028: Choreographer and dancer Killian Manning insists on possibility

“We are here. It is chaotic. If we say yes, what can happen?” Choreographer Killian Manning is a treasured director and teacher. It’s easy to see why after this humorous and thoughtful conversation full of inspiring quotes, Killian’s process, and her insights into performance and ensemble.

Choreographer and dancer, Killian Manning, came to the Triangle from Boston, where she was a member of Susan Rose and DanceWorks, served on the faculties at Radcliffe, DanceWorks and the Boston Conservatory, and founded her company, NoForwardingAddress.  Her award-winning choreography has been seen in Salt Lake City, Boston, Chicago, Birmingham, and North Carolina. She has served on the dance faculties at UNC-Chapel Hill, Radcliffe, the Boston Conservatory, Repertory Dance Theater, and Samford University, and currently teaches at The Ballet School of Chapel Hill. Killian is also full-time faculty in the Communication Studies Department at UNC-Greensboro, She has a B.A. in German, an M.T.S. in Theology, a Ph.D. in Performance Studies, and pointe shoes from Freed.

This episode is brought to you by the Soapboxers, the official patrons of the Artist Soapbox. If you like these episodes and want more, get on the Soapbox! This episode was recorded at the ASBX home studio.

Time break-down:

[0:00] Episode intro and Killian’s bio.

[1:14] A Twyla Tharp quote that’s meaningful to Killian: “Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.”

[4:12] Killian’s backstory. Returning to dance as a young adult. German to Theology to Performance Studies, but dance throughout. Finding her voice. “Exploring the place between walking and dance…the love of pedestrians.”

[15:55] Why she choose those areas of study and their commonalities. Her work at UNCG as a faculty member teaching performance studies.

[20:40] Performance Studies and Killian’s technique of creating work. The influence of Mark Morris and Trisha Brown.

[26:29] What kind of maker is Killian? How does she describe her work? Defying the labels.

[29.29] Some of Killian’s signature pieces: The Year of Empty Wine Bottles, 1*9*5*6 Degrees of Separation

[35:26] Being happy with her work. What does Killian feel good about? What compels her to make work?

[41:11] The affection of an ensemble, and the grief of the ephemeral art.

[45:26] Killian includes people with different ‘movement styles’ in her ensembles. Why? The gift of saying “whatever you have to bring is what I want.”

[50:03] Tamara’s noticed that Killian’s students love her. Why?

[52:12] What helpful things has Killian learned as ‘the person standing at the front of the room’? “People need to know that you are working with them out of love and out of respect.”

[55:47] What’s next for Killian? The possibilities of site specific work and taking a curatorial role?

[59:20] A quote from John Cage: “Let us say yes to our presence in chaos.”

[1:00:15] Thanks and sign-off


020: Artist and Executive Director Geraud Staton equips budding entrepreneurs

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Artist Soapbox

Artist Soapbox is a platform for original scripted audio fiction and an opportunity for artists to discuss their creative work in their own voices. We do this through our interview podcast, our blog, live events, and original audio dramas.

Artist Soapbox is an anti-racist organization. We believe Black Lives Matter. In addition, as a podcast production company, ASBX has signed the Equality in Audio Pact on Broccoli Content.

Artist Soapbox is more than just a podcast.

We lead writers groups, accountability support, workshops, and events. We produce and create audio dramas too! Listen to the Master BuilderThe New Colossus Audio Drama, Jesus Pancake, Declaration of Love, Food for Thought, and ASBX Shorts. Stay tuned to hear about more projects written by the Soapbox Audio Collective Writers’ Group.

Audio Dramas

Jesus (1400 × 1400 px)-2

Jesus Pancake

Jesus Pancake is the newest scripted audio fiction series from Artist Soapbox. Nine episodes of zany dark comedy.


The New Colossus

The New Colossus Audio Drama is a totally unhinged dark comedy reboot of Anton Chekhov’s classic play, THE SEAGULL.


Master Builder

This audio drama was adapted from Tamara’s 2018 stage play produced by Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern and inspired by Henrick Ibsen’s classic, The Master Builder published in 1892.


Declaration of Love

Co-producers Aurelia Belfield and Tamara Kissane of Artist Soapbox commissioned eleven NC playwrights to craft short audio scenes based on the prompt “Declaration of Love.”


Food for Thought

Three pilot episodes of new scripted audio fiction series inspired by the prompt Food for Thought.


ASBX Shorts

ASBX Shorts are six short audio fiction pieces created and produced by North Carolina artists. Artist Soapbox Shorts were specifically contributed by the artists to aid in fundraising and to get everyone excited about Jesus Pancake, our new audio fiction series in development.

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