by Samantha Mullens
The piece that Monkeyhouse created for Dance in the Fells consisted of five sections, each with a different choreographer(s). Nikki's section was performed by Aisha and two recent Endicott College graduates Brianna Unsworth and Samantha Mullen. They each shared their thoughts with us on the experience. Here's what Samantha had to say. - Nicole
Dance at the Fells ended up being much more than just a performance; it was an eye opening experience. When I agreed to be a part of Nikki's piece, I thought it would just be learning her set choreography and rehearsing it. I had a perception that the performance would be just like the ensemble class at Endicott College. Prior to beginning the piece, I also hated improvisation, as I believed I wasn't good enough for it. The way that Nikki introduced the improvisation that would be used in her piece made me nervous; being water was difficult. My idea of stormy water is different from Bri's idea whose is different from Nikki's. I realized through the processes of putting the piece together that having my own style of improvisation is a good thing. In fact, it is what makes dance interesting. The first time we rehearsed at the performance site, I became more comfortable, and excited to be doing site-specific work. The evolution of the piece was also inspiring. It was the first time I had ever been a part of a company performance where it was out-of-the-box, strange, and beautiful. Painting the unitards helped me get into the mindset of being part of nature, not to mention that it was extremely fun to get painted. Working with other members of the company helped strengthen my commitment to my movement and really embrace whatever my body was doing. By the date of the performance, I had a better grasp on the dynamics of my movement, committing to the moment, and submerging myself into my character. Although it would have been much more enjoyable dancing in warm weather, the changing scenery made for a perfect placement for the story that was told. Looking back, it was a learning experience to find out what I truly like about dance, what I'm good at, and why it's okay to be quirky. It was a breath of fresh air to have viewers appreciate the art that was created instead of students who don't like what they don't understand instantly. I am extremely appreciative to be included in Monkeyhouse's performance.