2019 BESSIE NOMINEE: Shamar Watt

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Pod de Deux interviewed Shamar Watt as part of a series of interviews with five 2019 NYC Bessie Award nominees. Shamar was nominated for a Bessie for Sustained Achievement in the work of Nora Chipaumire. We hope to do a full-length interview with him in the future!

Shamar Watt is an artist born in Kingston, Jamaica, he was raised in both Jamaica and Miami, FL. He received his AA in psychology, and a BFA in Dance at FSU. What drives Watt as an artist is the quest to fill in the blank spots of history by projecting and manifesting the potential of the possible past-futures/futures alike. He uses the Body as a weapon to manifest the powers vested in him to attain emancipation and liberation of the whole self – mind, body and soul for himself, the people, and for all mankind, through sound waves, gravitational waves, spirit waves. He is also deeply invested in the potentiality/impossibility of bridging the divide of the old/new African. Watt has researched and performed with Nora Chipaumire since 2015, in Zimbabwe and internationally. Watt continues to work on his own craft as an emerging choreographer/sound engineer. He has been performing and presenting his own work professionally for 3 years. His work has been presented in secular venues and at sacred happenings frequently. Shamar Watt was a 2018 Bessie nominee, and also elected as one of 2019 top 25 to watch from Dance Magazine!

2019 BESSIE NOMINEE: Molly Poerstel

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Pod de Deux interviewed Molly Poerstel as part of a series of interviews with five 2019 NYC Bessie Award nominees. Molly was nominated for a Bessie for Sustained Achievement with Hilary Clark, David Dorfman, Jeanine Durning, Alex Escalante, Juliana F. May, Susan Rethorst, Roseanne Spradlin, and Larissa Velez-Jackson. Molly talked about her experience dancing for a range of artists and how these artists have influenced her artistry and creative process. She talked about Jeanine Durning’s “inging,” among others.  We hope to do a full-length interview with her in the future! *Note that when Molly refers to Abrons’ underground theater, she is referring to the fact that the theater is not a proscenium theater. 

Molly Poerstel is a dance artist whose dance career spans twenty years.  As a performer she has collaborated with Ivy Baldwin, David Dorfman Dance Company (05-09), Jeanine Durning, Alex Escalante, Juliana F. May, Susan Rethorst, Roseanne Spradlin, and Larissa Velez-Jackson, among others. Poerstel has taught at SUNY Purchase Dance Conservatory, the Dalton School and The Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School.  She was a 2015 Movement Research Artist-in-Residence and is a 2018 BAX Parent Space Grant Recipient. Her choreographic works include: Are we a Fossil, and of Facings (2016), Stolen Grounds (2014), The Highlands (2014), Hungry Ghost (2013) and Do Beast (2012).  She is currently in process making bottom feeder, which premieres at Abrons Arts Center in 2020. mollypoerstel.com

2019 BESSIE NOMINEE: Caleb Teicher

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Pod de Deux interviewed Caleb Teicher as part of a series of interviews with five 2019 NYC Bessie Award nominees. Caleb was nominated for a Bessie for outstanding production in More Forever Guggenheim Works & Process. We hope to do a full-length interview with him in the future!

Caleb Teicher began his dance career as a founding member of Michelle Dorrance’s celebrated company, Dorrance Dance, in 2011. Other favorite performance credits include The Chase Brock Experience, Syncopated City Dance Company, The Bang Group, Sally Silvers & Dancers, and West Side Story (Int’l Tour and London).

Since founding Caleb Teicher and Company (CT&Co) in 2015, Teicher’s creative work has expanded to engagements and commissions from The Joyce Theater, New York City Center, Works & Process @ The Guggenheim, The Kennedy Center (with Ben Folds & the National Symphony Orchestra), “Regina Spektor on Broadway”, and many others. 

Caleb is a 2019 New York City Center Choreographic Fellow, a 2019 Bessie Award Nominee for Outstanding Breakout Choreographer, one of Dance Magazine’s 2012 “25 to Watch”, and a 2011 Bessie Award Winner for Outstanding Individual Performance. His work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, NPR, Forbes, Dance Magazine, Vogue, and Interview Magazine.

Caleb continues to engage with dance communities as an instructor at international Tap and Jazz Dance festivals. He is a proud alum of the School at Jacob’s Pillow and the National YoungArts Foundation.

WE WERE MAKING A LOT OF NOISE: John Kelly

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Jessica and Clara interviewed choreographer, dancer, actor, and director, John Kelly, in between rehearsals for his work “Underneath the Skin,” premiering at NYU Skirball this weekend, October 11th & 12th! John took us through his constellation of muses, influences, and inspiration through the years, from his first sighting of baby ballerina on the Ed Sullivan Show, to Nureyev and Fontaine dancing Romeo and Juliette on television, to his training at ABT, followed by the Harkness School with David Howard – and then on to his chats with Gelsey Kirkland, working with Charles Weidman, painting portraits as an artist, watching punk drag queens at Pyramid, and dancing with Larry Ray’s original Trockadero company, the Cockettes. Through this journey, John talked about how he became drawn to art with physicality and expressionism.  For his upcoming show, “Underneath the Skin,” we learned about John’s process of weaving Samuel Steward’s writings, life story, and LGBT history into the theatrical narrative and rich visual design while paying homage to Steward’s heros, Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde. (more…)

THE STAKES ARE HIGH: Jenn Freeman

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Jessica and Clara talked to Jenn Freeman, a choreographer, artistic director of Freemove Dance, and prolific teacher of contemporary dance. Jenn shared how she developed her theatrical and highly physical style of dance while traversing multiple dance worlds from modern dance in academia to contemporary style in the dance convention circuit. She talked about how it all started with a chance encounter with Mia Michaels and led to more exciting opportunities and connections. She also shared her insider view on how the convention dance world has changed over time and how it has been positively impacting enrollment in academic dance programs. (more…)

I WANT TO ERASE BOUNDARIES: Anabella Lenzu

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Jessica sat down with Argentinian dance and dance-theater artist Anabella Lenzu to discuss her impressive body of work and philosophies on life and art. Not only a dancer and choreographer, but also an author and dedicated teacher, Anabella had in-depth perspectives to share on a wide range of topics, including the inseparability of life and creative work; the impacts of technology and social media; how the US and South America differ in their approaches to dance and dance pedagogy; and the process of helping her students find focus and make life choices in an ever-present sea of distractions. Anabella emphasized the importance of maintaining curiosity as an artist and dissolving the often restrictive boundaries between disciplines, communities, individuals and more. Her own enthusiasm for her work was a pleasure to experience! Keep your eyes peeled for Annabella’s second book, “Teaching Dance through Meaningful Gestures,” in 2020. (more…)

DANCING IS THE ONLY WAY TO STAY YOUNG: Pooja Uberoi

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In this episode of Pod de Deux podcast, Clara and Jessica sat down with dancer, curator and Bollywood choreographer, Pooja Uberoi. Pooja shared how Bollywood has changed over recent years to incorporate a range of styles including Indian classical dance, jazz, and hip-hop. She is organizing this year’s New York City Dance Week, a 10-day dance festival that partners with studios across NYC to give back to the community. Pooja also curates Funkar (Urdu for “artist within you”), a performance night of diverse contemporary and traditional dance that takes place every month at Dixon place. Pooja talked about her passion for helping artists find a platform, which led her to start Artists East West in 2018 to represent Indian artists abroad. Jessica and Clara also asked her about the dance form she developed, BollyJazz, which combines Bollywood and Jazz. You can find Pooja and Bollyjazz at multiple studios throughout NYC. Finally, Pooja talked about IkiGAI – USA, a multifaceted company that works with artists to help them monetize and make money from various crafts. (more…)