Chris Schlichting: love things
For Chris Schlichting, exploring the definitions of dance is as much the point as developing the choreography itself. He came to the field first as a break-dancer and through the resurgence of swing dance in the late 1990s. He later joined Ethnic Dance Theater, which focuses on traditional folk steps, and at the same time soaked up a lot of the experimental contemporary work happening in the Twin Cities. He has also performed with past Momentum artists Hijack, Morgan Thorson, and Justin Jones.
In love things, a kinetic dialogue with images of America in the 1970s and ‘80s, Schlichting pulls from vernacular and formal dance as well as Top 40 songs, videos, and treasured objects from his youth to consider the construct of fantasy evoked by pop culture. “The work begins by thinking through our dance histories, thinking about the movement as a conversation and how it speaks differently today than it did then,” he says. “It’s about what attracted us to dance initially and also reformulating that to where we are now.”
Maia Maiden and Ellena Schoop: The Foundation, et cetera
In early 2007, Maia Maiden had her DNA analyzed to better pinpoint her West African roots. Results in hand—she learned of family stemming from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea Bissau—she set about creating a dance work that would “do some exploring of ideas between what I’m calling the African generation, the civil rights generation, and mine, which is the hip-hop generation. The civil rights generation is very aware of its history, but with my generation, lots of people want no connection to history and the people who came before. So we’re trying to show those perceptions and also show what we have in common; we’re trying to show the struggles of the generations through the eyes of both generations.”
Maiden, who grew up in South Minneapolis and cofounded Apple Valley High School’s first hip-hop dance troupe, created The Foundation, et cetera with fellow choreographer Ellena Schoop, whose experiences in theater and Caribbean and Senegalese dance balance Maiden’s background in hip-hop and step dance.