Myssi Robinson at her mixed-media installation yours, the white. Photo by Lisa Hibbert, Courtesy Robinson

Self-Described "Maximalist" Myssi Robinson Dives Deep Into Her Art

Myssi Robinson moves from the inside out. It's as if she has conversations with every breath, registers them in her limbs, and then envelops the space. Whether in works by David Dorfman or Kyle Marshall, she masterfully mixes text and technique.

Age: 30

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Companies: Kyle Marshall Choreography, David Dorfman Dance


Training: City Dance Theatre in Richmond, Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts

Accolades: 2020 NY Dance and Performance ("Bessie") Award nomination for outstanding performer

New Jersey–based: After graduation, Robinson joined Jersey City's Nimbus Dance Works, taught at the company school and quickly embraced the close-knit dance community there—"it's really my deep home," she says. Living across the Hudson River allows for breathing room away from the fast-paced, financial hustle of New York City, she admits.

Myssi Robinson joyfully dances through a curtain of white streamers, her head thrown back as she smiles widely. Her arms slice through the streamers.

Myssi Robinson at yours, the white

Lisa Hibbert, Courtesy Robinson

Inside the role: Robinson earned a Bessie nomination for her performances in Marshall's work, including Colored. She describes the production as a world that "contains many variations of my being a Black woman, performer and friend."

Making dance visual: Self-defined as a maximalist, Robinson's other love is creating visual art that brings the "aura" of movement to life. She's collaborated with Marshall as well as ColemanCollective and Davalois Fearon Dance on installations and set pieces for their performances. She is currently exploring mixed-media drawing, space building and creative archiving.

What Marshall is saying: The choreographer mentions "her capacity for deeply honest investigation" and describes Robinson as "a multidimensional artist who expresses her truth through her physicality, her voice, the stroke of a pen or a twist of her hair."

A giving spirit: Also a member of David Dorfman Dance since 2018, Robinson cherishes opportunities to teach young artists through its community-outreach programs. "I am developing a relationship to my profession that is simultaneously more critical and more generous," she says. Dorfman adds, "She thinks, feels, dances, writes, speaks, makes visual art deeply, so that when she moves, her aliveness seeps through every pore."

Hitting reset: Although she deeply misses the cycle of incubation and creation that's on hold due to the pandemic, she is using this time to study the moon, plants, earth, water and air. "I want to know what these natural rhythms can teach me about movement," she says.

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AMDA students learn how to present their best selves on camera. Photo by Trae Patton, Courtesy AMDA

AMDA's 4 Tips for Acing Your Next Audition

Ah, audition day. The flurry of new choreography, the long lines of dancers, the wait for callbacks. It's an environment dancers know well, but it can also come with great stress. Learning how to be best prepared for the big day is often the key to staying calm and performing to your fullest potential (and then some).

This concept is the throughline of the curriculum at American Musical and Dramatic Academy, where dance students spend all four years honing their audition skills.

"You're always auditioning," says Santana Trujillo, AMDA's dance outreach manager and a graduate of its BFA program. On campus in Los Angeles and New York City, students have access to dozens of audition opportunities every semester.

For advice on how dancers can put their best foot forward at professional auditions, Dance Magazine recently spoke with Trujillo, as well as AMDA faculty members Michelle Elkin and Genevieve Carson. Catch the whole conversation below, and read on for highlights.

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July 2021