Nicole Disson


Citizen LA's Interview with Nicole about recent production: ALL TOGETHER NOW.

Disson's last project, 'All Together Now,' was a mixture of dance, live performance, photography, fine art, film and music. Not only was it a collab of mediums, it was a collab of women artists: Nicole who headed the pack as producer, Jacqueline Suskin, whose work inspired the event's birth, Shelby Duncan who portrayed the life force of women involved in the arts via her stunning portrait photographs and a slew of other artists: jenny o., Crystal Moselle, Aska Matsumiya, KT Comkowycz,
Ana Calderon and The Ladies Choir.

I stole the following from the show's program, I couldn't have said it better:

"All Together Now represents not only the strength of the women involved and of all the artists connected to them, but the idea that in order to successfully create and reach one another, a community must be apparent and accessible. The event is an affirmation that this community does indeed exist and thus, our artistic efforts are brought to life and shared."

We chatted about her last event recently and here is the outcome:

JB: Why was the concept of doing an all women's show important to you?

Nicole Disson: There are so many incredible artists living her in LA, men and women alike, who are creating new work everyday and I often find myself collaborating with many of my lady friends- especially since the conception of the Ladies Choir (which introduced me to a wide range of individuals who are multi talented and I was pretty blown away). Plus, I was in a place in my life where I needed to surround myself with good female friends and find the strength/support that we have to offer one another. I think it is important that women come together and celebrate the beauty, strength and power that we possess - both as individuals and collectively.

JB: How did this specific project come about?

ND: Jackie came to LA a year ago to perform 'The Balance of Old and New,' which KT shot on live camera and Shelby took a series of pictures immediately after. I was there as an audience member and when Jackie told me she was coming back to visit us in LA (nearly a year later) and screen what KT had edited together- she expressed wanting to make an evening out of it and place emphasis on bringing together a community.

Simultaneously, I had been wanting to produce a show featuring a variety of mixed-media and when I approached Jackie about it - she instantly thought YES! So I took the initial conception to screen her piece and opened the night up to other artists, themes, audiences, press, etc.. Around that same time, KT and I had been working on 'The Phoenix Project,' a series of vignettes featuring me and Jackie dancing and KT's amazing stop-motion technique-- which I had been wanting screen somewhere too. Later when I mentioned to Aska about what I was doing, she expressed interest in getting involved and we thought having the Ladies Choir perform would work well within the theme of the event. After which she asked if she could screen some solo projects that she had been working on with Crystal and I said, again, yes! From there it just continued to evolve.

As for Shelby Duncan's piece feautring nearly 50 women living in LA- she wanted to open her work up to other women than the featured seven which I thought was a great way to invite other talent/individuals to be more directly involved in the show. So Shelby and I hosted a Tea Party for our invited lady friends and asked that each women think of a message she would like to convey to the universe/the night/a moto or slogan that she lives by, etc and write it on either a prop that we provided or one that they crafted. All and all, the day turned into an event of its own- bleeding into two days and more women then either of us anticipated, all of whom had so much fun and were excited by the opportunity to meet other, new women, fordging their way as artists in the city of Los Angeles!

JB: Tell me more about the dance piece you choreographed and performed.

ND: Dancing is something I am very passionate about and have been doing a lot of in my professional career, especially over the past year. I thought choreographing a piece would provide me with a nice challenge while allowing me to communicate some personal struggles/thoughts/contemplations/STUFF that was pulling focus in my life at that specific time. In other words, I needed a creative outlet STAT.

I came upon Lhasa De Sela's music when I was acting in San Francisco and fell in love with it instantly. About a month or two before the show I was at home listening to 'The Living Road' album when the song 'Anywhere on This Road' came on and I connected to it deeply. I must have replayed the track at least 10 times and immediately started writing down ideas for a dance/performance piece.

When I mentioned my desire to perform an original dance piece at the show, Jackie took to it like crazy and wanted to do the same- so we began to create! We would meet downtown at KT's loft, where I would share my ideas and movement with her and then visa versa- just bouncing ideas off one another until the piece started to take shape. When choreographing, it was really helpful for us to identify what our intention was at any given point in the scene of the dance so not to just be moving arbitrarly through the space but to have a specific action to play. As soon as we specified who our characters were (in relation to one another) and what our objectives were throughout the piece (which were determined in part by the lyrics and in part by our own interpretation of the song), the movement just began to fall into place.

JB: What was your mission behind all of this?

ND: To draw attention to a community of artists, women, and individuals that exists here in LA. To showcase the work that the featured artists had been working on over the past year and more recently. To gather people for a night of sharing art and having fun! And for me personally, to challenge myself as a first time producer - something I had been wanting to do for some time - and create a space for me to share my work as a performer.

Check Nicole here and learn more about all her other projects. Congrats, Nicole on your recent casting in 'The Open Fist!'

Pick up a Citizen LA next month to read our full feature on Ms. Disson.

For complete interview visit Citizen LA's blog, Hawkeye.
Nicole DissonComment