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Art & Life with Gina Bolles Sorensen and Kyle Sorensen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gina Bolles Sorensen and Kyle Sorensen.

Gina, Kyle, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
We met at the University of Oregon where we were both getting degrees in Dance (a Master in Fine Arts for Gina, a Bachelor of Arts for Kyle). In 2008, Kyle was assigned to serve on the technical crew for Gina’s thesis concert, and in the process of getting to know one another, we discovered a shared aesthetic for choreography. We both like to dive deep into movement innovation. We are ever curious about the magic of dance – especially its potential to make both dancers and audiences feel very aware of themselves and also transported out of body and time. We started collaborating and simultaneously fell in love.

We got married, relocated to San Diego, and launched our dance company, somebodies dance theater, in 2009. Gina was born and raised in Chula Vista, so it was a homecoming for her. The biggest seismic shift to our artistic trajectories occurred in 2013-14 when Kyle received funding through the Institute of International Education and the Fulbright Scholar program to study contemporary dance practices for a year in Israel. We took copious amounts of classes, attended dozens of performances, and interviewed thirty of Israel’s top choreographers about their lives and work. Afterwards, we conceived and developed a new mode of dance training called SubtleBodyBigDance.

We continue to explore and refine this modality and use it as the primary training method for dancers that work for our company. In addition to working as Artistic Directors for our own company, we teach at a variety of academic institutions. Gina is the Director of the Conservatory for Classical and Contemporary Dance at the Coronado School for the Arts and teaches in the Dance Department at Grossmont College. Kyle has just accepted a teaching position at the Chula Vista School for Creative and Performing Arts and is also adjunct faculty in the Dance Departments at Grossmont College and San Diego City College.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
In our work as choreographers, we explore movement possibilities. We create dances that evoke images and associations, dances that balance lusciousness and power. We craft dance experiences that give space for the audience to create meaning along with us. Our dances are rooted in a thematic or ideological thrust, but they are abstract to allow for the audience to witness the work through their own lens and bring their own background and experiences into the process of understanding it.

In our work as educators, we ask questions and renegotiate our ideas about the importance of dance, and the validity of certain training. We accept our unique bodies and find mindful, healthy ways of moving our bodies singularly, spectacularly. While many dancers are trained in “shape literacy” (how to mimic the external appearance of line or form to match the teacher or the aesthetic of the style), we focus on training dancers to recognize and utilize the textures of the body moving – it’s softness, it’s stickiness, it’s explosive potential, it’s delicacy. We challenge the range and potential of their bodies. We refer to this as “texture literacy.” We have an open class called SubtleBodyBigDance on Thursday evenings at San Diego Dance Theater, and all are welcome to join us in exploring the possibilities of texture in movement.

In your view, what is the biggest issue artists have to deal with?
Dance has a notoriously small audience, which strikes us as so strange since dance is such an integral part of life and culture in countries around the world. Audience building is an on-going battle in a landscape where fewer critics are publishing reviews in our field.

Modern dance is also notoriously serious and esoteric. While we find the work in our field (our own, and others’) to be deep and meaningful, it also brings us such joy. We want to explore ways that joy can be explored creatively without compromising the physical or intellectual rigor that’s part of the process. Maybe, just maybe, serious modern dance doesn’t have to be so serious.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
We present choreographic work on stages across town all year long. As a company we produce a full-length work every year. We recently premiered a new creation called Coop as the opening event of San Diego Dance Theater’s Live Arts Fest. It featured 22 dancers, a cast comprised of our own somebodies dance theater company members and dancers from Grossmont College and San Diego City College.

Once a work premieres, we are often commissioned to set parts of it or original works on other companies. We have had the pleasure of setting our work on local companies and schools as well as institutions in Washington, Oregon, Florida, Texas, and more. We are now contemplating our next creation. Ideas are brewing for an evening-length duet for the two of us – it feels risky and exciting, and challenging as we have two toddler boys at home now. We’re considering the right venue or festival for the premiere. Something will surely be announced on our website, and our Facebook page soon.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sue Brenner, Manuel Rotenberg, Jim Carmody, Michael Brinkerhoff, Dave Oleary.

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