1. RIDER UNIVERSITY GUEST CHOREOGRAPHER
2021 marked my third year choreographing for Rider Dances as a Guest Choreographer at Rider University. While Rider Dances 2020 remains one of my last in-person performances pre-pandemic shutdown, Rider Dances 2021 was 100% virtual. Rather than create a traditional screendance, I employed my newfound 360 videography editing skills to create a new virtual reality work titled Kaleidoscope. This short, 360-degree VR dance experience celebrates diversity and individuality, while reuniting dancers across multiple continents, time zones, and Covid quarantine statuses. You can experience Kaleidoscope in 360 here.
2. THE TIME TRAVELER'S LENS
On April 19, 2021 (Patriot's Day), I launched The Time Traveler's Lens—my first AR/VR immersive performance illuminating the history of the colonnade ruins at Princeton Battlefield State Park in Princeton, NJ. Serving as both my MFA thesis work and Luminarium's 2021 Cultural Community Outreach Project, The Time Traveler's Lens invites parkgoers and remote viewers to experience five 360-degree extended reality (XR) films that merge history, technology, and contemporary dance into an immersive performance unfolding around them. As a former historical interpreter at Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House (Concord MA) and Paul Revere House (Boston MA), I am thrilled that this work is now a permanent feature of Princeton Battlefield State Park per invitation of the NJ State Park Service. Whether you're a Jersey local or on the other side of the globe, I invite you to experience The Time Traveler's Lens's five 360-degree XR films here.
3. PRESENTER: OUR WORLD HERITAGE & HARVARD UNIVERSITY
April was a busy month. Not only did The Time Traveler's Lens become accessible to the public both onsite in Princeton NJ and remotely elsewhere, but I was invited to present on the work twice. I first presented "Heritage in Motion" at Our World Heritage's international Globinar 2.0, discussing my MFA research and decade of interdisciplinary work with dance and historic preservation in relation to my annual Cultural Community Outreach Project and The Time Traveler’s Lens. The presentation resulted in meaningful dialogues with organizations in California, Connecticut, Canada, and Benin (West Africa) to discuss possibilities for collaboration between my work and their own historic sites. I next presented “The Time Traveler's Lens: Using AR/VR and Choreographic Tools to Enliven Historic Ruins” for Harvard University Virtual/Augmented Reality (HUV/AR), a group of staff and faculty who are all exploring 360-degree, 3D, and immersive spaces at Harvard University. Again, the presentation has since resulted in fascinating dialogues with researchers at the university.
4. NEW YORK CITY ELECTROACOUSTIC MUSIC FESTIVAL COMMISSION
Also in April 2021, I created a new screendance film. Dance with Violoncello and Electronics was written by composer and colleague Melika M. Fitzhugh as a music/choreography collaboration with me back in 2017. The piece was reworked for film this spring, with myself as performer and played by internationally-acclaimed cellist Madeleine Shapiro. The film made its international debut at the prestigious New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (2021), and was additionally screened as part of the international Global Water Dances event (2021). Choreographically, this work explores the quiet existence of water as it relates to community and ecosystem, performed in relationship to a manmade pond in central New Jersey, USA. Although manmade, this pond serves as a life force for wildlife ranging from deer to herons to water striders, and is a daily sanctuary for its human neighbors as well. Here, dance and sound echo the essence of this body of water—at times tumultuous, at others serene.
5. MASTER OF FINE ARTS, DANCE
In May, I officially defended my thesis and received my MFA in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. My thesis explores what I have termed as the “palimpsest of self.” The term palimpsest originally refers to writing that has been rubbed out, yet traces of it remain. My creative and scholarly research investigates the notion that self can be viewed as a layered entity, much like how tree rings or rock striations illustrate a visual history or palimpsest of the whole. My current research expands on this by examining past identities of an historic site, while employing a combination of site-specific choreography, film, and 360-degree virtual/extended reality tools to create a viewing experience that is both immersive and co-produced between the participant and myself.
A huge thank you goes out to all the faculty, staff, and dancers who were involved in my thesis work; to my cohort-mates for their camaraderie; and to the incredible family and friends who attended my defense for their virtual support—thank you!
6. CHASING LIGHT EXHIBITION
July through August, I was thrilled to have my choreography like mercury in the palm of my hand included in Gallery 263's regional exhibition Chasing Light, which featured the work of 31 artists from across New England who utilize light as material or subject matter. This show was juried by Leah Triplett Harrington, curator for Now + There and editor-at-large of Boston Art Review. My 2019 duet like mercury began as an artistic abstraction of the “Janus molecule,” whose rare properties make it both medicinal and lethal. It has since grown to encompass the Panoptic nature of the microscope, observing versus being observed, and the implications of exposure. The piece is performed by Luminarium artists Victoria Kreutzer and Karina McKenna.
7. KINETIC JOURNAL: TANZANIA
In August, I was fortunate to travel across Tanzania with local big cat biologist Sosy Maira (The Wild Source) creating a series of site-specific screendances in response to the ecosystems of Tarangire, Ngorongoro, and Serengeti National Parks. These "kinetic journal" entries take inspiration from the parks' landscapes, inhabitants, and daily events. All but one are now complete—stay tuned for their official release in 2022!
8. RIDER DANCE DAY
I was delighted to present my work with dance and technology at this year's Rider Dance Day—an annual event for current and prospective students at Rider University. Speaking alongside my impressive colleague Yoshi Tanokura, my presentation focused on the work I created on Rider students earlier that year (Kaleidoscope) using 360-degree videography and editing. As always, it was a joy to watch viewers engage with this virtual reality work, as their movements while twisting and turning to watch were equally choreographic in nature!
9. INTERNATIONAL FILM AWARDS & SCREENINGS
In the past, I would have listed each of these international film screenings as its own top-ten achievement, but 2021 was rich with film festivals both here and abroad. Instead, I'll consolidate them into one, noting that my films made their Japanese, Indian, and Georgian debuts this year, in addition to a myriad of other exciting screenings around the globe. Also of note, The One I Keep was awarded “Best Experimental of 2020” and For you, to mentor me was awarded “Best Art Narrative of 2020” at Teknochat Festivals’ VIP Fest: Best of 2020 in Barcelona, Spain, and Resistencia, Argentina, at the start of 2021!
The One I Keep and What seems so is transition, 7ArtsCafe Women in Dance Film Festival – Yokohama, Japan
For you, to mentor me, Visualis Film Festival – St. Petersburg, Russia
like mercury in the palm of my hand in Chasing Light, Gallery 263 – Cambridge MA
In Revolution, Show Up & Dance – Verona NJ
Dance with Violoncello and Electronics, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival – New York City NY
Dance with Violoncello and Electronics, Global Water Dances – International event
Passage, Crown Wood International Film Festival – Kolkata, India
The One I Keep, Circe Dance Film Exhibition – Tbilisi, Georgia
For you, to mentor me and The One I Keep, Teknochat Festivals’ VIP Fest: Best of 2020 – Barcelona, Spain, and Resistencia, Argentina
“Best Art Narrative of 2020” Film Award (For you, to mentor me)
“Best Experimental of 2020” Film Award (The One I Keep)
For you, to mentor me, Sensus Film Festival – St. Petersburg, Russia
10. FROM PROFESSION TO PROFESSOR
Having taught master classes across the Northeast over the past decade and acted as a Guest Choreographer at various universities, I'm no stranger to working with students in higher education. Yet, to be hired as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at both Rutgers University and Rider University in 2021 to teach full semester-long courses on choreography, I found myself deeply fulfilled. I feel honored that these institutions view me as someone capable of this role. The students I worked with across both semesters were open and eager to learn. I so enjoyed helping these students further their own choreographic voices through this process, and look forward to future opportunities to help young choreographers navigate their artistic paths and grow. Thank you to my students for your willingness to experiment, laugh, and dig deep! (Above: My Rider students with my famous pup Banksy!)
And that's a wrap! Here's to another year of "not accomplishing anything professionally" in 2022!