Hi, I'm Kristen, and at age 5, there were two pivotal moments that I have continued to carry with me into the rest of my life. First, I met face to face with a smiling beluga whale through a pain of glass, which catapulted a whale obsession, leading to homemade beluga whale halloween costumes (thanks and sorry, Mom!), and dreams of becoming a marine biologist. I am fascinated by their navigation through depths of the oceans, waters so complex that we have only discovered about 5% of them. Humpbacks joyfully launch their 40-ton bodies into the air, and their sense of community and use of echolocation is a reminder of the importance of listening to one another, with a confidence of traversing into the dark unknown.
At that same age, I also began dancing, and never stopped. Taking tap/ballet combo classes turned into a life long journey of exploring movement. My childhood dreams of becoming a marine biologist were traded with a Spanish and Teaching degree when I soon realized that chemistry and I didn't quite get along, and my love for movement in college earned me a Dance Minor. I relocated to Los Angeles, where I created art through choreographing collaborative live works and dance films locally and internationally, performing with musical artists, on dance companies, and in film and television. I shared my joy for both dance and Spanish, teaching children and adults in immersion programs, bilingual schools, underserved communities, and special needs students in studios and schools, locally, nationally, and internationally. After my journey creating in the City of Angels, I have returned to my roots in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, embarking on my MFA in Dance, renewing and reflecting upon my embodiment in life in the serene abundance of Evergreen trees, Aspen leaves, and fresh mountain air.
What do whales have to do with my art making? Like whales, there is extreme joy I find in moving my body, that can propel me into a 4 hour improvisation session after a 12-hour work day. Similar to these gentle giants, I have a deep desire to find connection and meaning with others through movement, exploring the depths of the unknown. When dropping into my body, intuition navigates my tentacular cells, which listen and echolocate each other by music, through movement. In these moments, my body is the teacher and she always schools me, saying more than my mouth or mind alone ever could. In this vessel, I search confidently in the dark for meaning, senses open, listening, tasting, smelling, seeing, feeling for the next message, story, connection, or piece to this lifelong puzzle I will never fully understand. I feel most alive and true to myself when connecting with Yaweh and traveling across geographical boundaries as well as cellular and spiritual ones. My art is not separate from any of these things, nor would I want it to be.
Through dancing, choreographing, teaching, and filmmaking, I create cross-disciplinarily in collaboration with good-hearted, embodied, soulfully-rich humans. The work must serve a higher purpose, staying honest to social and environmental change we wish to see in this world. In this ocean we call life, I use embodied movement practice as the whales do, as a means to connect, heal, grow, learn, give, forgive, share and listen until the day I die.
SITE SPECIFIC IMPROVISATION EXPLORATION
"Illusion of Bliss"-Alicia Keys
I am abundantly grateful for the moments of improvisation in nature, feeling the Spirit, mind, body, and earth coning together to harmonize with one another.
April 2018-University of Colorado-Boulder, CO
A live, experimental-contemporary solo exploring themes of able-ism, the women’s holocaust, Sicilian and Polish Ancestry, and Genocide. Presented at University of Colorado’s Fresh 2018 concert. Lighting Design by Iain Court.
April 2018-University of Colorado-Boulder, CO
A live, multigenerational contemporary dance and spoken word piece influenced by themes of light, connection, and what is beyond sight. Created in collaboration with the dancers, this piece developed from a process of embodied investigations within nature of the Rocky Mountains, written explorations, and contact improvisation. Presented at University of Colorado’s Fresh 2018 concert. Featuring Dancers Hattie Houser, Taylor Madgett, Peg Posnick, Hannah Tiên Schneebeck, Ryan Sinton, Alex Tomassian, Leah Woods, Lighting Design by Iain Court.
January 2018-Boulder, CO
Choreographer/ Director of Photography/ Director/Producer
A dance film series inspired by the Women’s Holocaust during the European Witch Hunts, this is an episodic
series of women performing site specific work, abstracting issues of current day women’s oppression, and the
reclamation of female empowerment, and features dancers Elise Gumbiner, Mattie McGarey and Nomi Tari.
"EARTH TURNS TO GOLD"
July 2017-Current-Hesperia, CA
A site specific dance film at CalEarth- a training and research site in constructing the SuperAdobe, a home
made of earth that is sustainable, accessible, and affordable in order to provide shelter to anyone on Earth. Our journey unveils the timeless village through freestyle solos and choreographed group works, and encompasses themes of eco-consciousness and community. Co-choreographed with Randi Freitas, and Director of
Photography Craig Baurley. Original music composed by Peter Shin and Juliette Irons. Features Dancers Randi
Freitas Fiona Ketter, Emily Paquin, Jesse Smith, Lydia Purves-Ware. Currently in Post Production
“WOLVES STILL CRY”
August 2017-Los Angeles
In this final episode of the music video series, we meet musical artist, Lawrence Rothman’s alter egos. I assist by helping make choreographic decisions for choreographer Teresa “Toogie” Barcelo and Director Floria Sigismondi. Features performers Danny Axley, Andrea Burr, Lenin Fernandez, Savannah Harrison, Justine Lutz, Elizabeth Machete,
Ryan Walker-Page, and Tyy Wells. Producer: Downtown Records/Interscope Records.
2017-Highways Performance Space-Santa Monica, CA
A live duet of politically and historically motivated work, this piece includes spoken word and fusion movement
of contemporary and African roots. It is co-written, co-choreographed and performed with Kassy Francis.
Presented at Highways Performance Space, Santa Monica 2017.
2016-2017-Brockus Space-Los Angeles
A mask-work piece developed with co-choreographer Robyn O’Dell, this duet features animalistic and gestural contemporary movement, and has been presented at Brockus Space Los Angeles 2017 and L3 Festival in Riverside, CA
“LAYERED DHATU: FOREIGN LIGHT”
2017-Brockus Space-Los Angeles
Co-choreographed with Kassy Francis, this is a piece infused with theatre, hip hop, and contemporary elements that investigates themes on transformation and going against the grain. Presented at Brockus Space, Los Angeles 2017. Features dancers Charlotte Beadle, Maddy Beadle, Heidi Brewer, Denesa Chan, Alex Laya, Doria Levitt, Imani Ma’at, and Mollie Wolf.
This music video features Cassie Brandi and a performance solo on Heidi Brewer, portraying an embodiment of letting go of the past and surrendering to what is.
“5” is a piece exploring interrelated themes surrounding the story of Babylon and Franco's Regime. We look at how both lead to mass genocide, other-ing, and language barriers. The incorporation of human distraction by technology insinuates a premonition of history repeating itself. It is an international finalist in “4x4 Competencia”, a competition/festival hosted by Lux Boreal in Tijuana, 2016. Features Dancers Denesa Chan, Morgan Davison, Justin Morris, Jackie Nii, and Cydney Watson.
Not yet released-Los Angeles
Illumination Project is a short dance film geared toward mental illness, featuring actors/dancers Denesa Chan, Kassy Francis, Marissa Labog, Ashley Mouw, Jackie Nii, Robyn O’Dell, Erica Lynn Priolo, Eli Weinburg, and Director of Photography Justin Gum and Directors Fernando Paiz and Matthew Rosas. Currently in post production.
“BLUE OCEAN FLOOR”
This is an interpretive film to Justin Timberlake’s song, “Blue Ocean Floor”, exploring effects of minimal lighting, improvisation, partnering and human connection. It was made in collaboration with Director of Photography, Justin Gum, and Co-Directors Fernando Paiz, Matt Rosas, Michael Flotron. Features dancers Teresa “Toogie” Barcelo, Sarah Blades, Kassy Francis, Randi Freitas, Cedric Dodd, Lindsey Hudgins, Derek Lewis, Ashley Mouw, Jacki Nii, Robyn O’Dell, and Krystin Stephenson.
"You are not a drop in the ocean, you are the entire ocean in one drop. "