Art / Feminism / Society & Culture

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Dancer Lindsey Weaving

Dancer Lindsey Weaving likes to test boundaries—but she stays classy about it. Staying true to the art comes before absurd outrageousness, and we agree 100%. This fiery New Yorker has been dancing all her life and has pulled off some creative maneuvers along the way. Multimedia projects with indie bands? You go, girl. We’re all eyes and ears on this innovative artist’s pursuit.

Photo Courtesy of Keith Baraclough

Photo Courtesy of Keith Baraclough

When did you know that you were meant to be a dancer? How did your journey start?

Well, I started taking ballet classes when I was four, but I didn’t really think it was what I would do with my life until I was about nineteen.  I went to a state college in New Hampshire and majored in philosophy for a year.  I took the dance classes that they offered there, and just knew immediately that I needed to transfer to a school where I could study dance full time.  It took not dancing very regularly and feeling a big hole in my life to realize that I wanted to dedicate myself to it. Before that, it was never a decision for me, it was just what I did everyday.

And who are some performers that inspire you? Choreographers?

It’s funny because most of my favorite perfomers are people that I am friends with.  I, of course, recognize the beauty and creativity of more famous artists, like Sylvie Guillem, or the choreographic wonder of Theresa Dekiersmaker of Rosas Dans Rosas, but having a personal connection with an artist or a performer always really does it for me.  Knowing who made it makes a piece more real for me.  When I went to The New School I got the opportunity to work with a choreographer named Juliana May.  Being able to dance in one of her pieces was incredibly inspiring for me.  Her artistic process was like a therapy session where all the dancers had to violently tear off their skin and bleed for each other.  I hope that I can someday be able to invoke such raw emotions in my work.

Creating a performance piece doesn’t look easy—what’s your process like? 

I use a lot of improvisation in my creative process.  I generally will just improvise to music that I like in front of a mirror and sort of stop to realize the things I do that I find interesting at the time.  I am drawn to the different and to the grotesque in movement.  When I find myself doing a movement that I haven’t seen before, I am most satisfied.  I also like to test the bodies physical limitations.  Sometimes when I am choreographing in my mind or on paper, the hardest part is the next step, where I find that humans can’t execute most of the movement I want, so then I modify from there.

Which styles interest you the most? Why?

I am most interested in the art form that exists between the pure form and performance art.  I like to test boundaries and to be weird, but I like those things to remain within the dance. It’s difficult in New York, when it seems like everyone is just trying to out-weird everyone else.  I don’t like to use props or nudity, or body paint, which is very popular right now. I want the movement to be weird, not the naked mannequin with a poem written on it.

You have a formal training in dance. What are some more bizarre areas of movement that you’ve studied?

My time at The New School definitely proves to be the most bizarre time yet.  I have studied many dance and movement forms, but the classes that I have taken that have been most bizarre are always improvisation classes.  People are weirder than forms.

Photo courtesy of Lang Arts

Photo courtesy of Lang Arts

What are some highlights of your career thus far?

I’m not sure my career has even started!  I think a highlight in my past few months was just realizing how important collaboration is to me.  I am really not interested in making dance by myself.  My good friend, and amazing choreographer and dancer, Sophie Bromberg, and I have spent a lot of time choreographing together, and I’ve realized that art can be much more meaningful when it’s an effort between people.  Not just other dancers, but collaborations between visual artists and musicians as well.

What are you working on now? Solo projects and/or collaborations.

My current project is a collaboration between myself, Sophie Bromberg, and the indie pop band Tiny Hazard.  They have a show coming up that required a multimedia element, and asked me to choreograph a piece to their set.  I asked Sophie to choreograph with me, and it has been a really amazing process.  It’s rare that I come to make a piece of work with music in mind before any of the dance is made.  I also feel freedom in this project because the audience is coming to a rock show, so I don’t have to cater to a “dance audience.”  Meaning, I have the freedom to be more cliche than usual.

Your career is very physically demanding. What do you do to keep in shape? Any pro-tips for us?

It’s really difficult to keep in shape after college, because dance classes are so expensive to take individually.  I ride my bike everywhere and do yoga mostly.  Also, the best exercise to stay in shape is dancing regularly.

Where would you like to go with your career next? What’s on the horizon for you?

I am most interested in choreography right now.  Performing is awesome, but what I find most rewarding is being creative in the studio, and not passing up opportunities when they come.  I also really love performing at music events.  Generally, when people see music, they can relax and have a drink and enjoy, whereas, a lot of times seeing dance can really be work for the audience.  I find music audiences much less stuffy.  So, I guess the short answer to this question is that I’m not sure!

What’s some advice you’d have for aspiring dancers? 

Mostly just to keep your instrument (body) well tuned, and to remember why you started in the first place.  It’s a really difficult art form to pursue, so don’t let it stop being fun for you.

Image: Keith Baraclough

—-
Renée Aubern is a California born, New York bred poet, writer of songs, and kook. Constantly on the move, she documents the world around her in photographs and notebook scribbles. @reneeaubern

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