Author: Becca Vaclavik

Q&A with ‘re-membering’ choreographers Taylor Madgett and Kshitija C. Saturdekar

On Oct. 4, CU Theatre & Dance opens “re-membering” in the Charlotte York Irey Theatre with works choreographed by MFA Dance candidates Taylor Madgett and Kshitija C. Saturdekar. Through “re-membering,” Madgett and Saturdekar explore classical and contemporary Indian, modern, jazz, and urban styles of dance to physically interrogate the reclamation of Africanist inheritance and to upend the historical binaries of movement styles. CU Presents sat down with Madgett and Saturdekar to talk about the upcoming dance concert they’ve put together.

What are you working on right now?

Taylor Madgett: I’m currently working on piecing together choreography, music and costumes for “re-membering.” I’m also trying to edit and clean the choreography that I currently have, as well as develop roles and characters within the piece.

Kshitija C. Saturdekar: I’m currently working on my MFA thesis concert “re-membering” with my friend and co-grad Taylor Madgett.

What is your dream project?

TM: My dream project would be to choreograph works for my own dance company, as well as work with Beyonce or Missy Elliott.

KS: I have many dream projects and I try to achieve them one at a time. At this moment, my MFA thesis show is my dream project. I’ll have a new one after that.

What/who is inspiring you right now?

TM: I’m currently inspired by Ian Eastwood, Keone and Mariel Madrid, and Daniel Jerome.

KS: My biggest inspiration has and will always be my family. They have been my biggest fans and they are always inspiring me in new ways. In the dance world, when I’m creating, I take a lot of inspiration from the works of Akram Khan and the Batsheva Dance company.

Tell us about the inspiration behind your show.

TM: This show is inspired by complications that African Americans face with identity. I personally sometimes struggle with the double consciousness of being African American, in particular not knowing enough about my African heritage while also being othered as a black person in America, resulting in not feeling wholly connected to either component of my identity. This show tries to take a stab at potential solutions, in particular by looking at what remnants may remain/may be often overlooked within ourselves that point to a deeper connection to African roots.

KS: My research in dance has always involved role of gender, society and gaze in dances and the expectations and opinions surrounding a dancing body. These topics inspire me and give me a reason to create work. They allow me to use dance as a means to spark conversation among humans both non-verbal and verbal.

Without giving too much away, tell us about your favorite moment (so far!) in the performance.

TM: My favorite moment would have to be a group section that takes place on the floor, where bodies become intertwined.

KS: I haven’t really thought about a favorite moment, because the entire performance is my favorite (haha). But just the fact that I get to work and dance with beautiful and hardworking dancers is probably my favorite.

What do you want audience members to know before they enter the Irey this fall?

TM: I would want audience members to know that all of the cast and production team have been hard at work, crafting an amazing show. I would also inform them to come with an open heart and open mind, throwing out any expectations at the door!

Tell me three things about yourself that might surprise people.

TM: Everyone in my immediate family is artistic. I thought I was going to be a lawyer a couple of years ago. Although I live in Colorado, I hate the snow. (Or I know how to read Latin, whichever one you think is more interesting.)

KS: Not many people know that I love painting. I have a fear of heights, but I want to try bungee jumping and skydiving at least once in my life. I speak four languages and want to learn more.

Why are the arts important (to you or to humanity as a whole)?

TM: Art is essential to life. Art awards us the freedom of expression, which is invaluable. We use art to express our emotions, question ideas and push boundaries. The arts cut across racial, cultural, social, educational and economic barriers. No matter where a person comes from, the arts allow people to come together and share common interests and desires. Even if people speak completely different languages, art serves as a universal language, uniting people from all walks of life. The arts represent who we are as a people, where we come from and where we can go.

KS: When I was a kid I used to think of Art as just dancing, singing, painting, etc. As I grew older I realized Art is so much more. Art is freedom of expression, love, beauty, emotions, balance, resilience, power. Art is even embracing the negatives and that is so much more important in life than knowing the Pythagorean theorem.