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Robert Abrams
The Alex Theatre
Celebrate Dance
United States
Greater Los Angeles
Glendale, CA

An Interview with Joelle Martinec of SoleVita Dance Company about their upcoming performance in Celebrate Dance 2013

by Robert Abrams
February 18, 2013
The Alex Theatre
216 North Brand Boulevard

Glendale, CA 91203

Featured Dance Company:

Celebrate Dance
Celebrate Dance (office)

Los Angeles, CA

More information about Celebrate Dance 2013.
Robert Abrams: Joelle Martinec, founder and artistic director of the SoleVita Dance Company, has taken on a topic with a sweeping scope, expressed through sweeping formation changes, for her presentation at Celebrate Dance 2013.

Please describe the performance you will present at Celebrate Dance 2013.

Joelle Martinec: SoleVita Dance Company is presenting "Walk West", a four movement piece which creates a scene from the pioneers making their way to a new life.

RA: What is your role in the show?

JM: I am the founder and artistic director of SoleVita Dance Company as well as the choreographer of the piece.

RA: Have you collaborated with anyone to create your Celebrate Dance presentation? Who have you collaborated with to create your Celebrate Dance presentation?

JM: I haven't collaborated with anyone on the overall structure of how the piece is built, but, my choreographic process always involves some collaboration with the dancers on phrases and vocabulary of movement.

RA: What has this collaboration allowed you to achieve that would not have been possible without it?

JM: I find that instead of being the dictator of the movement, when I open up the floor to the dancers they may have different instincts about where to step next. I love when they inspire something I couldn't think to think of on my own.

RA: In your art that you are presenting at Celebrate Dance, what is unexpected?

JM: The subject matter to me is a bit unexpected. I am not really a history buff, but something about this time in our past is striking to me. People were really risking themselves to have a life.

I have in the past played with many unexpected elements: Future Hindsight is a piece in SoleVita's rep that is in full retrograde (music too) for the first half of the piece and then the whole scenes plays forward, but for this piece is it pretty straight forward. The piece uses gestural movement instead of physical props for the ideas of riding horses and laundry lines.

RA: What is "new" or "fresh" about the art you are presenting at Celebrate Dance?

JM: I love a lot of movement on stage. Sweeping formation changes and playing with tempo are things that really excite me in the process. I find that I tend to want a bit of a marriage between the commercial world of dance (where I have spent a great deal of time in my dance career) and the world of concert dance.

RA: How does your art build on what came before?

JM: The whole concept of the piece is about what came before.

RA: How will your presentation inspire the audience?

JM: I think the audience will be taken on a journey of sacrifice, love, finding one's self and the idea of community. I find that what inspires me when I am watching performances is sometimes very surprising. Inspiration can come from a small look or movement or from a large overall theme. I look forward to hearing what inspiration was gained from "Walk West".

RA: Who or what inspires you?

JM: Risk inspires me. People who are willing to do what seems impossible in the moment. I love the Audrey Hepburn quote "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!" Life inspires me… Life cycles, relationships, how life moves are all things I love to look to for creation. My dancers inspire me! They are the most giving, beautiful, willing group of artists. My husband Matthew Thompson inspires me with his never ending support.

RA: What makes your dance company a top-notch dance company?

JM: I would say SoleVita Dance Company may be called top notch because we are always growing, working not to do things we have already done within the creation process. One of my favorite things that people have said about our last couple of full length shows is that had they not known it was all the same choreographer and dancers, that they would have thought it had be a variety. Some critics will say that is not knowing your voice, I say it's pushing your boundaries.

RA: What is special or unique about dance in the Greater Los Angeles area?

JM: Dance is unique in the Greater Los Angeles area because there are so many worlds of it here. Commercial, concert, theatre all bring their own feeling to the community here.

RA: Does your art have an activist message?

JM: This piece doesn't have an activist message. SoleVita doesn't shy away from speaking what is it that we believe. "All Included" is a piece in our rep that is based on marriage equality. Walk West is a fictional narrative through movement.

RA: Do you work with schools or children?

JM: I do.

RA: Please describe your educational work.

JM: I grew up in the dance convention world. For the last 18 years have spent a lot of time on the road teaching many different groups of students. I teach regularly at the Edge Performing Arts in Los Angeles as well and various private dance studios in the area. One of my favorite organizations I work with is Genesis Sarajevo, bringing dance to the often still segregated reigion of Sarajevo and Mostar, Bosnia.

RA: What questions would you want to ask of members of the other dance companies in Celebrate Dance (other than the questions here)?

JM: I am always curious about other creators' creative process. Mine changes from piece to piece so it's always facinating to find out how the pieces are brought to life by others. I also would love to ask about the business of a self sustaining dance company here in LA. What are things that people have found work and don't work?

RA: What else would you like people who are thinking about purchasing a ticket to Celebrate Dance to know about your art?

JM: SoleVita is honored to be taking part in Celebrate Dance. I think what Jamie Nichols is doing for concert dance in Los Angeles is remarkable.
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