve them not only as technicians but also as well-rounded, energetically connected individuals. While teaching anatomy and kinesiology at California Institute of the Arts, I witnessed the fruits of my labor.  After taking my class, students can articulate the types of physical issues they are dealing with and employ self-care protocols to alleviate them.  Anatomically, they now speak about specific muscles and tendons rather than generalized pain or discomfort. The benefits of educating the next generation of dancers about the inner workings of their instrument through anatomy and kinesiology classes are endless. Students have better access to their muscles in technique class because they understand their specific origins and insertions.  This has dramatically improved some of my students’ performance. A hands-on approach encourages students to locate the muscles on their own bodies and through exercises, and stretches, allows them to understand their actions both intellectually and physically. Covering fascial release techniques and other somatic therapies provides a variety of injury prevention methods for my students.  If an injury should occur, students have the vocabulary to communicate with instructors, choreographers and the medical profession with efficacy. 

As both a choreographer and instructor, my deepest desire is to foster not only accomplished dancers, but also fully realized artists who are able to clearly unleash their passion into the world.