Earlier this week I had a chance to interview Ani Taj Niemann a native New Yorker and choreographer. We spoke about fashion, runway shows, and her latest project Dance Theatre Etcetera's new site-specific work, Dance on the Greenway featuring new dance works by Shannon Hummel/Cora Dance, Charmy Wells with Sarah Donnelly/RDC, Ani Taj Niemann/The Dance Cartel, Michelle Eaddy/Picture Perfect, and Solomon Goodwin/Royal Empire.
Ani makes dances to anything from Fred Astaire
soundtracks to Lil Jon albums so tomorrow I hope you'll attend Dance on the Greenway to see her super creative choreography. The performances are free and take place outdoors at IKEA in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Click here to get the full scoop! Ani and I hope to see you there:).
CC: How does costume design (in theatre) differ from fashion in dance?
ATN: Well, I'd trust our costume designer for OntheFloor Soule Golden to
answer this one better, but I guess my main thought is that dance is so
much a visual form, and what goes onto the bodies - from light to props
to the kind of fabric and cut of their clothing - has a major impact on
the image audience receives. Costuming contributes to storytelling of
course in both theatre and dance, but in dance I like to see liberty
taken on the purely aesthetic end of costuming - the immediate punch of
style, a daring line or bright color might have more of a place in the
abstract world of dance than in traditional theatre.
CC: What's the look for your piece in Dance on the Greenway?
ATN: In an outdoor space, one of the main challenges is figuring out how to
focus energy within the vast space of a beautiful natural environment.
For better or worse, we've opted to do this with neon baggy pants.
Indoors and out, we embrace a joyful, if at times idiotic, sensibility,
and that will carry through into Dance on the Greenway.
CC: How does your personal style affect your choreography or vice versa?
ATN: Most days I need to be ready to dance, but also pass for a professional
or an adult or civilized person. This has resulted in me upping the
"bright" in my dance wardrobe and relying on good boots or heels to
dress up sweats or absurd hammertime pants. Yea. On the flipside, I love
for the Cartel's dancing to reflect the bold personalities and youthful
spirit of the company members. I strive to expose what makes each of
them a unique body or mover, whether they're intensely dance-trained or
not, while also unifying us with a few of my priorities - low center of
gravity, momentum in the body, ability to rock a pair of heels or fake
CC: If you were commissioned to choreograph a runway show, what would that look like?
It'd have to be tailored to the designer's work! Tiny movement solos for
models in very high heels, subtle unison choreography when several
bodies are out, maybe messing with the typical linear format - many
possibilities... What a cool project that'd be though - any designers up
Ani Taj Niemann at architecturemoves press reception
photos: © kamau ware 2012