Featured Choreographer: October 2019
Featured Choreographer of the month: Monica Nicolaides
What motivates you to pursue a career in choreography?
After working as a dancer for several years, I wanted to have a bit more creative input in projects I was involved with. I love exploring different ideas and concepts, and movement is my mode of expression. As a choreographer and movement director, you can collaborate with other amazing artists, be it in theatre, music, art, fashion or film to challenge your artistic approach. You can’t escape movement, so being able to shape it and perhaps reinvent it, is a beautiful opportunity to produce something with a strong point of view that connects with the audience.
Can you share with us some highlights of your choreographic career and/or your current engagements?
SIGNS received support by Arts Council England, bbodance and IdeasTap Innovators fund. I was a featured choreographer on Zealous for my collaboration with visual artist Hallidonto in 2017. My most recent work was Revival Director for Ryedale Festival Opera’s ‘Cosí Fan Tutte’.
How has your choreographic process and work developed over time?
I challenge myself with every project by exploring new ways of working with movement. My approach is influenced by the performers – actors, singers or dancers – and the medium, hence varies to match the requirements of the work. Sometimes focus is placed on gestural movements of each character to strengthen the narrative and the relationships portrayed. Other projects require long choreographed phrases based on a specific music or genre. I take inspiration from the environment, the concept and other creative to inform my practice.
What do you think are some of the main challenges choreographers are faced with today?
It can be a lonely job, so you have to constantly find ways to connect with others. There are some platforms where artists can workshop ideas and contribute to the development of each other’s artistic practice, but you have actively initiate contact with prospective collaborators, follow the industry and look for development opportunities. Funding is scarce, so as a choreographer you need think of yourself as an investment. Invest in yourself to develop, so that your work develops; use your creativity in finding possible collaborators, because you can find your best allies in the most unlikely places.
What advice would you give to emerging choreographers?
Network, meet other artists (and non-artists) and collaborate as much as you can – whether it is through social media, networking events or reaching out to artists you admire. Find like-minded people to create work together, and also give yourself the opportunity to develop your own artistic practice. Be clear with your point of view and artistic approach, and aim to push yourself with every project. I think the quality of your work reflects on you as a professional, and that will bring you more opportunities.
What kind of work are you currently interested in pursuing?
I am interested in more collaborations outside the conventional dance theatre field, as I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in opera and filmed works. I recently explored these areas as a movement director and I am looking to build up on this experience with some upcoming projects. As a female choreographer, I want my work to support women, by connecting other female creatives and through my own individual practice, where I am exploring women in current society and feminism.