(Photo by Devlin Shand)
As we gear up for our performances this weekend, I am able to reflect on how amazing the JuMP Program truly is. Having participated as a dancer for the first two seasons, and as both dancer and co-choreographer in the third, I feel I can now speak to how important JuMP is for our Bay Area dance community. There are a surprising amount of opportunities in the region for new choreographers to create and present work at a low cost with minimal production. As a choreographer begins to build his/her portfolio of work and hone their artistic voice, the desire to show work on a larger scale, with professional dancers and collaborators, a budget for costumes, lighting design, theater rental, advertisement, etc., is absolutely necessary and can be so overwhelming. JuMP bridges this gap by helping an emerging artist build their voice, experience, and audience in San Francisco.
As a dancer, I have loved the challenge of each new choreographer’s process, art making skills, interests, and guidance. It feels like such a unique opportunity to have danced with a close group of collaborators for the last 4 years. This program allows us (the dancers) an opportunity to broaden our own practice and performance abilities with each new incoming JuMP artist. Due to the nature of JuMP’s changing choreographer each year, my colleagues and I show up to rehearsal each day physically ready to work and, most importantly, with an open mind and willingness to collaborate. As a result, we work together to make their artistic vision come to life.
This season’s JuMP choreographer, Katerina Wong, has her own specific process of creating and building work. In a round table discussion after a work-in-progress showing last month, JuMP mentor Erin Mei-Ling Stuart asked Katie what inspired her to make this most recent work with FACT/SF? Katie’s response took her way back to why she started dancing, who she dances with in San Francisco, how and why her interests in seeing and making work have changed over the years and, finally, what about the world today she finds most interesting and inspiring. Like every choreographer, Katie is guided by her own particular dance and art-making history. She comes into the studio each day to share that with us, allowing space for our own artistry to be expressed as well.
I am always floored by the support of the FACT/SF community each JuMP season. The collaborators’ willingness to not only go along for the ride, but to make the work stunning. As Artistic Director of FACT/SF, Charlie provides not only the financial support for the program, but also the team of dancers, lighting designer, theater space and crew, mentors, and much more. Each collaborator plays an important role in the JuMP program and the success of each performance. The FACT/SF audience participates in work-in-progress showings, providing valuable feedback during the creative process, and attends the performances with an excitement to see what the company has cooked up this time.