Putting Choreographers In the Spotlight
The dual opportunity that Miami Open Stage allows emerging choreographers is a rare one, given that it showcases their work but also puts them in the spotlight, testing their mettle to answer questions from inquiring audience members.
The annual event is hosted by Dance Now! Miami at the Little Haiti Cultural Center. Two of the featured choreographers, Chris Rudd and Angela Fegers, share their experience.
AB: How did you feel about being chosen to participate in Miami Open Stage, and how did you decide which choreographed dance you would present?
CR: I was really excited to bring work to Miami from New York City. I chose this piece in particular so my dancer Kristina Zaidner could perform it for her grandfather, who will be 102 in April and was in the audience. It was a very emotional experience for the two of us.
AF: I was very excited to be selected as a participant for Miami Open Stage. After thinking about a piece for submission, it felt appropriate for me to send “Alapse.” This piece was created for Dylan, an ex-classmate of mine at New World School of the Arts. When I found out that [the directors of Dance Now!] were Dylan’s first dance teachers, I knew that I made the right choice. I was even fortunate enough to have Dylan come and sit in the audience with me while my dancers performed this piece inspired by his tragic motorcycle accident a couple of years ago. It was a full-circle moment that I wCR:ill never forget.
AB: What did it feel like being up on stage and being put on the spot to answer questions about your work?
CR: I suffer from stage fright, always have and always will I imagine. In time I became really comfortable being on the spot, and I know being able to speak about my work intelligently is something I must learn. The same way I learned to dance, it takes practice and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
AF: I was a little nervous at first, but I generally do not have a problem with public speaking. Most of the anxiety was from the lights and not being able to see who I was directing an answer to. This was my first time participating in a Q and A session and I will remember it as a stepping stone to gaining knowledge about being able to do things like this in the future. I was actually excited for the questions, it is interesting to me to know what stuck out to audience members and what they were interested in asking me for answers.
AB: Overall, what did you take away from being part of Miami Open Stage. What words of wisdom can you share for other emerging choreographers out there who are considering auditioning?
CR: To anyone considering auditioning, DO IT! It never hurts to try. Any opportunity to get feedback is a good opportunity. Also, to be able to put your work on a real stage at no cost is a miracle, take advantage of it. My take away is that the Miami dance scene is alive and well. I can’t wait for more chances to bring my work home.
AF: I think participating in Miami Open Stage was a great step towards the future for me. “Alapse” is the second piece I have ever choreographed and I was very grateful to be able to show my work to the Miami public, outside of New World School of the Arts. Since I am graduating college this year, I know that it was great timing to put myself out there. If I had any advice for future participants… it would be to just go for it. Always apply for opportunities because you never know how this could help you along the way in making new connections. Plus, presenting your work for free is a rare event and something that should be taken advantage of.