I have known DeAnna Pellecchia since I was 18 years old. From the moment her Intermediate Jazz class at Boston University began, I was equal parts intimidated and invigorated. Anyone who has encountered her can attest: DeAnna is a force. What keeps this intense mind and body creating and performing in Boston? Read on to learn more about this incredible woman, whose tough exterior is matched only by her heart of gold.
GETTING DEEPER WITH DEANNA PELLECCHIA
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN CREATING WORK, AND IN WHAT CONTEXT?
I have been creating dances since I was 3: in my living room, in friends’ driveways, at family parties. Officially I started choreographing in college as a dance major at RWU and professionally I started choreographing in 2005, which is when KAIROS was unofficially born. I started working with a company of dancers in 2012, the OFFICIAL beginning of KAIROS.
WHAT TENDS TO BE YOUR INSPIRATION OR CATALYST FOR CREATION?
Women. The resilience of women. Trauma. Comedy. Pain. Laughter. Real things. Broken things.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE BOSTON DANCE COMMUNITY?
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE OF THE BOSTON DANCE COMMUNITY DURING THIS TIME?
I tend to keep my circle very tight. I feel safest, most nurtured, and best supported within the smaller communities I build for myself, and so, though I have been a part of the Boston Dance Community for years, I have chosen to participate in it very differently from many of the peers I grew alongside here. For me, the dance world - Boston and beyond - can feel far too driven by politics and competition. When in such an environment, I feel unable to create my best work. When those elements are stripped away, what we are left with is true and authentic dance - that feels like the answer to everything, and so I have built for myself a sub-community that does its best to focus purely on dance, movement, trust, healing, and art.
WHO/WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR COMMUNITY?
KAIROS Dance Theater and all of the magical and amazing artists who participate. Over the years, I have built a team of incredible collaborators from the fields of lighting/technical/set design, costume/fashion design, digital media, film, photography, and more. Then, of course, there are my dancers, who are my collaborators, my friends, and my family. These people provide the safety and creative stimulation that keeps me doing this dance thing, year after year.
YOUR PIECE FOR TWSS IS ABOUT FEMALE RAGE/ANGER. WHAT INSPIRED THIS PIECE? HOW HAVE YOU DECIDED TO TACKLE THIS BROAD CONCEPT?
My own rage and the rage of every woman I know. The rage of survivors. The rage of women as whole on this planet. I tackled it collaboratively with the dancers as I always do, originally through improvisation and then refining it in rehearsals by trusting the brilliance of the people there with me.
THIS IS YOUR SECOND SEASON PARTICIPATING AS A CHOREOGRAPHER IN TWSS: WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO RETURN FOR A SECOND SEASON? IN THE FIRST SEASON, YOU PARTICIPATED AS A GUEST ARTIST, AND NOW IN THE THIRD SEASON YOU ARE A COHORT CHOREOGRAPHER. WHAT GROWTH HAVE YOU NOTICED OVER TIME FOR THE PROJECT, AND HOW HAS IT FELT TO BE A PART OF THE PROJECT IN A NEW CONTEXT?
Kristin Wagner is the reason I am there. Full stop. She is part of the community I love and trust (KAIROS Dance Theater) and when she asks me to do something I do it. Additionally, the space she is making for dance artists and the way she is making it is an amazing gift to the dance community. She has been able to grow the project into an incredible opportunity - offering an amazing wealth of resources from help with grant writing to video documentation.
WHAT OTHER OPPORTUNITIES HAVE YOU BEEN GRANTED OR HAVE YOU BEEN EXPLORING LATELY IN BOSTON DANCE?
Our residency at the Dance Complex last season was a wonderful, fulfilling opportunity.
WHERE CAN WE LEARN MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK? WHAT IS ON THE DOCKET AFTER TWSS?
We are premiering FLYING FORWARD, a 30 minute piece in collaboration with New England Conservatory in April at NEC's Black Box Theater. You can learn more about this project and more at our website, on our Facebook, and on our Instagram.
WHAT SUPPORT DO YOU NEED MOST IN ORDER TO CONTINUE TO GROW AS AN ARTIST AND A MAKER?
ARTISTS LIKE DEANNA AND PROJECTS LIKE "...THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID" ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO SUPPORT WITHOUT THE FINANCIAL GENEROSITY OF INDIVIDUALS LIKE YOU. PLEASE CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION OF $5-$500 BY FEBRUARY 21 TO KEEP CREATIVITY THRIVING IN THE CITY OF BOSTON.
WRITTEN BY: KRISTIN WAGNER
Published: February 6, 2020
Photos by Olivia Moon Photography/@halfasianlens
This blog contains contributions from several women with who we are grateful to work. Head over to our TEAM page to learn more about who we are; scan our archives to learn more about what we think.
Top Cover Photo: "shell" by I.J. Chan, Image by Haley Abram Photography