What about the ocean and climate speaks to you as an artist?
The ocean has so many healing qualities! Physically, mentally and spiritually! How absurd that that has become our centralized dumping ground for all our waste and pollution. Climate issues and sustainability as a field are the ultimate test of integrating all kinds of knowledge to resolve the most complex interconnections of systemic issues. They affect every single one of us on this planet and theoretically can unite all of us to ensure the survival of our species on our one true home.
Where did the initial inspiration for your climate anxiety workshops come from?
What have you learned in leading them? A fellow bboy Alex Milewski introduced contemporary dance to me when he merged it with his breaking background to express emotions that he couldn't with breaking. I've since tried to merge it with my dance as well for when I need it for my well being. I introduced my process to climate activist friends from the Sunrise Movement when I saw the emotional toll of organizing affecting us and they all found it surprisingly helpful, which tells me that they weren't expecting it to be as impactful as it was... When I started learning Krump, it clicked for me that so many street cultures and dances were born specifically to help with the mental wellbeing of people living through systemic, societal collapse, much like with ecoanxiety, so it makes sense for me to bring these "proven'' successful processes to the climate space.
What is your view on the role of art and movement/dance in particular in activism? Do you think art helps us understand more about ourselves and our values, as a culture?
As artists, we often question whether what we're doing actually makes a difference - just like in activism. The changes we make are not always visible, but as many poets point out, change happens gradually, then suddenly, such as with the 3.5% rule in activism. What keeps us going in those times of doubt and frustration is art.
Dance is ephemeral - it teaches us to appreciate the here and now. Dance recalls the mind-body connection - it heals a connection with ourselves that we've been conditioned to ignore. We have a physical body that our "hustle culture" encourages us to ignore and we have a larger, planetary body that our capitalist values tell us it's okay to destroy. Healed people heal people. Finding that connection for ourselves again will inevitably influence others with our presence.
What is the one takeaway message you would like audiences to leave with after viewing any of your work?
I believe that the most meaningful thing that we can achieve is not in what we do but in who we are. How you hold space, how you process, how you respond. Don't just "do" a powerful thing - "be" a powerful thing ;)
My illustration of ocean/nature and dance
My connection of street dance and sustainability