Our new Community Engagement Fellow: Alexandra Maricich
This story begins long ago in Seattle. Where I met my dear friend and collaborator at Cornish College of the Arts: Mariah Martens. We have confided, confronted, confirmed, collected, constructed, created, condensed, conversed every part ourselves to each other. In between graduating from Cornish and the explosive summer there after, we decided to apply to NextFest NW14 New West.
The seed of Ask Me About My Ass, came from an epic rollerblading extravaganza I was determined to execute during my stay in LA with my 1980 Silver olympian single ladies figure skater mother, Linda Fratianne. I decided I would start in Santa Monica and blade down to Redondo Beach. In total, 17 miles of beach with a hitch at the Marina Del Ray. What this sweet sexy adventure became was a performance.
I was riding the archetype of rollerblading babe. Wearing my high waisted white and blue bikini in 90’s rollerblades I have had since I was 8 years old, iPhone blasting Beyonce’s latest album, sun, breeze and long tangled hair, I started to embody a very certain character. Halfway through my journey, during the inevitable maneuver around the Marina, I found myself on the street. On a LA everyday street full of traffic and fancy cars, I started to feel uncomfortable and extremely exposed as a person and as a woman. Somehow I stayed with my determinate and commitment to make it to Redondo. Pushing fear away and questioning my sense of safety, I found myself, once again, blissfully alongside the salty ocean.
The other most important scene of this rollerblading performance art piece was a bike accident. Not just any bike accident but a situation my ass was blamed for. I was directly accused of causing a cyclist to crash off the path into the sand by his idiot of a friend because I was “Too Sexy” and should give him “A Kiss” to make it better. As my accuser was in full force describing my faults a family of bikers went by. They became my allies telling him to back off and huffing about how incredible it was that “A lady can’t go anywhere in her bath suit!” Shaking, empowered, confused, and proud I made it to Redono Beach with a plunge into the ocean.
Upon telling Mariah of my performance in LA and sending her my sexy beach babe pictures, she smiled with a smirk. The idea was born, “Let’s do a piece on rollerblades.”
“What Is The West?” Mariah and I processed this questions prompted by Next Fest North West 2014 through a poem which revealed the title for our piece Ask Me About My Ass. We slipped into the studio confident of our western heritage.
The immense juxtaposition of performing this piece in New York, in the East, was an experience in reconfirming our identities as West Coast Rollerblading Babes. This reconfirming feels similar to my relocating to the Bay Area. I feel as though I have to prove myself to myself. My notions of success and community become jeopardized in my anxiety to defend my identity as a dancer and performer. I distract myself with the wallows of change although I am learning in exceptional time and depth how to align my thought with my actions, my head with my heart. I am constantly discovering the ingredients of showing up, honesty and mass amounts of love. Another aspect of transition, what Mariah and I sought in the face of reclaiming our identities as dancers relocated on rollerblader, as sexual women, as artist from the West in the East, is support. We were lucky enough to find encouragement among our friends, co-artists, dancers, families, The CURRENT SESSIONS, and most importantly each other.
Mariah and I’s work is a process of skin, cloying mess and flirtation. What I find most magical about Mariah and I’s collaboration is the trust we invest in each other. Our practice is based in Solo Replay, as was our class for the CURRENT SESSIONS, but this practice exceeds the studio. I find my relationship with Mariah to be a display of honest feedback whether it be verbal, physical, or across the country via electonics and social media. Many people who saw Ask Me About My Ass questioned if Mariah and I were romantically involved. Perhaps it is our deep love for each other, our fierce understanding of each other’s behavior, or the unconditional way in which we hold space for each other, but, regardless, this projecting of gender and sexual identity, for me, is a key part of our work. And our construct as humans.
Ask Me About My Ass displays our sexuality as women, as movers. Rollerblades become an awkward, hot, powerful medium mimicking many aspects of the lady body. We inhabit a terrible enjoyable playful devilish joke because sexuality is fluid. I don’t believe any one aspect of my sexuality to be concrete or simply a performance. My work is about questioning obsession with the Absolute. What is Honesty? What is Truth? How can I and communities learn about change with care and love through dance? Through art? How can we relearn, replay, redo and expose our desires?
Alexandra Maricich is our new Community Engagement Fellow. She recently moved from Seattle, WA where she attended Cornish College of the Arts. Maricich was also heavily involved in the Seattle arts community as a performer, choreographer and community arts facilitator. She now lives in Oakland with her lover. Since moving to The Bay Area Alexandra has continued to curate and dance, exploring public art, arts administration and social choreography. Before completely landing into The Bay’s lush art’s community Alexandra had the opportunity to show work as a part of the CURRENT SESSIONS at the Wild Project in New York City. Ask Me About My Ask, choreographed in collaboration with Mariah Martens, first premiered in Seattle at Velocity Dance Center as a part of Next Fest North West 2014, commissioned as response to what it means to be a West Coast artist
http://velocitydancecenter.org/ (Velocity Dance Center. Seattle, WA)
http://velocitydancecenter.org/stance/alexandra-maricichmariah-martens/ (What is the New West?)
https://vimeo.com/118193763 (Ask Me About My Ass performed at Velocty. Seattle, WA)
http://www.thecurrentsessions.com/ (The Current Sessions. Manhattan, NY)
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/lab-4-solo-shakedown-fever-with-alexandra-maricich-mariah-martens-tickets-17913950107 (The Current Sessions Lab/Class with Alexandra Maricich + Mariah Martens)
http://gagapeople.com/english/ (Dance intensive Maricich attended while in NYC)
http://danceforparkinsons.org/ (Training Maricich received in NYC at the Mark Morris Dance Center with David Leventhal)
*The CURRENT SESSIONS, as a performing arts platform, as curators, as people, was more than a pleasure to work with. Please check them out!