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UpClose Interview: DOT to DOT: DATA with a SOUL

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I was recently interviewed by Will Detlefsen for the UCSD Theatre & Dance Department Newsletter to talk about my upcoming studio project.

CHECK IT OUT!


When did you first know you wanted to be a performing artist?

Growing up, I always loved to perform and put on a show of some sort. I’ve been dancing ever since I could walk practically, and I started singing in 4th grade. I didn’t start acting until freshmen year of high school. I played Mistress Quickly in Merry Wives of Windsor for the Drama Teacher’s Association of South California (DTASC) Shakespeare Festival. Ever since that, things began to click and I knew I wanted to be a performing artist.

At Chatsworth High School, I performed in 7 mainstage theater productions, and performed/directed a combination of 11 DTASC Fall/Shakespeare Festival scenes. During my junior year, I was accepted into the Conservatory of the Arts hosted by Cal State LA where I trained in Advanced Acting and Advanced Singing. My hunger to hone my craft as an artist grew exponentially.

Here at UCSD, I’ve performed in 23 theatre & dance productions (both undergraduate and graduate), 9 of which I have also choreographed. I’ve been blessed enough to have performed in 8 professional theatre and dance productions (choreographing 4 of them) while attending university. The summer after my freshman year, I trained at the Summer Arts Steppenwolf West Acting Intensive Program at Cal State Fresno. During fall quarter of 2014, I studied abroad and trained at the British American Drama Academy (BADA) in London. The past 5 years have completely transformed my world. At 23 years old, I am able to introduce myself as an actor, singer, dancer, performing artist, choreographer/director, and international teaching artist. I love what I do with a vengeance. As I graduate and move forward, I aim to build my own multidisciplinary production company and establish myself as an international creative consultant as well.

Tell us a little bit about Dot to Dot: Data with a Soul.

For my final show as a UCSD undergraduate, I wanted to stretch beyond my comfort zone. I have always been incredibly interested in devised work – the challenge of creating a new story from a blank canvas; the opportunity to blueprint new forms of storytelling.

My first show here was Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, a graduate production directed by Kyle Donnelly. JerVae Dionne Anthony (a San Diegan singer-songwriter, visual artist, performing artist, and community agent of change) was in that production. Ever since I met this gorgeous women, I was completely enraptured. We’ve wanted to collaborate with one another, but did not have a chance to in the past 5 years – until now. She was in my first show here, and I thought it would be important for her to be in my last.

We have collaborated together in the pursuit of devising a story using Modern Mythopoeia (“myth-making”). The story is autobiographical in the sense that we draw upon our life experiences to create a new modern myth. At its core, the story is about me, a young professional student who has returned from an adventure abroad, facing reverse culture shock and a bit of a quarter-life crisis. The threshold of graduation is approaching. I want to become the greatest version of myself, but I’m afraid to cross that threshold into the unknown. I seek help from a Light Worker who takes me on a journey to get out of my own way and tap into my light (my source).

Through my training here, I have been fortunate enough to have mentors who have taught me this valuable lesson. Whether it was through advice, lessons, leading by example, or creating the framework for me to try it out for myself, they have helped me to truly believe in myself and my power.

You describe your work as “Physical Theatre.” How do you define the distinction between theatre and dance? Are they separate art forms or is it more complicated than that?

That is definitely a complicated question to answer. As a Theatre & Dance double major, I have spent the last 5 years grappling with the relationship between the two mediums. Most importantly, I have been trying to find the synthesis. On one level, one might find theatre and dance completely different mediums (i.e. theatre has a script with actors playing characters while dance has dancers who jeté across the marley floor). And that is one simplistic way of looking at it, but I find that they are much more interconnected. I believe that embodiment is what really synthesizes theatre, dance, and all performative mediums together. The ability to utilize pure belief in your self as a performative vessel to embody the world in which you want to create. We did this as children when we played pretend with no problem. Through the process of devising this show, I wanted us to be able to tap into that freedom. The power to take up space and allow ourselves to be seen. I deem this show a piece of “Physical Theatre” since Jervae and I are pursuing a story through primarily physical means.

One of our biggest commonalities is that we all have bodies. We have mirror neurons that fire both when performing an action and observing someone else perform that same action. Physical kinesthetic intelligence is deeply embedded within us all as a species. We are able to maximize upon that intelligence when we create and perform stories. There is a great deal of creative agency in storytelling. Through my experience here in the Theatre and Dance department, I have practiced the art of creating powerful metaphors through storytelling in multidisciplinary modes. The pure potentiality of storytelling is abundant.

What’s next for you after UCSD? Back to Europe?

Once I graduate, I will be finalizing the preparation of my Musical Theatre II students from the Dance & Co. Performing Arts Studio for the 6th Annual Summer Production. I’ve been an instructor at this amazing studio for the past 3 years.

I will be the Associate Musical Theater Teaching Artist for the La Jolla Playhouse’s Young Performer’s Workshop this summer. I first taught Movement for Actors in 2012 for this program, so I am really excited to be returning.

After that, I will be flying out to Germany again to be the assistant instructor for the Patricia Rincon Dance Collective Europe Teaching Tour for 2 weeks in Frankfurt & Heidelberg. It is an honor to be assisting for the second time. I can’t wait to return.

I am waiting to find out if I’ve been accepted into the Artistic Meditation Retreat in Thailand, hosted by Peace Revolution. I crave the opportunity to refresh my canvas for 2 weeks in Phu Ruea, Thailand.

There’s a possibility of collaborating with Jack Reuler again on a production for his Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis. Looking forward to seeing where that goes.

I hope to move to New York by the end of the year, but we will see where the wind may take me.


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