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Rossi Lamont Walter ’14: Listen to your body

Rossi Lamont Walter '14 explored Gaga at the Suzanne Dellal studios in Tel Aviv.

Rossi Lamont Walter ’14, a history of science concentrator, is one of the Emerging Choreographers named by the Dance Department for Fall 2013. Since 2012, the Emerging Choreographers residency pairs students with professional dancers to develop their work using other student dancers. This fall, Walter and Amymarie Bartholomew GSAS, also an Emerging Choreographer, have worked with artists-in-residence Francesca Harper and Aszure Barton on a showcase November 14 and 15. I spoke with Walter over email to discuss his inspirations and collaborations.

What do you seek to achieve with your residency?
This residency is for me the first opportunity to open, conduct and move forward a creative process with other people. One of the goals, then, is to establish an environment where all feel safe to not know, comfortable to experiment with the uncertain and competent to engage with our tools of practice, whatever they are, such that they feel set up for success. In doing all this, I hope to continue a conversation that I began over the summer when living and dancing in Tel Aviv, where I hope to return after graduation.

Where do you get inspiration from for your choreography?
There are many, many sources of information that have prompted our thinking in this process. Here is a short list of them : spiders, bones, vectors of designer chairs, Antigonick a wonderfully fearless play at the A.R.T. directed by Ianthe DemosThe Bacchae another compelling play at the Loeb Experimental Theater directed by Anna Hagen ’15, Objects on a Table by Guy Davenport, the Ailanthus tree, Facebook, Facebook on small screens, spider silk, Monet’s paintings of French fields, Gaga Movement Language as developed by Ohad Naharin, the sea at Tel Aviv, what it means to be available, the two dancers, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art and its invitation to “look closer,” sensation as information. We used text from Davenport and a book by Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard, to give rise to our movement phrases. Also, let it be known that spiders are excellent choreographic models.

How do you plan on collaborating with the resident mentors for the semester?
I met with Francesca Harper over lunch at the Signet Society house, affectionately called “the Hive”. Indeed, she and I enjoyed a conversation with several of the members and their sophomore guests, a chat that hummed with good vigor. Afterward, at the Harvard Dance Center, I used the spacious outdoor tennis courts to walk through the project for her. She shared her impressions. We moved indoors to speak in more detail and with the music for the show. Francesca is a very attentive, gracious person. She speaks sincerely, from her heart and her experience as a practitioner of dance. I am grateful for her willingness to take time with her thoughts.

What did you look for in casting your piece?
It is very meaningful to me to work with two dancers who are available, who are listening to their bodies and, when guided, learn to hear much, much more.

The Fall Emerging
Choreographers Showcase will be November 14 & 15 at the Harvard Dance Center, 60 Garden Street. Reserve free tickets here. Applications for the Spring 2014 residency are forthcoming.
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