Artist Residency is a wonderful accomplishment for any artist. A residency provides a place where an artist or a group of artists can really focus on creating work. Local dance improv aficionado, Spatial Sculptors was recently awarded the Spalding House – Orvis Artist in Residence (AIR) program to create and showcase their work: Dance Like No One Is Watching. Currently, they are in the middle of their residency, and naturally we decided to stop by with some burning questions on taking improv dance into a museum setting.
What is improv dance?
Improvised dance is dance that is not pre-planned. It is spontaneous in nature.
Do you need any special dance skills or training to do improv dance? The only think you really need is willingness to move. In any dance form, there is room for improvisation. However, many people who are not traditionally trained dancers do improvised dance with skill. In fact, the roots of contemporary or post-modern improvised dance, which is largely what Spatial Sculptors does, was developed by people other than dancers.
I’ve heard of contact improv- is this the same as dance improv? Is there a difference or are they the same?
Good question. Contact Improvisation is a form of improvised dance, just like the Waltz is a form of ballroom dance. Improvised dance, as we practice it, includes dancing spontaneously, alone or with others, to explore movement. Contact Improvisation involves dancing with one or more people and creating points of physical contact to start exploring movement.
Why did Spatial Sculptors decide to apply for the artists’ residency at the Spalding House?
Each member of Spatial Sculptors probably has many reasons why we are excited for this project. The bottom line is we love moving and we love introducing improv to others. Having an opportunity to play, explore and expand our improvised dance practice, and being able to share our love for improv with people who are new to improv, and to those who love it as well but seldom (are) able to make one of our regular improv jams is a big factor (as) to why we applied to the program.
How special is this residency to the development of Spatial Sculptors?
Like any artistic process, being able to do your art is one of the main ways you develop and progress. For us, we only get to work together twice a month. This residency will allow us to jump into improv in a deeper way than we’ve ever been able to before, as an ensemble and as a local improv community.
In reading about the description of the work, one word that pops up is interactive – can you please explain what interactive means in the context of improv dance and how it relates to Spatial Sculptors residency?
We want you to join in the fun with us! Every weekend, we will have at least 2 people who can guide you through improv activities, helping you experience on an individual level, what improv looks and feels like. You don’t have to dance; there will be mini performances, and ways that the audience can interact with people who are dancing. How you participate is up to how you are feeling at the moment.
What can visitors expect to see when they observe your work?
You may see people doing what you imagine dance to be. You may see people climbing on each other, on the walls, or stepping, hopping, or twirling in patterns over stones and pathways. You may see people standing still. The joy of improv is that each dancer gets to decide how to move and each audience member gets to decide what it means.
So, can people join in the improv dance? And if yes, what should they do or prepare beforehand?
Please join in. We are eager to share improv with our wonderful Honolulu community. We are dancing at the Surface Gallery at the Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House, which has a round stone surface over concrete, so clothes that you can move in and that will protect your body from the elements are key. Closed toed shoes, long pants, sunscreen, water, and soft brimmed hats are recommended.
After this residency where can people see more of Spatial Sculptors’ work and how can they join in?
We do jams that are open to the public every 1st and 3rd Wednesdays at Alive Ballet Center in McCully at 8:30 pm. The jams are $6. We also perform in Chinatown every First Friday; we start at Dragon Upstairs at 7:00 pm and then hit the streets and sidewalks. You can also follow our whereabouts by checking https://www.facebook.com/SpatialSculptors/.
For more information please click on the Orvis Residency link. You can also visit the website of Spatial Sculptors for updates on their work. Join them for some improv dancing this summer.
O’ahu Fringe Festival wishes Spatial Sculptors all the very best with their Orvis Residency:Dance Like No One is Watching.