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.

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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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