Presenting Denver would like to shine the spotlight on Lauren Beale!
At the 2020 Presenting Denver Dance Festival, Lauren will be creating a piece in collaboration with Amanda Leise for the Main Stage showcase. Lauren Beale & Brooke McNamara of Eunice Embodiment will be leading a Community Presentation.
Choreographer Name: Lauren Beale
Company Name: Eunice Embodiment
Hometown: Longmont, CO
Current city you live in: Longmont, CO
Education: MFA in Dance-Emphasis in Interdisciplinary Performance and Collaboration
Presenting Denver: Can you describe an aspect of your work and/or creative process?
Lauren Beale: As a performing artist and devotee of creative practice, I am propelled by how the rigorous investigation of the body can be a vehicle to question, reveal and traverse the nature of our human condition. Who are we and what does it mean to be human? In my artistic process, art-making, and art itself I thrive on abiding in the unknown, exploring the free-falling terrain of these unanswerable questions, unresolvable paradoxes, and impossible quests. I find great delight in diving into to this territory with my fellow creative thinkers, movers and feelers. There is nothing more enlivening than the transformative power of collaboration, to co-create ever more complex and catalyzing expressions and responses to these human crises and overwhelming conundrums. At the intersection between my self, my body, my collaborators and my environment, I love to conjure, collide, and channel previously unimagined ideas, possibilities and conceptual frameworks that are beyond time and space; to listen and feel deeply into a territory free from habitual norms, oppressive systems of thought, boxed-in solutions and narrow ways of knowing; to courageously say yes to the unconventional, uncensored, grotesque, boundary-pushing and uncategorizable parts of our selves and our experiences. How this comes into form and what shape this expression takes is always a mystery! Tools of play and possibility that I love include structured and spontaneous improvisation, vigorous choreographed movement, subtle gesture and text, chance operations, and installation. I am also fascinated by experimenting with the 4th wall and the ways in which performance can transform the traditional separate roles of performer and audience into ones of active participation, inclusion and shared collaborative experience. My intention is to make art that integrates physical practice, creative process and theoretical inquiry, bringing people together to propel self-reflection, deep thinking and a responsive interconnectedness! For me, creative practice and art-making is life: human training to invoke greater dynamic aliveness in every moment!
PD: What is the best part of your day?
LB: Playing the game rose, thorn, bud with my partner Amanda Leise and my children Lila and Finlay. I love reflecting together on what was most awesome, exhilarating or beautiful (rose), most challenging, difficult, and intense (thorn), and how we are curious, learning, and growing (bud) throughout each day. There is nothing like sharing what is most meaningful with the people I love dearly.
PD: What’s the most meaningful thing an audience member has asked or told you?
LB: I remember when a dear mentor and long-time supporter came to a performance where I was debuting a solo that was extremely divergent from the type of work for which I had come to be known and appreciated. He was the type of audience member who enjoyed processing my work after each performance and sharing what he loved. I found tremendous solace in his presence in the audience and could always trust him to share words of appreciation and affirmation. If my self-esteem or sense of self as an artist felt shaky, I could count on a few moments with him to bring me back to a sense of confidence and groundedness. He liked me and he liked my work. In sharing this new solo work, I had intentionally taken risks and explored a territory that pushed my comfort zones in big ways. The solo looked and felt different. I felt so thrilled to be sharing this expanded version of myself as well as tremendously nervous about how it would be received. When I approached my mentor after the show he did not share words of appreciation or encouragement, but told me that he preferred my other work and suggested that I continue making work as I had before. It was so intense! I wrestled with his feedback for a long time and realized I had a choice. I could choose to be most devoted, loyal and committed to being an artist that created work I knew people would like and enjoy, binding myself to others’ preferences and ways of knowing me OR I could choose to be most devoted, loyal and committed to being an artist that created work grounded in my own deepest knowing and aliveness, no matter what anyone else thought. Since choosing the latter I have felt a profound liberation. I have delighted in growing a thicker skin, more resilient spirit and deeper knowing of my own heart, despite the endless pressures and opinions of others. I am deeply grateful for his feedback and the ways it has launched me into forging a community that supports/participates in the play, experimentation and risk-taking within art-making as much as I do.
PD: What is the best piece of dance career advice you’ve ever been given, and by whom?
LB: One of my most beloved artistic and all-around human mentors is Michelle Ellsworth. After she saw a new solo I asked her what she thought. She then asked if I really wanted to know. I said yes. She said, are you sure? I said…yes?! She paused and then said in the most direct, frank, certain tone, “Stop dicking around. Figure out what you want to say and then do everything the piece asks you to do in order to say it.” There was something about how she said this that went straight into my bones. This feedback created the clearest reference point for myself inside of the creative process. Anytime I think I know what I want to say or feel like a piece is complete, her voice comes into my head. Her presence in my life has catalyzed a rigor to listen deeper, longer and in ways that activate and never let me settle. In this statement she demanded a fiercer commitment to scour the mental, emotional, physical, spiritual contours of the creative process for every clue to creating a piece of work. To let no idea, perspective, whisper, hunch, red flag, tremor or nudge be left un-flushed-out. “Stop dicking around” has become my bullshit meter and has served to continuously clear out the unconscious, over-simplified, lazy, dangerously reductive ways I can tend to beat around the bush, avoid the elephant in the room or forget how unresolvable our questions are within art-making. I’d like to think this has been instrumental in helping me to create work that holds greater complexity, authenticity and aliveness. Thanks Miche!!!
PD: How were you first introduced to dance, and what did you think at the time?
LB: My mom was a tap dancer and started me in my first ballet, tap and jazz classes when I was 3 years old. From a very young age I remember thinking and feeling like this was it. Dance was my path. Dance was how I would know the world and how the world would know me.
PD: Please list any upcoming events, programs, classes or shows that you would like Presenting Denver and our audiences to know about. Thank you!!
LB: I teach my FLUX contemporary movement practice classes in Boulder at Block 1750 on Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:30am-12pm! Open to mature movers, thinkers and feelers.
I co-lead monthly CULTIVATE: Creative Practice Workshops with my collaborator Brooke McNamara at Block 1750. CULTIVATE is an embodied, interdisciplinary, creative practice workshop in which we activate the creative spirit.
We are also offering a CULTIVATE: Creative Practice RETREAT at Cocoon, Portugal, March 14-21, 2020. This retreat is a facilitated week of embodied, interdisciplinary practices that get at the heart of our creative yearnings and upshift our capacities to create powerful art, relationships and community!
More information at www.laurenbeale.com and www.brookemcnamara.com
The 2020 Presenting Denver Dance Festival is made possible by:
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