Choreo & Fly: Chelsea Zeffiro
Chelsea Zeffiro is Choreo & Fly’s Lead Artist! She has been working hard to curate this kite-flying event, and will be sharing her newest solo work along with all of the other amazing artists, will be presenting her piece this weekend, during the La Jolla Playhouse’s WOW Festival. She is also teaching a site-sensitive movement workshop on Sunday at 10-11:30am for those interested in creating dance!
Chelsea Zeffiro (she/her) is a dance artist specializing in experimental and collaborative performance between theater, dance, and film. Zeffiro’s current practice is rooted in research, writing, and process – devising character and script reflexively, with who and what is in the room. As a performer, Zeffiro works collaboratively with artists, choreographers, and directors on processes wherein she is able to utilize her improvisational and technical background from development through performance. Zeffiro received her BA in Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA) and her MFA with a Fellowship in Dance from the University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA).
What was your process for creating your piece? Do you have a source of inspiration or some ideas that you are working with?
Recently, I have been thinking about my body’s stored movement knowledge; specifically, my own archive of dance, choreographies, repetition, and technical practice. I am thinking of this knowledge as a web of fluid physical, visual, verbal, and/or sensorial memories. And I am thinking of the body-archive as described in a text by André Lepecki: “The Body as Archive.”
I encountered this concept-in-practice earlier in 2023 with artists: Christopher K. Morgan, who offered a citation/scriptwriting/interpreting practice of Liz Lerman to create a work I was in; and with Netta Yerushalmy through her “Archival Bodies” workshop. Both artists were asking questions of personal archives in different ways for different purposes, but there was overlap in the acknowledgement of the depth and richness of the body-archive and/or the inherited physical knowledge.
As I approached this solo, I knew that these practices were going to inform what I was making. I wondered the potential for conflict and/or transformation: What movement is wanting to come through from the archive? versus How does my body want to or how is it able to move at this moment in time? This solo is a way to unpack some of my archived movement knowledge and also to break from past versions or patterns that do not serve me. I am working with a theme of “lightness” – so I am trying to remove the weight of the past or past ideas of form. The practice of “lightness” is also a way to affirm and accept my body’s particular tendencies or idiosyncrasies.
I typically make work in duet form or small groups and I have been wanting to begin developing a solo for about a year. I hope that this solo for Choreo & Fly will be the first step in making a longer solo work. For the first step, I will focus on the movement and movement textures – which is what will be shown at the Rady Shell for the La Jolla Playhouse WoW Festival.
Choreo & Fly incorporates kite-flying into the dance event. How have you incorporated the theme of soaring and taking flight into your piece?
When developing the theme for this interaction of Choreo & ____, I wanted to choose an activity that was magical. We landed on the theme of “fly” and the activity of kite-flying, which is the perfect activity for the Embarcadero. I am interested in the magical and whimsical elements of flight as well as the ability to perceive weightlessness through the act of flying a kite. To begin my process, I thought a lot about weightlessness, levitation, and floating. I recalled a major theme from Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millenium: “Lightness”. I read the value of lightness as an ability to transform or adapt – the ability to not be fixed/weighted to meaning or permanence; an inclination towards imagination or existential fluidity.
My piece is titled “Metaphysical Levitation Practice: a poetic gesture” as a choreographic response to Calvino’s essay on “lightness” and the idea of existential fluidity. I am also using these ideas and the theme of Choreo & Fly to try to lean into the evolving/transformative/
Join Chelsea for a weekend of kite-flying and dance by RSVP-ing with the link below! DISCO RIOT is sharing Choreo & Fly on Saturday and Sunday at Jacobs Park.