Two more choreographers for Choreo & Kickball, Aisha Reddick and Robi Ruocco, talk about their own experiences with creating a piece for this outdoor event. As a part of the City of San Diego’s Park Social Initiative, Choreo & Kickball is an event of short dance performances mixed in with rousing games of kickball. Join us at Olive Grove Park on September 17th & 18th (4 and 6 pm) for our fun end of summer event!
Tell us about your history with dance, performance, and art practice. How has it influenced your voice as a choreographer?
Aisha: More recently, I’ve been trying to explore my personal creative process, lean away from what I’m most comfortable choreographing, and making rehearsal processes easy for myself and my dancers. What has worked for me recently is creating multiple phrases that I can then manipulate around so that I’m not trying to pull new material out every time we meet. If I can give my dancers 4-5 phrases of solid material, taking it apart, reorganizing, repeating and further manipulating it brings the puzzle pieces together even if I don’t know what the final picture is supposed to look like. I realized that this formula works best for me because this is the way that my brain functions from day to day. If I could explain the way I think, it’s as if a million abstract thoughts float around in my head, all relating to the same thing, but I can’t see the through-line until it’s materialized in journaling, speaking aloud, or in creation. And so, when it comes to choreographing, the chunks come together in sync, overlapped or manipulated with a through-line that makes sense at the end of the process.
What inspirations, launching points, or ideas are you working with for your piece for Choreo & Kickball?
Robi: I’ve recently been inspired by how rappers sample songs in their music, especially when its music that is from an entirely different era from their own. Although I’ve had both of the songs I’m using in my library, it wasn’t until creating this piece I thought of merging them together!
What was your creative process/favorite for this piece?
Robi: Since I’ve had limited rehearsals with my cast, my favorite part of the process has also been the hardest which was creating the music and movement at the same time in rehearsals, its a balancing act. I love working with such talented movers, they’ve been so willing to try out new things!
How are you incorporating this event’s theme, “summer’s end,” into your piece?
Aisha: I had a completely different approach to this piece in the beginning than what it now evolved into. In the beginning, I was interested in playing with mimicry, copy and follow, “monkey see, monkey do” type initiation points. Now, I just wanted to create a piece that’s high energy, fun, and representative of how I experienced this year’s summer. I had more free time during this year’s summer than I had in a while, so I was able to take a lot more onto my plate and do more. While it was a lot to do, I had fun feeling like I was getting back into the community after the pandemic-quarantined lifestyle. So now, as summer is coming to an end, I want to mark this moment with a lot a joy and fun to parallel my experience.
Robi: My dance is very much an ode to summer, hence the title, but there’s a little bit of drama or angst in it as we say goodbye, not necessarily to a relationship as one of the songs would suggest, but gripping onto an entire season as it slips out of hands; leaving it behind us whether we’re ready or not.
What are your hopes and dreams for the San Diego dance scene?
Aisha: I hope that there’s more community building!! I want to see more progress toward coming together and supporting other artists! There is so much good happening in the dance scene and sometimes it get overlooked, and I just want to see everyone coming together from all dance forms and styles and just enjoy dance and art together!
You can sign up for our free Choreo & Kickball event with the link below. Come ready to play and cheer! Bring your sunscreen, hat, sneakers, your lawn chairs, and team spirit. We’ll provide kickballs, good tunes, refreshments, and some additional seating!
Park Social is a citywide initiative that introduces social-specific contemporary art into the City’s vast and varied park system.