Getting to Know Kora Radella

Kora Radella of boomerang recently answered some questions about her work and their upcoming performances in Brooklyn!  They'll be at the CoolNY 2014 Dance Festival on 
Friday 2/7 at 7 p.m. & Saturday 2/8 at 9 p.m.  All performances are held at the WHITE WAVE John Ryan Theatre, 25 Jay St., Brooklyn, NY and are FREE! -Nicole
photo by Mark Davis
N:  It appears that boomerang is a company of three with vastly different backgrounds. How do you create work together? Is your process collaborative? If so, what are some of the processes you've found to work well? What perhaps didn't work so well?
KR:  boomerang is comprised of myself, Kora Radella, Matty Davis, and Adrian Galvin. My work with them together started after casting them in a quintet that eventually was performed at Kennedy Center. They both had taken beginning modern dance technique class with me at Kenyon College for their first dance classes ever. Davis worked with me his junior year and Galvin joined when they were both seniors. After the quintet, we really wanted to continue working together more intensely via duets. They both had full and eclectic movement histories including a common link of aggressive roller-blading and an inherent love of motion. What I value most about them is how vulnerable they allow themselves to be in the work. That openness within our creative research offers depth and dialogue that keeps us engaged. We all contribute to the movement language for each piece. I am the choreographer of the work with input from them. I’ve also choreographed solo work in collaboration with Davis. We’re currently working on a solo that we are really excited about sharing. The three of us work well together with some adjustments of how to share feedback within the rehearsal process. The biggest challenge is that Davis and I are more enthusiastic about boomerang and making time for it to thrive. Davis does much of the administration and writing to get our work out. We are all juggling passions, schedules, locations, and responsibilities. Davis is a visual artist and Galvin is a musician with Poor Remy and Yellerkin.

photo by Mark Davis
N:  You're presenting a duet called Boomerang at the CoolNY 2014 Dance Festival. Can you tell me a bit about the piece and where it came from?
KR:  We are presenting the first duet we made together, Boomerang, like our company but with a capital B at CoolNY 2014. For that duet, one of the things I had been thinking about was putting what one would normally be at the end of the piece, right at the beginning instead. Thus, they start out thrashing and shaking, which is reminiscent of Davis on the dance floor at a party! This compact duet shows the breadth of their abilities as movers in exciting ways while allowing an empathetic relationship to develop in front of the viewers’ eyes.

We are also super excited about premiering our first evening length performance entitled Shred January 31st at 7:30 p.m. at the beautiful IrondaleCenter (85 S Oxford St., Fort Greene, Brooklyn) as part of the dance festival FLICfest 2014.

N:  You are also part of a company called Double-Edge Dance. I love the idea of a company formed by a choreographer and musician equally. Can you tell me a little about how you guys work together? How did you meet?
KR:  Double-Edge Dance was co-founded by myself and composer/saxophonist, Ross Feller. During the process of the first piece we made together, he noted that I was having much more influence on the music than he was on the dancing. He had come into the studio and recorded the dancers rhythms and all sorts of things. After that observation, I had him come into the studio and fall all different ways via his own methods. I then learned his falls, made a phrase of them and taught them to the cast. He hasn’t really complained about that imbalance of influence anymore, perhaps because he doesn’t want to be asked to fall over and over again anymore! We work all different ways depending on the project but most often I work without music during at least the first third of my rehearsal process. We both are also improvisers within our own art forms so we often have set works juxtaposed with improvised pieces in our programs. We enjoyed that most recently in our October ’13 show at Roulette in Brooklyn.
photo by Mark Davis

N:  People in the arts often develop strong mentor/mentee relationships. Did/do you have a mentor throughout your career? Do you have a person or people that you have taken the mentorship role for now that you're a more established artist? How do you feel those relationships change your work?KR:  I have moved around too much to have a really strong mentor. I was fortunate to study with Bessie Schoenberg one summer. She saw a private showing of my solo work and was surprised at how it contrasted with how fun loving she observed me to be in my social interactions. She surmised that I was afraid showing my humor in my choreography would make me lose powerful performances. She locked eyes with me and said, “It is impossible for you to lose your edge.” I’ll never forget that, though I don’t tend to do lighthearted fun pieces still! I was lucky to go to SNDO (School for New Dance Development) in Amsterdam and create work in that city for four years. That was a big growth time for me as was when I lived in Brussels and Basel. I think the influence of those places and the fact that art is like food there versus something extra, was really helpful (though frustrating in that art is not treated the same way in America usually). There are a few dance artists who ask me to give them feedback and keep in close contact with me. I enjoy that process. One of the ways mentoring changes my work is that through offering feedback, I articulate ideas I often find problematic in my own work and art form. Such dialogue helps me examine and deconstruct underlying assumptions to get more breadth of choice and clarity.

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