Arts Profile: She’s Got Moves
All the Holy City’s a stage for modern dance choreographer Kristin Alexander
Choreographer Kristin Alexander hit the Charleston arts scene in 2010, relocating her then-three-year-old Annex Dance Company from Pennsylvania. The modern dance group has since gathered a loyal following, performing everywhere from Piccolo Spoleto to the Charleston Marathon and collaborating with musicians such as Entropy Ensemble and Laura Ball. Artistic director Alexander—also a dance educator who teaches through Annex and at College of Charleston—discusses her work.
The early years: When I was three, my mom put me in dance class because I couldn’t stop moving. In high school, my father encouraged me to do what I loved, so I went on to get my bachelor’s in dance from Goucher College and a master of fine arts from George Mason University.
Dancing in Charleston: I’ve had to work to find performance opportunities, but luckily I think outside the box and I am willing to perform anywhere—whether a theater, the Old City Jail, or outdoors. This has helped us meet new audience members and make connections with new collaborators.
Most influential choreographers: Merce Cunningham changed my views with his “chance dance” methods. Mark Morris helped me appreciate the connection between music and choreography. Bill T. Jones made me see the importance of an evening-length work and taking the audience on a journey.
Leading a dance class for Gaillard Auditorium construction workers: Scott Watson from the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs was approached by the construction company, who hoped to provide a dance warm-up for the crew as part of the national Safety Week last spring. Scott thought of Annex, and we all agreed it was a great way for the workers to connect to the people who would one day be performing in the great facility they were building. They were enthusiastic and a lot of fun to work with.
Latest performance: We presented a concert in October at the Woolfe Street Playhouse entitled “Full Circle,” a collection of old and new work I choreographed. It revolved around the theme of relationships and how our patterns lead back around to a familiar beginning.
Thanksgiving dinner plans: My sister, who lives here, is due on Thanksgiving with the first-born grandchild, so we will all be at the hospital, or I will be having the whole kit and caboodle of extended family at my house.
Grateful that: My husband, Rob, and I are expecting our first child in April!
Catch a show: Annex Dance Company is performing during the Charleston Dance Festival’s December 14 Performance Showcase. Find info at www.charlestondancefestival.com.