So you want to dance, but not just take class. You want to be a part of a bigger project, to perform and perhaps even choreograph. But where, how, with who? Meet Vitality Dance Collective. Director Kristina York started Vitality in 2013 to offer choreography and performance opportunities for non professionals, as well as to establish that unique sense of community you get from being part of a company. Many dancers that chose not to go the professional route are still interested in working with a group and finding ways to perform. Kristina pointed out that when you share creative space and share the stage with other people, you really get to know a rare and special part of them. On her work and her dancers she says “How can I invest in these people and how can we create a community we love?”
While dancers audition to participate, the emphasis is put more on willingness to learn than meeting high technical standards. Dancers are also encouraged to choreograph, so shows often feature the work of the entire collective. Many of the company members have performed before but not been in charge of the choreographic process. As the director, Kristina guides them with choreographic tools and how to use them, while also giving the new choreographer plenty of space for their own movement creation to emerge. Each choreographer also works directly with the lighting designer, which is sometimes a new experience. Again, Kristina works to draw out the choreographers vision by asking: What kind of colors would you use? Why would you want them? What mood are you looking for? What are costumes and how will their palette interact with lights? She encourages them to think about shadowing, spotlight and various points of emphasis. The whole process is very much about learning and experimenting. Kristina believes that working in this sort of environment is very authentic to both the dancers and the audience.