Coming to Hubbard Street was a huge turning point. It opened me up to many different styles and ways of performing and truly led me to where I am today choreographically as the company is built in such a way that in-house choreographers can grow. I have always been drawn to choreography. I love the challenge of operating on all the levels it requires and the freedom of expression that it allows.
It’s interesting and unusual that your website homepage reads: Alice Klock Paint and Dance. Artistic Adventurer. Choreography. Visual Art. Shop. In other words, both kinds of art are given equal billing (though dancing yourself isn’t mentioned there—how come?). I would like to learn more about your painting, which I like very much—its relation to your movement work, its place in your life, as well as when and how you began painting and what training you had in this form of art.
Photo by Isaac Aoki
Both my visual art and dance hold equal weight and importance in my life. I feel that though there is crossover they also exercise very different aspects of my creative self. Visual art is meditative, intuitive, therapeutic. Dance is more about manifesting, and choreography is like world building. I often notice that as I am constructing a dance I’ll apply my painter’s eye to help problem solve, but otherwise the creation processes differ vastly. I love this. Feels gloriously balanced.
I grew up around visual artists and it is truly my father and grandfather that gave me my art education. The rest has been self teaching and blatant disregard for technique. There is something highly spiritual about my process with visual art. The creation of it feels very meditative and I am often surprised by what unfolds.
It almost feels like channeling some otherworldly aspect of myself. I have shown work at numerous Chicago galleries and enjoy a steady stream of commissions, including lately a lot of tattoo designs which is an exciting and somewhat unexpected evolution of what I do.
Interesting that you noticed the lack of my own dancing in how I present myself on my website. I suppose this is because I am at a point in my career where I am not trying to sell that part of myself anymore. I feel very content in that department, after nine beautiful years as a dancer at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago I have recently retired. I shall continue to perform as part of “Flock” a co-creative, co-choreography project I have started with my partner in crime Florian Lochner. Yes, after many years of holding up “dancer” as my identity I am shifting to fully explore more facets of myself. I suppose my website reflects this:
Dancing with Flock
What is it about choreography that calls to you? What parts of the process appeal to you most?
As I mentioned, choreography is like world building. I feel that with the creation of a piece one can time travel, shape shift, solve the unsolvable, save that which can’t be saved, live dreams, be anything…basically I think dance making is magical. My work isn’t about execution or perfection. It’s about an experience of something beyond what we can perceive in our everyday. The process of creating this kind of work is thrilling to me, as it requires a particular kind of strategizing and problem solving.
Dancing with Flock
What are the ideas/themes/questions about movement that you think about in the course of making a piece, overall and/or for particular works?
All of my pieces begin with a story or an intellectual concept, often sparked by something I’ve heard in a podcast or read in a book. I find thought endlessly inspiring artistically. There is a big research element to my work, especially in the time before I get into the studio. Once I am in the room with the dancers my concept may morph and adapt, but even with this evolution I feel it is important to lay that conceptual groundwork before generating movement.
Where does the choice of music come into the process? Does that differ from piece to piece?
Music for me usually comes after I’ve begun to create with the dancers. It is important to me that my work embraces and utilizes the individuality of the artists in the room so there are certain elements I simply can’t know until I meet them and begin construction. Once a framework is in place I can really hone into the vibe that best supports what we are making and pick music from there. I also edit and rearrange my music extensively, creating a sound design that is as choreographed as the movement. I find that this really helps in creating a sense of world building in my work.
Can you tell me about your experience working with Whim W’Him up to this point? What would you like to share with blog readers about the piece so far?