Artwork inspires modern dance
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 22:04
Rachel Klein ’12 was inspired by feminist artist Kiki Smith’s “Lucy’s Daughters,” to create an interactive dance piece for the upcoming Festival of the Arts. “Lucy’s Daughters” mimics the standard design for a family tree, but replaces names with small, faceless figures in varying shades of gray and black. Klein and her dancers will debut their piece, titled “Rivers are Lost in the Sea” on Friday at 4 p.m. outside the Foster Wing of the Rose Art Museum. “Lucy’s Daughters” is on display in the Lois Foster Gallery of the Rose in the Collecting Stories exhibit.
JustArts: What inspired you to create this kind of dance work?
Rachel Klein: I saw that the Office of the Arts was accepting applications for the Festival, and I really wanted to do something because I’ve loved being a part of all the stuff at Festival of the Arts, just being a participant, but I never had my own project. I can’t do anything in the visual arts, nothing like that. So I thought that I would do a dance. And they wanted it to connect to the Rose in some way, and I work at the Rose. This [Kiki Smith] work was one piece that I had looked at a lot. I thought it was really interesting and that I could take a lot out of it.
JA: When did you begin working on the piece?
RK: The application process took place last semester, in the fall, so that’s when I began.
JA: How did you go about creating the dance? Did you first cast the performers or first create the choreography?
RK: Well, there are two other dancers and me in the piece. I started with the cast and then from there I worked on choreographing and incorporating all the different ideas I had to tie it back into the artwork.
JA: Have you choreographed before, or was this a new experience for you?
RK: I went to a high school for performing arts, and I was in the dance department, so I’ve been choreographing my own stuff since ninth grade. But this is probably going to be my last time. I’m really grateful that I had one last opportunity to do some choreography.
JA: Have you been involved in other dance pieces at Brandeis?
RK: Yeah, I was part of Adagio for a bit, and I’ve also done Liquid Latex.
JA: Can you describe what kind of dance your piece is?
RK: It’s modern dance, so there’s nothing very technical. It probably wouldn’t be the same experience as going to see a ballet or a jazz performance; there’re no real moves that you can name. Instead, there’s a lot of movement and working with the different props we’re going to have. It’s more about emotions and being aware of your body.
JA: What kind of props are you going to be using?
RK: It’s a surprise.
JA: Where does the piece’s title come from and how does it relate to the dance itself?
RK: It’s a quote I find by Theodore Roosevelt. I was looking for quotes about water, but this quote specifically spoke to me because the Kiki Smith work, the way I interpret it, is about a family tree, and the way that individuals tie in together to make a larger group like a family, including our ancestors and the way we’re all connected. And this quote, “Rivers running into the sea”: It’s all about how smaller bodies of water trickle down into larger bodies of water.
JA: When people come to see this work what do you expect them to take away from it?
RK: I hope that they enjoy it. I hope that they feel inspired and hopefully moved a little bit. Not just to enjoy watching other people, but to feel that they too can dance and be a part of the art. I don’t want it to be something where it’s just the dancers and the audience, but something that incorporates everybody. And I think that’s what the Festival of the Arts is really about, engaging the whole community.
A lot of times dance can be turned into more of a sport or a competition, and I hope that this piece is a chance to show people that dance really is an art and it’s a way of expressing emotion. Hopefully that comes across.
JA: Have you related at all to the Art Activates theme? Have you seen your own work relating to that on a larger level?
RK: Definitely. We’re a dance piece inspired by a work of art at the Rose. The idea for the piece is to take something that’s a physical object and make it into movement. So it’s like we’re activating the artwork.