Alyssa Noble and Allie Pfeffer, the co-founders and co-directors of A+A Dance Company, make art that is inclusive, financially accessible, and socially responsible. They prioritize working with marginalized groups, specifically as it pertains to gender identity and sexuality. In their upcoming evening-length work titled “Don’t Get Any Ideas, Little Lady,” A+A Dance Company “throws salt in the wounds of male fragility.” “Don’t Get Any Ideas, Little Lady, ” explores themes around femininity and specifically around misogyny & femme-phobia. This work illustrates and questions the way folks who experience gender discrimination experience the world. Performers explore objectification, societal lifestyle pressures, Western standards of beauty, empowerment and the current political climate, in addition to other themes. [**See the note below from Alyssa about the way the piece has changed since we recorded.**]
Don’t Get Any Ideas, Little Lady is being presented as part of the Durham Independent Dance Artists – Spring 2019 Season, and it is sponsored by Base Pilates & Movement. It is made possible in part by a project grant from Durham 150 and a facilities grant from the Durham Arts Council. Performances will take place June 28-30 2019 at the Durham Fruit and Produce Company. BUY TICKETS HERE.
A Note from Alyssa Noble:
“A couple of notes on the things we discuss –
We recorded this interview a few months ago, so there are a few structural things we discuss that have changed a lot over time (because ART!) and will look different in the actual show.
ALSO and more importantly, we use the term non-men in the interview, and since recording we have been made aware that that term is, in itself, exclusive because it suggests that trans men, for example, are not real men. One of the most challenging and also most beautiful things about this process has been the ongoing revision and exploration of the language we are using around it. So much of the language that currently exists around gender still relies on a binary for context, and that sucks. So I just want to send extra love to all of the beautiful genderqueer and gender non-conforming and trans folx who are acutely aware of the lack of space created by these traditional modalities of thought and say thank you for all of the work you do to help people like me expand our thinking and our language and (hopefully) change our practices as a result. Y’all deserve way more credit than I can give you. <3″
Prior to joining forces as A+A, Alyssa Noble earned her BFA in Dance and her MS in News-Editorial Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has worked as a dance critic and dance writer, in addition to her current work as a community organizer with Durham Independent Dance Artists (DIDA). Allie Pfeffer obtained her BFA with honors in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In New York, her work was presented at Gibney, and as part of the LaMaMa Moves Festival. She also worked as the Center Programs Director and Associate Center Director at Gibney before moving to North Carolina.
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QUESTIONS FOR ALYSSA + ALLIE
There are many components of this production that I’d like to cover during our conversation, but let’s start with the subject matter. You’ve written that ““Don’t Get Any Ideas, Little Lady, ” explores themes around femininity and specifically around misogyny & femme-phobia. This work illustrates and questions the way folks who experience gender discrimination experience the world.” More specifically, what are these themes and ways of experiencing the world that you aim to shine a light on?
Why focus on this content? Why use dance as a means to explore it?
You have been collaborating together since 2016. This is the first production with a cast larger than just the two of you. I know that you are passionate about collaborative dance-making and that your approach to creating Don’t Get Any Ideas was intentionally non-traditional. First, would you tell us the ‘traditional way’ that dance pieces are choreographed and developed? Secondly, how has collaboration worked for this piece? How are you reimagining power hierarchies? How are you ‘modeling the change you want to see’? How are you thinking about the ‘moments that are for the audience’ and the ‘moments that are for the performers’? Where there challenges that came up with taking this approach? What surprised you? What’s delighted you?
What do you hope the audience will take away from this experience? What are the concepts that you hope to reframe and reclaim? What are you hoping to achieve with this piece? How do you want to feel on the other side of it?
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