When seeking equality it is important to keep one’s discourse open to outside opinions so as to see things – in this case Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform – from multiple perspectives. This both strengthens our understanding of our own thinking and lets us consider questions we may not otherwise ask.
In the spirit of equality I’ve asked a few men in the dance community to give their opinion on the state of equality with choreographers, and Kaleidoscopic Arts Platform’s mission.
Here is the first of several interviews done with that different perspective in mind. Our first featured choreographer is Andrew Pearson – L.A. based choreographer and dancer.
Do you think there are more well known/successful male choreographers in today’s dance scene than female? Yes – the only internationally known female choreographer that comes to mind off the top of my head is Crystal Pite. Which is interesting because locally [in Los Angeles] I believe most of the companies are run by women.
Why, do you think that is? This is just speculation, but I know in Los Angeles most companies are self-starters with little to no grant or government funding. I wonder if this model allows for more artists to get their voices out, whereas places where government funding is the model may more often grant money to men than women, or, in this same vein, promote men internally into directorial positions more than women.
Do you personally find any difference between the works created by men versus women? Unless the work itself is inherently gendered (i.e. about female objectification, gay male sexuality, etc.) then no, I think good work is good work.
Does this affect their exposure/popularity? I don’t think exposure and popularity are always directly related to the quality of a person’s work. I see amazing local works all the time that don’t get the same notoriety as, say, the Los Angeles Dance Project, which is backed by big names and money. I don’t know if this is necessarily a gendered issue, however, if women aren’t being given opportunities to create, then of course their exposure will be lessened.
Any final thoughts or personal opinions regarding the subject of male and female choreographers? Some of my favourite and most influential choreographers to work with have been women. I think it’s important to acknowledge any disparity in opportunities and I’m in support of offering platforms to any group of people that may be neglected by the current system.
A big thank you to Andrew Pearson for your input.
Andrew Pearson is the founder and facilitator of Contemporary Dance Practice: LA. He received his training from the University of California, Irvine, where he studied intensively under Loretta Livingston and Donald McKayle and has continued his professional training in Los Angeles with workshops and classes from some of Los Angeles’s most influential educators including Rosanna Gamson, Holly Johnston, John Pennington, Kate Hutter, and Maria Gillespie.
This post was written by Cecilia Berghäll.