Jennifer Mack

1) What do you enjoy about dancing, and what do you enjoy about choreography?
2) Does it feel different to dance a piece that you’ve choreographed,
instead of one someone else has?
3) Can you tell us a little about the piece you’ll be presenting this weekend?
4) What is the most important thing you’d like your audience to walk
away from your performance with?

#1. a)I’ve always joked that the reason I’m actually a dancer is because deep down I actually wanted to be a musician. Then I realized it’s also because I wanted to be a visual artist of some kind and an actress. I think that’s why I like dancing… because you get to do and try all these things, but with your body. You get to transcend yourself and discover other people & experiences by trying on their movement, gestures, body language/physicality and somehow get it to make sense in and on your body. Not to mention trying to get all of that body knowledge and art to communicate to others. It’s a crazy icebreaker, really, where you learn way to much about people and your self…in a good way.
b) The same would be said about choreography, I guess…it’s just stuff I have to get out of my body. Something I feel the need to share & communicate with other people and get feedback on whether it be another mover/dancer or audience member. To me it’s all really a form of communication I can’t explain or do in any other way.

#2. Yes! Dancing something I choreographed versus someone else is definitely different or at least feels completely different. The things I choreograph come from ‘inside’. It feels natural and good on me because it’s coming from me; what I’m thinking, feeling, wanting to say or not say, etc…. It’s like having a conversation with your self; which can be great and awful at the same time. It can be a spirit or ego boost because you get something out of your system. It can also be deceiving, though because there’s no one to check you; or in other words let you know if you aren’t making any sense. Or if it isn’t feeling natural, good or your having a hard time; you feel like your fighting yourself on this strange deeper level.
Where dancing someone else’s choreography comes from ‘outside’; from another source. It has the potential to feel completely foreign or unnatural or un-understandable….or completely natural and every variance in between. You never know. So you end up digging in your self as a person and as a body to meet or find the place where you both mesh or understand each other as people and bodies.

#3. I’ll actually be presenting 3 small pieces:

One is a duet titled ‘Where we are Now’. It’s danced by two amazing dancers: Lyndsay Anderson & Bryan Gerber; whom I feel so blessed to have the chance to work with. They made it way more than I imagined it could be. The music is ‘Tangoed Up in You’ by Jelloslave, which is a local cello duet group in the area. Ironically, the music seems almost too perfect for the idea in title, concept and sound. Basically I came at this piece looking at timing and how it affects relationships, but I would love to hear thoughts from viewers as well.

The second piece is a solo titled ‘Almost Familiar’ to a song ‘Almost Familiar’ by Pretty Light. It was technically directed & choreographed by Ashley Penrod with choreography/movement input by myself. No…we didn’t name it after the song because we couldn’t think of anything and didn’t want to call it, ‘untitled’! We actually felt it was rather ironic that the song titled seemed to describe where the piece came from, was going, and trying to explore. Ashleigh’s been interested in how different people put together, distribute & categorize movement in their brain & memory; she’s developed this interesting choreographic process; using word maps. I’ve been wanting to work with her for a while, but Patrick’s Open Call provided that opportunity at the perfect time. Ashleigh just moved back here after finishing graduate school and we kept meeting & talking about how new movement is created and what we enjoy in a good performance and the rest is here in this first draft. Again, feed back is always welcome.

The third piece is a group piece that I set on 7 of my students from Rochester, MN. It was actually set last spring on 7 students who auditioned to be in the piece and I wanted to try and expose them to new ways of working and learning a piece. I taught them one partnering phrase and one individual phrase and had them explore it. I also had them create phrases on their own based off of written questions about anger, loss and miscommunication or misunderstanding. I had originally intended to do two or three sections, but have only created this one so far. The music has actually changed a couple times, but the costumes have not; the movement, well, that’s always being tweaked. Eventually I would like to fully set and choreograph all three sections. Still working on finding the right music and title, though. And these students are fabulous for letting me explore a new idea on them and I wanted them to have a chance to show what they can do and have been working on.

#4. I just want the audience to walk away with…honestly, a connection, disconnection, or reaction of some kind! That sounds probably simple and maybe even dumb, but really… I just don’t want them to watch it and then go on to the next thing. Whatever it or that may be for them (the audience member) that’s what I’m interested in. What caught their attention, what didn’t, what they felt, didn’t feel, what it reminded them off, what they thought it ‘meant’, didn’t ‘mean,’ or why they ‘got it’ or ‘didn’t get it,’ etc…as long as it initiated their brain and body….I want to hear about it, am intrigued & fascinated by it, and feel like ‘there we go!…don’t you love dance and art!’

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