I was the gotta dance kid. I was always moving. My earliest dance memory is dancing on my front lawn with abandon, performing choreographed routines for passing cars. Fast-forward 10 years to high school, and I became obsessed with “Club MTV," a dance show on the channel back when it played music videos. One day I took the Long Island Rail Road into Manhattan to audition and got my first paying dance job. I made my stage debut shortly after during a high school production of My Fair Lady. When I landed flat on my back during an unfortunate, overly eager hitch kick, it was clear I needed to start training.
During my time at Hofstra University, my love of movement was married with a fascination to create, make, express. I loved being in a studio with dancers and felt nourished by not only our collaborations, but by just being together, navigating life. Choreographing became a lens through which I could understand the world. It was at Hofstra where I choreographed 10th Floor, a work that explores my brother's struggle with mental illness, and the process allowed me to uncover a choreographic voice, while igniting my drive and fire to make dance.
That fire is continually stoked by working with dancers. When I start a piece, I often don't know what I'm going to create. I sometimes arrive with a kernel of an idea—about an observation of New Yorkers on a sidewalk, an aspect of a relationship, a documentary on ant colonies that had inspired a down-the-rabbit-hole spout of internet research. From there, playful exercises with my dancers will reveal a spark, a hook that provides a launching point. I am endlessly interested in unveiling dancers' unique personalities and idiosyncrasies. For me, choreographing a dance is putting the pieces together to create a whole, so often, I see myself as a dressmaker: The dancers help create the fabric, imbuing it with color and texture; I see the dress in its entirety and sew it together.
I started KEIGWIN + COMPANY only when I had created enough work to put on a show. That excitement to put together an evening with friends, co-conspirators, collaborators, was the original driving force. I still remember making our entrance from the fire escape because I wanted it to be different. As I embark on my second decade of making dances, I'm reminded of that kid dancing on the front lawn, and the sheer joy he took in sharing his passion.
A page from the December 1944 issue of Dance Magazine
Sometimes we find absolute gems in the DM Archives. And sometimes we find things that are so bizarre we couldn't have made them up if we tried. Take, for example, the opening lines of an article that appeared in the December 1944 issue of Dance Magazine:
If everyone seems a bit obsessed with tidying up right now, blame the trendy Japanese organizing guru Marie Kondo. Her uber-popular book-turned-Netflix-show has so many people purging their closets that thrift stores can no longer keep up with the donations. The reason? Fans are falling in love with what Kondo calls "the life-changing magic of tidying up."