“Talk Back” is interview series with dancers and choreographers. Lydia Hance is the artistic vision behind Frame Dance Production in Houston, TX. She is premiering her new film Satin Stich on March 12 at Spacetaker ARC.
Satin Stitch credit: Lorie Garcia
Talk Back with Lydia Hance
Interview by Rosie Trump
Tell us a bit about yourself, location, and company.
I’ve lived in Houston for about four years now. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, moved to Dallas to get my BFA in Dance Performance and BA and English Literature from SMU, and then moved down to Houston. I started my time here dancing in several companies, teaching, and choreographing independently. In May 2010, I launched Frame Dance Productions, a contemporary dance company to connect dance to the Web 2.0 social networking infrastructure, an emerging, media-rich forum for new creative expression. We create dances-for-camera, dances-with-camera, and strive to collaborate with artists outside of the dance genre.
Describe your approach to movement and your creative process.
Something triggers my entry into a new work. Sometimes it’s dance, but more often it’s art I’ve experienced that is not necessarily dance—a painting, a poem, a photograph, a conversation. I internalize that experience and find out what it means in my body. I journal quite a bit. Then I drop it and create a choreographic score that intrigues me intellectually, develop movement (usually in the form of a dance phrase) and play with those ingredients. The dancers I work with are smart and generous in their offerings of ideas and possibilities. There’s usually a lot of dialogue and giving of self on everyone’s part in my rehearsals.
What informs your dance making?
I’m very drawn to visual compositions of things, color, texture, and shape as well as connectedness (or lack of connectedness) between people. I feel compelled to explore the delicate parts of human relationships.
What made you decide you wanted to be a dancer?
Foolish or not, I’ve never really considered anything else.
Discuss an influential teacher or mentor.
One who entered my life somewhat recently is Nancy Saylor of the Community Dance Connection Theatre in Lexington, VA. She is brilliant in the way that she creates dances for people, for her dancers. Her work comes from a personal space; I’ve learned so much about how deeply to search self to make vulnerable and true work. She deeply trusts the people she works with, and I see that risk reap so much richness in her dance community and in the product of her work.
Name a few of your favorites: dance movies, youtube clips, books or dance songs.
Recently, I’ve been watching every clip of Robert Moses’ work that I can find and currently I’m reading Critical Gestures: Writings of Dance and Culture by Ann Daly.
What advice can you offer to inspiring dancers and choreographers?
For dancers: Get your butt kicked as early as possible. Build a foundation, and then play. Learn a modern technique, not just ballet, to find your balance, your core, and your confidence. Limon, Hawkins, Horton, Graham, whatever it is, learn a codified modern technique as your native language. Certainly stray far, far from it, but learn it deep in your body.
For choreographers: Dialogue, seek feedback, and show your work to artists of genres outside of dance for a healthy scope of information about your work. Go back to your Comp I toolbox more often than you’d like to admit. Find out what interests you and develop that area, make it your niche.
Tell us about your newest projects.
March 12 is the premiere of my new dance film, Satin Stitch. It is a cast of five dressed in coats, hats, and scarves from sun up to sun down dancing and threading and connecting. We shot this film on the Boliver Peninsula in Texas.
I am currently in rehearsal for our evening-length live work called Mortar, Sylphs Wrote. I’m early in this process. We premiere this work April 16 and 17 as part of the Hope Werks residency. I’m creating a new world. It’s a little fantasy, and little animalistic, a little foreign and a little familiar. I’m working with the music of Micah Clark who is the winner of the Frame Dance Productions Music Composition Competition. His music has a story of its own. I’m creating my story, sometimes surrendering to his, and will hopefully come out with something satisfying and bizarre. I blog the process here: blog.framedance.org. My website is framedance.org.