8 Days: Maddie Hanson

Jan. 16, 2020

8 days until DanceWeekend'20! Today we are featuring Maddie Hanson who is one of the recipients of the Dance Ontario's Commission/Creative Partnership.

Dance Ontario's Creative Partnership Program provides production/creation support plus a performance fee to each of two choreographers for NEW work to be premiered at DanceWeekend each January. Learn more about applying to the Creative Partnership here: /activity-detail/commissions-creative-partnerships

Connect with Maddie Hanson: Instagram & Facebook: @maddiehanson1

Can you tell us little bit about your company/collective/school?

I am a freelance dancer and choreographer, originally from Toronto, Canada. I recently graduated from The Juilliard School in New York City, after being accepted as an Early Admission at age 16. I trained in Toronto and Los Angeles in both the concert and commercial dance scenes, and have been fortunate to dance with artists Jirí Pokorny, Cindy Salgado, Roy Assaf, Johannes Wieland, Stephanie Batten-Bland, Tony Testa, and Dana Foglia, as well as perform works by Martha Graham, José Limón, Thuy Wyckoff, Victor Quijada, and Crystal Pite. I have been choreographing for the last four years, and have presented work at APAP NYC, Baryshnikov Arts Center, DUMBO Dance Festival, Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center), and with Joffrey Ballet School and MOVE(NYC). I am interested in creating thought-provoking and innovative visual and movement content to engage and transform audiences, working with physical dance movement in combination with elements of theatricality to make concept-driven work. As an emerging female choreographer, I am hoping to cultivate a practice focused on process, and to introduce my artistic voice to audiences while honouring my creative lineage.

What are you showing at DanceWeekend’20?

I am presenting a new work entitled Retrospective. It is a contemporary duet between a male and female dancer that is both an exhibition and exploration of the development of their relationship. I’m interested in working with the ideas of disconnection and detachment, and incorporating multimedia video work playing on stacked retro televisions, to further elaborate on and review the dynamics being portrayed in the movement.

Who are the performers/collaborators in this piece(s)?

I am collaborating with one of my peers from Juilliard, Treyden Chiaravalloti, on the video work, and I will be performing alongside the incredibly talented Rakeem Hardy (also a Torontonian!)

Can you talk about your creative process? What inspires you?

I am very much inspired by concept and by imagery; often I start the process of choreographing a piece with seeing a final image of the stage, or a moment from the dance, in my head. I then do visual research for reference images that resemble what I am envisioning, and start to piece together a loose narrative or conceptual direction ahead of studio time. Once I get into the studio, my focus is always first and foremost on generating movement material, and then I go about connecting the dots once I have a solid foundation laid out. The most exciting part of creative process to me is the flexibility and the uncertainty that comes with it; every new process is a different experience, and an opportunity to learn about yourself creatively, as well as about the collaborators around you!

Please share your experience performing in a previous DanceWeekend and/or tell us what you are looking forward to at DanceWeekend’20?

This is my first time performing in DanceWeekend, and I am so excited and honoured to be part of a festival presenting such a diverse range of work and dance artists! I think it is a wonderful way to create access for audiences, and I admire the support of both established companies and emerging creators.

What is one surprising or interesting fact about your company/collective/school?

I’m an avid reader, enjoy collecting LEGO, and would love to study lighting design!

Do you have any up-coming performances/events you would like to share?

I will be presenting my piece memory score at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City as part of Booking Dance Festival on January 11th 2020! I am also re-setting my piece We Interrupt This Broadcast on the Jazz & Contemporary Trainees at Joffrey Ballet School for shows at Dixon Place in mid-January.

Photo by Nir Ariela