Misa Kelly: SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre - Santa Barbara, CA U.S.A.

Robert Salas

Movement Artist: 
Misa Kelly

Company:  SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre

Website: www.sonneblauma.com

Artist Statement/Philosophy/Mission Statement:

My work as an artist is a big part of my lifework. It has a strong philosophical base that has been built over the years by a string of “aha” moments including:
• A riveting experience that came about from selling everything I owned to travel to study at Scuola Dimitri in Verscio Switzerland coming back with 25 cents to my name – literally. At this time I came to the realization for my own walkabout the greatest work of art of all is creation itself, and that I’m an integral part of that expression. That this expression is a thing of great honesty and integrity. If I wanted to make powerful art then there was a need to live a more honest life with a greater degree of integrity.
• A life sculptor class with Colin Gray that collided with considering the spiritual beliefs of the Kogi Indians in South America. There is a spiritual counterpart to everything that exists in a spiritual plane. That art is something that pre-exists in a physical manifestation and one of my roles as a creative being is to politely request for the ego to sit in the back seat while this expression flows through me. There was a distinct moment when working with the clay that I realized that the “truth” of the expression had arrived because it was analogous to a visual “truth ringing like a bell.” A distinct harmonic resonance in my being when what I was seeing vibrated with my entire being in a way that intuitively in a heart & gut felt place felt right.
• The cathartic and transformative power of the arts as a medium of expression that enables the individual artist to process Jungian shadow energies residing in the collective unconscious. Working with the common ground in the human condition to process personal shadow energies to create something universal.
• A vision on Santa Cruz island providing greater insight into how this type of work affects the planet
• That the movement arts can be a language of the soul, the heart, and textures and expressions that cannot be conveyed with written and spoken language as signifiers. That there are things that only movement can express resulting in dances that “aren’t about anything” yet have deep and profound meaning that one can’t wrap their mind around.
• That one of the primary purposes of dance is to expand consciousness by working with new metaphor that presents itself as a new possibility within the vacuum of potential . Given the interconnectedness of life this birthing of new metaphor enables others working in other disciplines to digest these energies – which – in my imagination leads to advancement in consciousness, invention.

Following is a collage derived from the words of audience members and artists who have lived in the work about how they experience the work.

She aims to expand the human spirit by investigating the limits of what the human body can experience. The work is ground breaking, hyper-physical, emotional, and pierces the soul of the performer, the viewer, and the community. The process is courageous and bold and marked by integrity. The result is creating work that is fresh, wild, authentic, and epic, the effect is riveting, engulfing, majestic, and profound. “I felt as if I was drawn into the work, I felt like I was being swallowed whole.”

Short Artist/Company Bio:
Misa Kelly is the founder of SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre. A contemporary dance company based in Santa Barbara, CA. In recent years the company has travelled to teach and perform in Istanbul, has toured California as a part of the 3 Cities: 3 Choreographers project, has performed in many festivals and showcases such as the COOL New York Dance Festival, MAX10, the MixMatch Festival, NECTAR, the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance’s New Works Concert, the Monterey Dance Festival & the Sylvia White Gallery’s 5x5x5 Performance Art Series. Additionally the company has performed as guest artists at Moorpark College, Santa Barbara City College & with Fusion Dance Company. Their experimental Guerilla style work has occurred at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Met, and MOMA. In addition to her work with SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre Misa has worked with Keigwin + Co, Santa Barbara Dance Theater, Motion Dance Theater, Stephen Kelly, Christopher Pilafian, Tonia Shimin, Christina McCarthy, Smudges Performance Group, James Donolon, and the Mark Parisian Mime troupe. Other large projects Misa is engaged in include serving as Festival Director, Co-Creator, and Co-Producer of the SB-ADaPT Festival and “Instigator” of the Dance SOS Center – a free international online dance resource center.

Describe some of your achievements over the course of the last five years:
It has been a BUSY past five years for us having completed over 40 projects: producing a master class series, our staple of studio showings, generating new work and opening our classes up to the community on a donation basis. Highlights include achieving our goal of getting work out of town in 2006 by attending the Monterey Dance Festival (we’ve been back twice since), being accepted onto the SBDA New Works concert 5 times, going on our first tour in 2008 travelling to Los Angeles, Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz, with a performance in our home community at Center Stage Theater. Also in 2008 we achieved our goal of going international journeying to Istanbul to teach and perform. In 2010 we achieved our goal of getting work to NYC for the COOL New York Dance Festival. Another goal was sharing our work in academic settings. In 2008 we were invited to perform and teach at Moorpark College. In 2010 we performed at UCSB, taught a master class at SBCC as well as Westmont, and are presently setting a work on 11 SBCC students.

What do you hope to gain from the experience of participating in this festival?
It is my hope to be a part of the process of fostering a functional, playful, and supportive container for dialog, artistic exchange of thought and ideas, and networking to create bridges to other communities creating opportunity to travel other places to share one’s work with other communities. I hope to grow artistically and creatively and to have the time of my life in a celebratory atmosphere and to inspire my community to engage and come out to support the Festival by buying tickets to the shows & collaborating in providing the resources (finances, goods, services) to make it a stunning success.

Have you participated in other festivals or showcases?
Yes: Locally as a part of the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance’s New Works Concert (5 times in the past 5 years) and NECTAR (3 times since fall of 2010). Out of town at the Monterey Dance Festival (3 times), MAX10 (3 times), the MixMatch Festival, and the COOL New York Dance Festival.

If so – what were elements you enjoyed and what areas do you think could have been improved on?
I enjoyed the opportunity to meet other artists and the excitement of just being able to get out of town. I find sometimes that people in other places seem to appreciate the work even more than they do locally. I would have appreciated opportunity to interact with others more. It feels so rushed to come in, tech, and then perform.