Getting to Know Kayla Feist

This fall we presented Project 7.19 under the direction of Nikki Sao Pedro-Welch. She partnered with costume designer Kayla Feist. Here are Kayla's thoughts on why she wanted to work on this project and how she developed her designs. - Nicole

by Kayla Feist

I am working with Nikki on this project because of my personal interest in the witch trails, spirituality, and feminism. I consider myself a pagan; therefore the stereotypical assumptions associated with witches directly affect me. I practice the Wiccan tradition, blended with some shamanic traditions to form my own spiritual practice that feels scared and whole. While teaching myself about the traditions of pagan spiritualities and developing my own practice, part of my research during my first semester at Goddard College was looking into the witch trials. The sheer number of women accused, and the torture they were put through is a prime example of sexism and white male domination in the country. Though we do not currently hang and burn witches today, this domination still exists and the sensitivity remains.

During our first meeting I measured the dancers wrists and necks, not their waists. It was important for me to create costumes that not only conveyed the symbolism of restraint within the piece, but to name that female body image had and still has a direct reflect on de-humanizing and victimizing of abuse against women. I hope that when the dancers put on the costume pieces and perform with them that they will convey the message of struggle that women went through during the times of the witch trails, as well as the struggle that women still face today being dominated by men, the government, and pressures of the media.

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