Kristin Sudeikis Talks Mental Health, FORWARD__Space and Her Collaborative Kaatsbaan Premiere
Kristin Sudeikis has always been part dance artist, part sage, doling out wisdom and inspiration along with her cathartic, highly musical movement at her cult favorite Broadway Dance Center and Peridance classes. But in recent years, a whole new audience of dancers and nondancers alike have been introduced to the choreographer’s devotional approach to dance through her FORWARD__Space studio, which offers sweaty, spiritual dance-meets-fitness-meets-club classes in New York City and online. Its popularity has seemed to explode during the pandemic, as the hunger for such together-but-not experiences grew. (It didn’t hurt that Sudeikis’ brother, the actor Jason Sudeikis, wore a tie-dyed FORWARD__Space sweatshirt while accepting the Golden Globe for his role as Ted Lasso.)
Sudeikis will bring her signature class to the Dance Magazine audience with a Dance Media Live! event scheduled for May 2. She’ll also premiere a new work at the Kaatsbaan Summer Festival on June 4 and 5, a collaboration with choreographers Danielle Agami and Jessica Castro.
Why do you think people connected with FORWARD__Space so much during this time?
People want to connect to their bodies. We don’t start with the idea of it being for mental health, but where would any of us who dance be without that outlet? There is no other modality that does what dance does for people, because it’s just so primal, and it’s so life-giving. I think the mental health of our dance community is just tender right now; not having an outlet to move in a physical space—that’s such a part of how we process.
Tell me about JOURNEY, the piece you’re premiering at Kaatsbaan next month.
The producers, Melanie Hamrick and Joanna deFelice, connected with me in 2019. It almost happened in all these different spaces—it was going to be in Los Angeles in April 2021. And now it being birthed in upstate New York, outside at Kaatsbaan, feels so resonant and right. It’s a live experience with music, and there will be moments of breaking the fourth wall. It’s a response to wanting to have an experience where you’re not just watching, but you’re also partaking. But not in ways that feel invasive, because I’m not comfy with that.
It’s to the music of The Rolling Stones and Amy Winehouse, and there’s a composer putting it all together. I’m choreographing the third act and it starts with an a cappella version of Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry on Their Own.” It’s looking to go on tour—I can see this happening all over the world.
Anything else you want to mention?
For anyone in New York, especially in the dance community, if they want a FORWARD__Space class on me, I want to offer that. Because it’s just a dark room for dancers to come in and just totally drop and let go.
FORWARD__Space is offering readers one complimentary sweat session at 24 Spring Street in New York City. To redeem, go to forward-space.com/buy-classes, add a single class to your cart and use code FORWARDSpaceDance at checkout.