Rain Ross: Rain Ross Dance Company – Philadephia, PA U.S.A.

Photo: Debra Townsend

Choreographer: Rain Ross

Company: Rain Ross Dance Company

Website: www.rainross.com

Artist Statement/Philosophy/Mission Statement:

I utilize the medium of dance to help us understand the connection between our individual experiences. Art provides us with a space to ask questions, to look beyond our daily need for survival, and find the internal core of our selves and our world.

As someone who values intellectualism in the arts, I allow theoretical, historical, and societal based questions to influence my work. I believe that the mind and body, when working together as we do in dance, can provide solutions, answers, or, sometimes, further questions to ponder. In creating a new work, I often spend months researching subject material before I enter the studio. I want to be fully immersed in the topic before I begin to work with my dancers. This research and relation to relevant questions allows a personal side to my work, giving the audience the chance to feel invited into the experience and connected with the dance.

I strive to create work that is readable on many levels, depending upon the viewer’s perspective. I want my art to speak to the audience, to show them that they are not alone in their experiences. Within my work, I want to create a beauty on the stage; I want to create a beauty that has poignancy. By touching my audience, I hope to give something into their lives and encourage them to continue to see dance performances. My choreography has been noted for engaging the audience while still immersing itself within the questions at hand; it is noted for its rich and rewarding complexity.

Short Artist/Company Bio:

Rain Ross is an accomplished teacher, choreographer, and performer who has lived and danced in Hawaii, England, South Africa, Seattle, and Philadelphia, amongst other places. After performing with both ballet and contemporary companies, she founded and directed Lehua Dance Theatre, a non-profit contemporary dance company based in Seattle; now in Philadelphia, this company performs under the name Rain Ross Dance. As a dancer and choreographer, Rain has received various grants and awards, including the Amy Award for Emerging Artists and the Iowa Arts Fellowship. She has worked with such artists as Toni Pimble, David Dorfman, Wade Madsen, Hannah Wiley, and Deanna Carter. She received her MFA in Dance from the University of Iowa and her BA from Mount Holyoke College. Previously, she taught at Oakland University, University of Iowa, Mount Holyoke College, and Interlochen Arts Camp. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Dance at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Describe some of your achievements over the course of the last five years:

• Development of a repertory dance company, steadily increasing both its revenue and audience base (now that I have moved to Philadelphia, I will begin this process again)
• Completion of an MFA in Dance with an emphasis on choreography at the University of Iowa
• Securing a tenure track position at The Richard Stockton College of NJ, a school that supports the many facets of my work and a place where students enjoy exploring new ideas
• Selection for The A.W.A.R.D. Show! – Philadelphia in 2011
• Selection for a collaboration with the Center for the Book for the upcoming Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts in April 2011
• Presentation of a paper at the American Association of Geographers – Choreographing Subversion: Navigating the Traditional Performance Space
• Upcoming participation in a working session, What the Body Knows, at the 2010 Congress On Research in Dance (CORD) with my research, Performance as Research: Technology in Relationships

What do you hope to gain from the experience of participating in this festival?

In having my work presented in a new setting with a fresh audience, I hope to broaden my perspective on my work. I hope to receive feedback that will allow me to see new things within my own work, both from people viewing my work and from viewing the works of others.
Also, the participation in a festival is a new experience for me, so I look forward to both the exposure that such an experience provides as well as the opportunity to have work presented in a way that is new to me. This festival takes place in an area I am not as familiar with, and I look forward to the opportunity to connect with a new community in such an exciting event.
Lastly, the work I am proposing has only been performed in an informal showing and it is not in the genre in which I typically work. Although I utilize my training in ballet, I have rarely created a choreographic work for pointe. I would like to have an opportunity to show it in a professional setting to receive feedback on this expanded choice for me. I also feel that a festival atmosphere is the right venue, allowing an audience to see this work balanced with other types of movement vocabulary and artistic aesthetics.

Have you participated in other festivals or showcases?

Besides taking students to ACDFA, no.

What Rain will be bringing to the festival.

Title: Requiem
Number of performers: 1
Brief Description of the Work: A contemporary pointe solo based on one woman’s experience of loss and realization of relief, rather than grief.