Leaping onto the Dance Scene
By Linnea Sheldon
Lori Simkowitz-Lavigne, co-director of the newly formed The Moving Company, has been a dance therapist for the past five years. Her extensive dance background started taking shape when she was young. “In college I majored in psychology and minored in dance,” she explained. “I went on to pursue my Masters Degree in dance movement therapy. During these years I was very interested in working with people and their emotions and their stories to create dances. When I went to graduate school I was looking at how that process creates healing for people with mental illness.” While working on her education, she tried to find opportunities to dance and perform, but didn’t have much luck. So, along with Jennifer Silverberg, her friend from graduate school, Simkowitz-Lavigne took matters into her own hands and created those opportunities for herself and other dancers.
The women formed The Moving Company, a self-funded, local dance collaborative that currently includes, in additional to co-directors Simkowitz-Lavigne and Silverberg, four other dancers from a variety of backgrounds.
The pair started working together toward their goal in April of this year. They held auditions in September and October and then established their core ensemble. “We had an audition process where we invited people to come and led them through a process which involved taking abstract works or feelings and putting them into movement.”
According to Simkowitz-Lavigne, they were looking for people who were interested in performing and were willing to take risks in movement and put their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and stories out there. “We were basically looking for people who really enjoyed movement,” she said. “The people who met the criteria were invited to join us.”
Some of the members are classically trained, including one who is a Laban Movement Analyst. One has a Bachelor’s Degree in choreography and was an organizer of V-Day, the local “Vagina Monologues” show. They also range in age from about 25 to 50 years old.
Simkowitz-Lavigne explained that the group does not work strictly with one particular style of dance, but rather uses bits and pieces of all types and combines them in a way that flows together beautifully. “If you had to put a style on it you could say it is modern or lyrical, but it’s really what the people bring to the company,” she said.
There is some cultural dance incorporated into the repertoire as well. “Essentially what we’re doing is working with the dancers to make the movement,” she explained. “At one rehearsal we brought descriptive terms like slick or heavy and had the dancers play with it. From there we refined it into movement phrases, allowing the movement to take place in the dancers themselves and then putting it together.”
The Moving Company has a rehearsal space in Westborough and currently is self-funded, but they will be looking for grants and assistance in the future. The group rehearses two hours per week and plans on scheduling performances at some point in the future. They do offer classes based on the Nia technique and conduct workshops based on their availability.
Although they did close public auditions, they will continue to accept members on a case-by-case basis. Simkowitz-Lavigne said they do not currently have any designers but look forward to finding creative individuals with a desire to explore. “We really felt there was an absence of opportunities for adults to dance and perform in this area, and we want to provide [them],” she said. “We are interested in collaborating with musicians, designers, and artists for any kind of performance opportunities.”
For more information, contact the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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