1. Describe who you are, what do you, and what you hope to be doing more of
I am a 22-year-old choreographer, actress and performer, born and raised in Johannesburg. I am in the last few weeks of my 4th (honours) year of a BA Performing and Visual Arts degree at Wits, with my research in Dance Theatre, Choreography and Composition and my major in Performance Studies. I have always had an enormous interest in, and passion for, dance. I began dancing at the age of four, training in ballet and contemporary, competing locally and internationally. I hope to continue working and studying in both performance and choreography, for stage and screen in both disciplines.
2. What was your relationship with Shortstraw before this?
My relationship with Shortsraw began with this collaboration. It was an incredible opportunity that I am so grateful for. I hope we can work together in the future, as I believe that with this collaboration, we created something unique and beautiful.
3. What was your process and inspiration in making what you did?
Choreographing this music video was an immensely rewarding and enjoyable experience. I was given the brief of choreographing a solo, to be performed separately by two dancers, Megan Gottscho and Andrea van der Kuil, to the song Keep It In The Family. They were to dance in tutus and ballet shoes. Here I was met with a juxtaposition of ballet and a style of music not typically paired with it. This peculiar pairing resulted in choreography that hoped to be interesting, weird and beautiful all at once. In past works I have contrasted balletic movements with non-balletic ones, so I incorporated that aspect of my choreographic style here – primarily influenced by William Forsythe. We played with the ‘perfect ballerina’ image – using it, deconstructing it and sexualising it. This also allowed for a sense of playfulness throughout the process. Although the song is of a more emotional and personal tone, we wanted to maintain an aspect of the fun, playful energy Shortsraw’s music (and this song) has.
The choreographic process was effortlessly collaborative, much like this entire music video. I have had the pleasure of working with Andrea and Megan before, and this reunion definitely benefited the final product. Andrea, Megan and myself worked together to craft the dance. We decided which kinds of movements we wanted at which moments in the song, choreographed these moments and then spent time refining them. We incorporated fabric in the movement and behind it, which highlighted the movements and added to the artistry of the final product. The pairing of my many years of training in ballet with two dancers with training and talent in other, very different styles, allowed for the use and breakdown of ‘the ballerina’ to come organically during the collaborative choreographic process.
4. what are the best places on the internet we can list to show off your work?
You can visit my Tumblr blog: meaganconnolly.tumblr.com and my instagram, @meaganconnolly.