I first saw Angie's and Becca's work at Dancing Queerly in 2018. I'm not even sure they had graduated from college yet, but I was intrigued by their clear connection and chemistry onstage. Their work was so fluid, so intimate, and maintained such a clear voice - I felt like I knew them already. I invited them to be a part of Mind the Gap, an interdisciplinary performance I hosted at Green Street Studios last season, and was once again impressed by the seamlessness with which they dance together. Over the course of this season of ...that's what she said, I have been impressed over and over by their drive, their work ethic, their thirst for learning and growing, and their clear commitment to their craft. They have been everything I could ever want an artist in this cohort to be. Get to know them a little deeper, and I am sure you will fall in love, too.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN CREATING AND IN WHAT CONTEXT?
AB/RL: We've been creating work together for about 4 years - primarily through the dance program at Salem State University. After graduating, we continued to create work in the Greater Boston area for events including Salem Arts Festival, Dancing Queerly, The Festival of Us, OnStage 360, and Mind the Gap.
WHAT TENDS TO BE YOUR INSPIRATION OR CATALYST FOR CREATION?
AB/RL: We're often inspired by the art we consume - our friends, our mentors, and strangers inspire us everyday whether it's at a performance, a museum, or in the community.
RL: Honestly, I've been really interested in how all different types of people are involved in the Boston dance community. Because I'm not primarily a dancer, I love seeing how inclusive the environment can be, especially in projects like Kristin's. Experiencing the array of perspectives based on their lived knowledge makes me feel comfortable.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE BOSTON DANCE COMMUNITY?
AB/RL: We've been involved in the Boston dance community since we began college (5ish years). So many of Salem State's professor's have been involved in the Boston dance community - Jenna Pollack, Meghan McLyman, and Betsy Miller (to name a few).
DURING YOUR TIME IN THE BOSTON DANCE COMMUNITY, WHAT HAVE YOU NOTICED ARE STRENGTHS OF THE COMMUNITY? WHAT ARE WEAKNESSES? DO YOU FEEL APART OF THE COMMUNITY?
RL: I like that I can go into a classroom and see all different types of bodies and people moving together. Though I wish there were more affordable ways to be involved with the dance community - and that our economy supported the arts better.
AB: I think one of the strengths and weaknesses of our community is how incestuous it can be. Once we form bonds with each other it's life long and deep. However, it can also keep us in certain circles, rather than branching out to others. At large I feel a part of the Boston dance community. However, certain spaces feel more welcoming than others. I like seeing people like me. I'm queer, fat, and biracial - I don't like being in environments where everyone looks the same.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR COMMUNITY?
AB: Lately, I have been more involved with the queer dance community. I have been teaching for Jo Troll's queer dance workshops and meeting folks with all levels of dance experience.
RL: My community consists of friends and colleagues from dance and social work. My goal is to incorporate dance into my therapeutic practice.
YOUR PIECE FOR TWSS IS ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP. FROM WHAT LENS ARE YOUR APPROACHING THIS INTIMATE SUBJECT MATERIAL, AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE AROUND THIS CONCEPT?
AB/RL: Dance is the third member of our relationship. It's how we came out to Angie's family, it's how we said I love you for the first time, it's how we communicate everyday - it felt natural to dance about our relationship.
IN THE SECOND SEASON OF TWSS, YOU PARTICIPATED AS GUEST ARTSITS IN A SMALL INTERDISCIPLINARY EVENT LEADING UP TO THE MAIN SHOW. WHAT ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE MADE YOU WANT TO SIGN ON TO BE A PART OF THE MAIN COHORT THIS SEASON?
AB/RL: We wanted to be a part of the cohort to be a part of this community of women. We've seen most of their work before and we wanted the opportunity to receive feedback from them. Another big part is that we always feel valued when Kristin curates a performance. She is thoughtful about who she invites and works hard to pay her artists.
WHAT HAS BEEN MOST GRATIFYING ABOUT THIS CURRENT SEASON OF TWSS?
AB/RL: Naturally, we feel nervous going into a showing or rehearsal with other people - especially when we're showing a work that's so intimate. However, we always leave showings feeling validated and encouraged to keep exploring our movement. Working with all types of women in different stages of their career has been so amazing - we love being able to receive feedback from so many perspectives.
WHAT OTHER OPPORTUNITIES HAVE YOU BEEN GRANTED OR HAVE YOU BEEN EXPLORING LATELY?
AB/RL: Lately, I've been exploring arts administration and social media management through an internship with Peter DiMuro / Public Displays of Motion and my job at Salem State's Center for the Arts. This past year I've also been able to teach a variety of Queer Dance Workshops to adults of all levels and locally to children at small studios.
WHERE CAN WE LEARN MORE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR WORK? WHAT COMES AFTER TWSS?
Upcoming Queer Dance Workshops: https://jotroll.wordpress.com/queer-dance-workshops/
RL: I am finishing grad school and finding a position as a social worker.
AB: I will be performing an improvisational score with a quartet at AS220 in Providence, RI this April in the Emerging Artists Showcase.
WHAT SUPPORT DO YOU NEED MOST IN ORDER TO CONTINUE TO GROW AS ARTISTS AND MAKERS?
The continued emotional support from our family, friends, fellow artists, and our mentors. As teachers we're grateful to have resources - like studio space at our fingertips. We need to keep having resources like space and opportunities to show our work. We also grow from having conversations about art with other artists and with people who may not consider themselves artists.
written by kristin wagner
Published March 3, 2020
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