Kristen Carcone is a Toronto-born, internationally acclaimed dancer, choreographer, teacher, and reiki healer. She is a company member of Third Rail Projects (New York, NY), currently performing in their Bessie award winning production Then She Fell . Kristen is a guest artist with cross-disciplinary performance company, FROG IN HAND, and has also performed the original works of Jason Parsons, Nicole Von Arx, Kate Wallich, Gabriel Forestieri, and the Kuperman Brothers. She has performed internationally in a variety of shows and festivals including: The Phish Concert at Madison Square Garden (New York, NY), Tangente’s Danses Buissonnieres (Montreal, Quebec), The New Prague Dance Festival (Prague, Czech Republic) and Art Gallery of Ontario’s MASSIVE PARTY (Toronto, Ontario).
In 2016, Kristen was named one of the 25 Most Influential Young Choreographers to watch by Narcity Toronto. Her choreography can be seen in Joseph Gordon Levitt’s My Favourite Things video, Cardinal’s Pride music video Masterpiece, and in Supa’Nova, a new play by Maria Corina Ramirez. Kristen’s work has been described as “energetic, highly entertaining and refreshingly playful” – Sarah Lochhead/The Dance Current. As a creator of experiential theatre, Kristen has great interest in mindful performance and healing through the arts. She encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration between artists of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds, aiming to share stories that are inclusive, honest, and, of course, entertaining. Thanks to funding from the Toronto Arts Council, and support from lululemon NY, Kristen’s latest work 4-7-8 will premiere Fall 2018 in Toronto.
Kristen is Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of TOES FOR DANCE, an internationally recognized non-profit organization that has been featured in the Globe and Mail, Mississauga News, and The Dance Current Magazine. She graduated from the dance division of New World School of the Arts in 2011 earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with Highest Honors. www.kristencarcone.com
BDL: Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get started in the world of dance and choreography?
KC: I have been telling stories and making shows since I was three years old. Growing up I had the privledge to try many extra curricular activities. Piano, swimming, gymnastics, karate, soccer…but dance is was what I chose to commit to at quite a young age. I attended a public arts high school program during the day and trained at a competitive dance studio in the evenings. Gaining concert dance and commercial dance knowledge simultaneously was truly a gift as it allowed my toolbox as performer, storyteller, and dance maker to become incredibly versatile. For my post secondary education I chose to dive deeper into the concert dance world, earning my BFA in Dance at New World School of the Arts in Miami, Florida. My interest in character and narrative really surfaced in these four years and is the direction I have taken both my choreographic and performance career ever since.
BDL: What three words would you use to describe your choreographic style?
KC: The Dance Current Magazine describes my work as “energetic, highly entertaining, and refreshingly playful.” I’m totally into that!
BDL: During your week at BDL, you chose to revise and expand upon an existing piece of yours called, “Dinner is Served.” Can you tell us a bit about that piece and what you’ve been working on this week?
KC: Dinner is Served started out as a piece that was about social programming and social anxiety. What is our inner dialogue vs our outer dialogue? How do we want to behave vs how were we taught to behave? Dinner is Served originally started as a 3.5 minute work created on a group of youth in Ottawa, ON. As we were making the piece I quickly realized the work was destined for film. Thanks to Roger Galvez, Jesse Hunt and a cast of amazing NYC professional dance artists, a film version was made in 2017. After remounting it for stage at the Y-Cabaret in 2018, I started to wonder what it would be like to turn Dinner is Served into a full evening length show. This “expanded-world” is what I worked on at BDL. Being gifted time, dancers, and studio space allowed me to dive deeper into the back stories of the Dinner is Served characters. The BDL company and I were able to develop and experiment with new storylines and potential scenes. This process allowed some darker, more socially relevant themes to surface. It suddenly made the humour in the original work gain new importance. I can’t wait to continue exploring this full length version of Dinnner is Served.
BDL: What is your biggest takeaway from this week with Broadway Dance Lab?
KC: Gratitude. This week reminded me how important discussion, experimentation, and physicalization is to the creative process. Due to lack of funds and lack of time, I often have to create choreography alone and in my head. Getting to collaborate and play with possibilities, with no pressure of outcome, is a gift! Thank you BDL!