There are moments in freshly formed Intrepidus Dance’s show HUMAN that are stark: a despairing breath drives the movement, a haunted feeling rebounds through the room. There are other moments though, that observers can hang on to, moments of aesthetic patterns, exciting athleticism, and physical connection that satisfy the eye. That contrast between moments of discomfort and beautiful dance is exactly what Artistic Director Holly Logan was looking for when she created HUMAN. Intrepidus Dance seeks to “explore the medium of modern dance in a manner that is approachable to all audiences.” “That doesn’t mean we can’t make challenging work,” Logan says. “We just want people to know that it’s ok to to feel uncomfortable.”
HUMAN, running March 20-22 at Velocity Dance Center, features two pieces, ODD Behaviors, and the title piece, HUMAN, both of which explore “the roots of the human condition.” HUMAN appeals to both the artist and the technician—Logan creates beautiful lines, the choreography allows dancers to fully commit to the intended emotions, and there are moments of exciting organized movement that frame the emotional experience. SeattleDances recently sat down with Logan to learn more about her new company and her new work.
SeattleDances: Tells us about Intrepidus Dance’s mission.
Logan: Our aim as a company is to help people feel comfortable watching dance. My experience is that people are afraid to go watch it because they are afraid that they ‘won’t get it.’ I want to make dance more approachable and accessible, without changing it. We hope to help people learn avenues to experience dance—that is our primary goal at this time.
SeattleDances: You founded Intrepidus Dance about four months ago, and this is the first show you’re presenting as a company. How did this come about?
Logan: A year ago I wanted to see what it was like to do my own work, I enjoy dancing and enjoy performing but it doesn’t fulfil me as much as educating and teaching. As a choreographer, you’re also a teacher, you are guiding people through movement experiences. I decided to dive in and do it. I didn’t have a company, I didn’t really have a following. My first show at Velocity (Prelude) went well, so I thought, why not start a company?
SeattleDances: How are you going to give people this space to experience dance?
Logan: I think if you give people a safe place to fall, they’ll take the jump. What we’re doing for this show is making the intended meaning available to the audience after the piece. We hope that by sharing the intent, we’ll be starting the conversation with people.
I think my desire to make dance accessible is guided by the fact that I want people to feel something when they experience dance. I feel like we, as artists, can still do daring work and make people feel uncomfortable, we just need to let people know it’s ok to feel uncomfortable. I want to push people, hoping that they’ll be more open if they know what it’s about later on.
SeattleDances: What inspired HUMAN?
Logan: The pioneers of modern dance really drew me to modern dance in the first place, and inspired me as a dancer. The idea of getting away from ballet and princesses and fairies because none of us are princesses and fairies. I wanted to go back to exploring human emotion. I wanted to keep it stripped down and basic in a good way—keep it bare and see what happens.
SeattleDances: Do you think the work was inspired more by your experience of being human, or the experiences brought to the piece by the dancers?
Logan: We’ve talked about very specific moments, we’ve talked about the base emotion that the music makes you feel. Like, what is the first thing that you loved? That you remember physically loving? Those moments. The moments of loving someone and not liking them. It’s about relationships.
My experience plays into the choreography but not into the performance. In order to perform it well, the dancers have to use their experience. It’s about being in the complete mess of ourselves and realizing that we don’t have to be perfect to be happy.
SeattleDances: ODD Behaviors was created without set music, can you talk about that creative process?
Logan: Yes, I choreographed ODD Behaviors without music, I wanted to see what happens when we separate the elements of music and dance. It will be set to an original score, but the dancers have only heard it a few times, and they are not allowed to take it home. I don’t want them to know it that well. Not knowing what the composer was doing on the other end, while I created this work, was scary. It was scary because I was setting the structure and creating. Usually the music sets the structure. I didn’t realize that I didn’t know what I wanted. It was hard and weird, but I wanted to challenge myself.
SeattleDances: What makes you the most nervous about presenting HUMAN as a company (rather than a choreographer alone)?
Logan: It’s really putting your heart out there and waiting to see how people receive it. Also remembering to not base your entire career off of other people’s opinions. This work has been on my heart for months, now it’s public, suddenly. It’s a really private moment that becomes public. Liking and disliking are irrelevant. It’s just nerve wracking. I’m very emotionally involved in my work, so I’m putting all my emotions out there.