In May, Kentucky native Mac Allen was named the winner for BellaMoxi Dance Convention’s 2017 Emerging Artists Choreographic Festival in Phoenix, AZ, for her routine A State of Being. Currently pursuing a BFA in Dance Performance from Arizona State University, Allen has had the opportunity to work with many artists, such as Bessie Award and Princess Grace Award winner Kyle Abraham.
Recently, Allen shared more about her journey in dance and her future ambitions with Dance Informa. To get to know this emerging choreographer a little better, check out our interview with her.
Mac, when did you first start dancing?
“I started dancing at the age of three at Expressions Dance Theater. My mom put me in dance class because I was very hyper and always dancing around the house. Once I first performed on stage, there was no turning back.”
Growing up, what dance techniques and styles did you train in?
“Up until 18, I trained in ballet, tap, jazz, acrobatics, hip hop choreography, contemporary and pointe. When I went to Arizona State University, I started training in post-modern contemporary and urban movement practices, which includes breaking, locking, house, popping, vogue and whacking.”
When did you start choreographing? Do you focus solely on one style?
“I started choreographing when I got to college at the age of 18. I predominantly focus on contemporary movement, but urban styles and post-modern contemporary have had a huge influence on my aesthetic in the past few years. This fusion of styles is what I want to continue working with in performance and choreography.”
Who have you worked with in your career thus far? Who are some dancers/choreographers you look up to?
“I have worked with Kaelyn Gray, Cara Patrick, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Tentacle Tribe, Kyle Abraham, Karen Schupp, Jessica Rajko, Carley Conder and Jesse Zaritt. Some choreographers I look up to are Victor Quijada, director of RUBBERBANDance group; Crystal Pite, director of Kidd Pivot; and Tentacle Tribe.”
Down the road, what are your dance goals?
“My main goal is to perform, create and collaborate as a freelance artist. I am also considering joining a company on contract for a few years. My other goals include teaching, getting involved in not-for-profit dance organizations, production for dance, making visual art and traveling the world as I do it. “
How does it feel to be the 2017 BellaMoxi Emerging Artist Choreographic Festival Winner for Phoenix?
“It feels incredible! This is the first time I have submitted my work into a festival, so receiving this honor was surreal, and I am very thankful.”
When did you start working on the routine you presented at BellaMoxi, A State of Being? What was the creative process like?
“I started working on my solo about a year ago now, and it was first performed for ASU’s undergraduate project presentations in Fall 2016. What inspired me to make this solo was that there was a lot of personal change and transition happening in my life at the time. It was overwhelming and exciting, and I needed to reach deeper into myself, and dance was perfect for that. The creative process happened quite naturally because it was true and real to what I was experiencing. This was such a milestone for me as a dancer, and after the premiere of this piece, I want to continue to create.”
Overall, looking to the future, how does this recognition with BellaMoxi push you to keep producing work?
“It has provided a platform for me to share my art, and that’s all I could ask for. Moving forward, the one thing that any artist can ask for is support behind their work. I have felt endless support in the past year from the BellaMoxi team, and I hope to continue to grow with them in the future.”
For more information on BellaMoxi, visit Bellamoxi.com.
By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.
All performance photos courtesy of BellaMoxi. All other photos courtesy of Mac Allen.