Freemove Dance is a modern dance company that is dedicated to producing original performance works. In the Fall of 2018, the organization is partnering with The theater at the 14th Street Y to present their latest piece titled “…it’s time…” This is the company’s debut full-length show that examines the complexity of human relationships and our relationship to the concept of time.

Choreographed by Jenn Freeman, the performance includes an original score by renowned percussionist and drummer Dani Markham who is best known as a band member of Childish Gambino.

Playing from October 11 to October 14, 2018, tickets for “…it’s time…” retail for between $20 and $25.

On September 13, 2018, Jennifer and Dani granted an exclusive interview where they discussed this visually arresting and emotional new work, finding a venue, securing dancers, dealing with costumes, and more.

Dance, creativity, and themes

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you originally get into the dance and what styles most intrigue you?

Jennifer Freeman (JF): My grandmother found an advertisement for a dance studio in the local newspaper when I was two. With my mother in tow, she took me to a baby ballet class and dance has fully defined my life from that point forward. Growing up, I was trained mainly in jazz, ballet, and modern, which has culminated in my landing in contemporary dance.

As a mover and a creator, I am intrigued the most by contemporary dance – I find that is where I feel the most freedom. All types of movement can exist in that world, but at the same time, I am able to pull from my technical roots.

MM: You have worked with Cirque du Soleil, so how much did that impact your creativity?

JF: I was an assistant to Sonya Tayeh (my dear friend and mentor) who was choreographing a fundraiser for Cirque.

That project opened my eyes to what is possible on a large scale. It was a nice reminder to practice dreaming big as far as production value goes, what can exist outside of the movement itself.

MM: What led you to establish Freemove Dance and was it difficult to get the company off the ground?

JF: I have always known that, at some point, I wanted to have my own company.

Now I feel ready to start producing my own work fully and, in the process of submitting applications and raising funds, it feels necessary that I officially name my collective of dancers. Branding and producing online content has been the biggest challenge, letting people know that this thing that didn't exist before is here now.

MM: “’s time...” is about human beings and their relationship with each other and time. So how did these themes come to you?

JF: I have always had an affinity towards “time” as a theme in the dances that I create. I feel a constant struggle between following my intuition (natural timing) vs. expectation. If I take my time and wait until I feel ready, society labels me “late,” or at least it feels that way.

I always feel I am late.

Performance, venue, and the future

MM: How long did it take to complete the performance such as finishing the scenes and music?

JF: For the movement, we started creation in my hometown Boise, Idaho in December 2017. We then had two week-long residencies in New York City in February and May. We are now in our final seven-week rehearsal process in NYC. Two of the dancers live in Los Angeles, and three live in NYC so getting everyone together in the same space is a challenge, a worthy one. I will let Dani speak on the music!

Dani Markham (DM): I’ve been gathering musical ideas since the beginning of this year, and am still constantly collecting new ones. My most recent inspiration came to me while I was waiting to go on stage to perform.

I was sitting in anticipation and looked down to notice my foot tapping in a particularly anxious rhythmic pattern. I recorded it and reconstructed it to the drum kit. It felt very genuine.

MM: How did you secure the dancers, costumes, and venue?

JF: The dancers are all dear friends of mine. We have all worked and danced together in many different capacities over the years. It was important to me that for my first full presentation in New York that I have a cast of people I know I can trust. Mondo Morales is the costume designer, we met when I was setting work on dance students at Marymount Manhattan College, and he has now designed costumes for four pieces of mine. I love dreaming big with Mondo; he is up for anything.

Securing the theater felt like one of the biggest challenges. Fortunately, I submitted the piece to be a part of the Theater at the 14th Street Y’s curated season and was accepted through an application and interview process.

MM: What do you hope people get out of viewing this performance?

DM: I think this piece will give our audience a reason to think about the installation of time and how intensely it impacts our lives. I am hopeful that people will see the parallels and the bond that time and rhythmic tempo share. I think Jenn’s sonic vision to have a drum framework for her piece is extremely profound. Drums are an ancient form of story-telling and are still used as such, in many civilizations throughout the world today.

It feels so appropriate that the drums are narrating the story.

JF: Also, I hope people can find a window through which they can see themselves in the work. I think that the audience will find the piece highly relatable.

MM: What are your biggest hopes for the future of Freemove Dance and your careers in general?

JF: Fundraising was by far the biggest challenge for this piece, I hope that I can find a manageable way to keep producing work with Freemove Dance. I would also love to create work for other dance companies. I hope I have opportunities to keep performing as well, even if it means building up the courage to create those moments for myself.

DM: I am always excited to tackle new projects that take me to the foreign creative territory.

There’s something about working with dancers that has opened a deeper consciousness to my creative being. They are connected and aware of their bodies, and it seems to allow them to dig deep into their spirits. I’ve always dreamt of being a positive impact on kids and young women at large.

Music has been my greatest healer, my guide, my therapy, and I hope to inspire other youth to find themselves, heal themselves and love themselves, through the power of music and rhythm. My true love is being on stage. I’m a performer thick and through and that is always where I feel most at home.