Choreographer Spotlight: Alaina Andersen Part II
Earlier in 2020, Alaina debuted her first-ever choreographic work, Tang as part of MCB’s To Miami, With Love pop-up series to critical and audience acclaim. We caught up with the burgeoning choreographer and current MCB corps de ballet dancer to discuss her newest project Fire, premiering at the Norton Museum of Art on September 24th as part of the museum’s For the Record: Celebrating Women in Art exhibition. The performance marks the company’s first Palm Beach engagement since February 2020’s Firebird program at the Kravis Center.
Tell us how this project at the Norton came to be?
Lourdes reached out to me about a possible opportunity to choreograph for Norton’s Art After Dark event later this September. It is in coordination with an exhibition celebrating women in art throughout history from the 1800s through the present time. I’m honored to be able to take part in a celebration of something so important.
Can you describe the work and who is dancing it?
Fire is a casual, sneaker ballet, pas de deux that Adrienne Carter and Nicole Stalker will be dancing. It is a queer-oriented duet that I envisioned portraying a range of emotions involving womanhood and all the joys and sorrows that come with it.
Have you selected music? If so, what is the name of the artist and song selection?
They will be dancing to two Waxahatchee songs entitled Fire and St. Cloud.
Why did you choose this piece of music?
Naturally, for this exhibit, I wanted to choose a piece of music composed by a woman. We don’t typically dance to music with a vocal component, and I thought that Katie Crutchfield’s breathy voice with a slight twang spoke to the simplicity of the movement I wanted to create. Her Southern roots are apparent in her music and I felt like it spoke to the unequal struggle women endure in our patriarchal society.
What do you hope the audience experiences when they see the performance?
I hope the audience will be able to visualize the power two women can create while dancing with one another; not just as a duet, but as a true partnership.
What is the difference between working as a choreographer vs. a dancer?
Starting my work as a choreographer was a lot more freeing than I had expected. As a corps de ballet dancer, I am accustomed to following instructions and morphing myself into looking like others. You have so much more agency over the movement you create and the story you tell as a choreographer. There is freedom in your own artistic expression as a dancer, but it has its’ limits, and choreographing has been a wonderful way to stretch myself out of my comfort zone of moving in the exact way you are told.
How are each rewarding in their different ways?
Choreographing has been extremely rewarding for me in terms of stretching my own boundaries. Self-confidence is something I struggle with amongst many other dancers, so proving to myself that I have the capacity for creativity in other forms has been very beneficial and has spilled over into my own dancing.
Any other inspiration we should know about?
When I visited the museum months ago and toured the For the Record exhibition, I drew inspiration for certain movements from individual installations on display. From the graphic displays to the posture of the large statues, and even the positioning of the smaller paintings and photographs, I wanted to incorporate some of their visual aspects into my movement.
Catch Alaina Andersen’s Fire at the Norton Museum of Art on September 24, 2021, as part of For the Record: Celebrating Women in Art during the museum’s Art After Dark program.
About the Performance:
When: Friday, September 24, two performances: 5:30 and 6:30 pm.
Where: Museum Entrance in the Heyman Plaza. 1450 S. Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.
Tickets and How to Attend:
|Students with valid school ID||$5|
|Children 12 and under||FREE|
$5 Parking is available across the street at 1501 South Dixie Highway/Free for Norton members.
This is an outdoor performance, weather permitting. Capacity is limited.
After the performance, stay and enjoy the museum’s galleries, restaurant and store!
Please remain home if you have any symptoms of coronavirus. All guests are required to wear masks to enjoy the concert and maintain 6 feet separation before, during, and after the show.
Currently, the museum encourages timed ticket entry. To reserve a timed ticket, click here. (Please change the date to Friday, September 24. If you want to attend the first performance at 5:30 pm, please select 5:00 pm as your timed entry. For the 6:30 pm performance, select 6:00 pm.)
Photo credits: MCB dancers Alaina Andersen, Adrienne Carter and Nicole Stalker. Photo © Alexander Iziliaev