Micah Parra is a 23 year old movement artist, teacher and choreographer, currently in residence for our S P A C E Residency program at Malashock Dance. She will be sharing what she’s developed in the residency process at the City Heights Performance Annex with other works by S P A C E residents Zack King and Rachel Catalano this coming weekend.
Micah grew up in Washington State but has since lived in Las Vegas and now, San Diego; three drastically different cultures and environments that have each played an important role in the way she relates to creation. She is always working to diversify and expand what that looks and feels like. Her education includes acrobatics, tumbling, circus/aerial disciplines, and a variety of dance and movement arts. Below, you can read about how she started in dance and her residency process.
Tell us about your history with dance, performance, and art practice. How has it influenced your voice as a choreographer?
I was raised in competitive gymnastics and studio dance. I studied contemporary, modern, jazz, ballet, hip hop, acro, and the occasional aerial discipline. My time was so centered around searching for personal and often visual perfection, when I had the chance to create for myself it was always about the emotions. I was in pursuit of an anti-cleanliness, which provided a catharsis similar to journaling or therapy.
One thing I owe a great deal of personal and artistic development to is teaching. Helping other people find the courage to be vulnerable requires you to lead by example and it forced me to care about something greater than my own insecurities and desires. Through teaching I have choreographed a number of local performances, shows, and individual pieces. The freedom to experiment within that has ben extremely liberating.
What inspirations, launching points, or ideas are you working with for your piece for the S P A C E residency? How has that developed over the course of your residency process?
The main idea for this piece (rather, pieces) was scene creation. Setting up the audience to feel distinctly connected to either the dancers’ stories or the conjured environment. There are 4 separate pieces, tied together only through an undercurrent of melancholy. I felt inspired to show the crossover between an individual’s inner world and the natural outer world.
I decided to call this collection Frame Works. Outlined, individual paintings, windows, and mirrors. All of which have seen many iterations, bless my dancers for real. When the residency began, I was sure there would be more commonalities but distinguishing the pieces allowed me to focus on seeing each idea to its fullest instead of manipulating them to suit a grander storyline.
What does your typical creation process look like? How has your approach to dance creation changed or been different during your residency?
The most jarring yet exciting thing about this residency has been the sheer amount of control I’ve had in deciding what feels important to share. Those first few weeks of going to the studio were pure experimentation. I’ve never been given this much time for a project (10 weeks) or as much space as Malashock’s gorgeous studio. I discovered that when given artistic liberty and little time constraint, I tend to let doubt in, second guessing myself… it’s been beneficial to recognize and work through those feelings.
What has been your favorite part of the process?
The people! Every person I have been connected/reconnected with through this residency. The DISCO RIOT and Malashock Dance staff, Taylor our tech girl, local dancers, the other residents, old friends from Washington, my sister… getting to work with such kindhearted, passionate, funny, vulnerable, charismatic people has been a dream. Simple as that.
What is something you want the audience to know about your piece?
Projections, editing guidance, and artistic input on visuals all came from the lovely Alara Jones.
Join us for S P A C E Showcase Ed. 4 on October 28th and 29th at 7pm to see the finished work these artists have spent their residency preparing. Use the link below to RSVP to the event!
The other two artists blogs are already posted – you can read about Zack King and Rachel Catalano and their projects before coming to see the show!