Choreo & Fly: Krystal Masteller, Chelsea Roquero, & Ian Isles
Three more artists are sharing more about their dance background and process for our upcoming Choreo & Fly event! Krystal Masteller and Chelsea Roquero have collaborated and will be showing their piece alongside Ian Isles’ work. Come to Jacobs Park on April 29th & 30th for a fun and casual kite flying and dance event!
Tell us about your history with dance, performance, and art practice. How has it influenced your voice as a choreographer? How have you grown as an artist and dancer?
Krystal: Art has always been a driving force in my life as long as I can remember. From a young age I created in any capacity that served me at the time, yet once I found dance I knew that it was the artistic medium for me. My journey began in the competitive dance studio space and high school dance team, where we learned various cultural dances and were very mildly exposed to modern dance. Then in college, I was fully immersed in the concert/modern dance world, musical theater world, as well as the competitive hip hop world. From then on I have pursued a career within both the concert and commercial realms while maintaining a love for the education of understanding the physicality and anatomy of our bodies. The desire for exploration and education will continue to influence the way I approach movement as I often pull from all backgrounds when creating a new work. As an artist the interest to explore all sides of yourself has allowed me to grow outside of my comfort zone diving into the entirety of dance and what it means to be creative in any capacity.
Chelsea: I do not come from a traditionally trained background in dance. I started off as a gymnast from kindergarten till 8th grade. From there I really got into self training, I was so inspired by America’s Best Dance Crew and would learn their choreography off of youtube videos in my room! I later fully immersed myself in training in hip hop from high school till my sophomore year of college. What was so special about this time was being able to train with humans who truly loved this art form and thrived off of creative collaboration. After deciding to pursue dance as a profession and working my butt off, I was able to transfer to CSULB and graduate with my BA in Dance in 2019. Experiencing all of that, I was able to, through extensive exploration & working with different artists, find the traits of dance creation, performance, & community that I value. I am now working on how to explore performance in a more theatrical way, as well as incorporating my athleticism from gymnastics into my movement, and exploring abstract yet fun ways of using music to contribute to the work. Most importantly, knowing that my voice as an AAPI artist matters and that it is important. Overall, I am continually learning to take ownership of my voice as an artist & community member!
Ian: I like to think that everything I have ever experienced has found its way to influence my voice as a dance artist. From my beginnings in Hip Hop choreography to studying Butoh, everything in between for sure makes its way to the surface at some point in my work whether it is physical or conceptual. My time in Los Angeles has for sure influenced my perspective and approach to designing movement in space. I was able to work with and learn from a pretty incredible faculty of working artists at UCLA and the dance community within the greater LA area. This also led to opportunities to study Laban Movement Analysis & Bartenieff Fundamentals at both UC Berkeley and the University of Utah, Ohad Naharin’s Gaga Movement Language in Israel, Pilates with Body Arts Science International, and the Alexander Technique with Jean-Louis Rodrigue. All of these things and every artist I have been graced with an opportunity to work with has had a hand in raising me as my own artist, and every artist I will come to interact with will also do the same whether they realize it or not.
What was your process for creating your piece?
Krystal: The inspiration for this piece derives from our goal to create a work that brings joy without being incredibly “serious.” In creating space with whimsicality, on stage or in process, it allotted space for our curiosities to play simultaneously while allowing our individual attributes to come to fruition. We were adamant about working in a timely manner, so when it came to casting we needed to think of someone who would understand our quality of movement as well as add the same fun & “wow” factor that we both value! Casting Kaia Makihara has definitely given this piece a delightfully dynamic element as they have let us live vicariously through his breaking training. We are both truly inspired by the people in the room and how the culmination of our ideas always exceed our expectations!
Do you have a source of inspiration or some ideas that you are working with?
Ian: I have been playing a mobile game titled, “Another Eden: The Cat Beyond Time and Space,” and one of the side quests follows a group of clergy folk in search of blessings to help the people of their community. While I am not religious, I found this story to be fascinating because it forced the player to travel through the past, present, and future to explore the dark and light sides of the Moon, Earth, and the Sea, and along the way it introduced relationships between winged beings, humans, and merfolk — which are all ideas and images we explore and abstract in our piece, Horizon. It was just a beautiful story about these fantastical entities experiencing each other and working together to find each of their endings, happy or sad. Somewhere in the storyline, they spoke about some winged beings having lost their ability to fly but still maintaining their wings, and other times having their wings clipped. This was the part that interested me the most – having the tools to fly but not being able to, and also living post-wings. In Horizon, the underlying theme in this piece is not necessarily flying nor soaring, but trying to relive the memory of and desire to fly while still being earthbound.
What has been your favorite part of the process?
Chelsea: I personally have had the best time creating in a space with people who are game for anything. I have found that there is something really special about not having to explain your personal stylized movement & musicality. What has worked so well is that Krystal, Kaia, and I have similar dance training & find interest/invest in movement that excites us. We come from different parts of the state & have trained with different people but those unspoken traits have made the process so fulfilling and fun!
La Jolla Playhouse’s 2023 WOW Festival is just around the corner! Join DISCO RIOT and other San Diego art organizations for a weekend of music, theater, dance, and more! You can learn more and RSVP for our Choreo & Fly event with the link below! See you there!