This week begins a new tradition – “Artist Pick of the Week” and I’m absolutely stoked about it!
“Artist Pick of the Week” will include an interview between myself and another artist that stands at a similar position to myself – right on the cusp of transitioning from “Art Student” to “Professional Artist.” With each of these interviews, I will also include an interview involving artists that stand in a different position – artists who have already made this transition and can call themselves “Professional” – someone who lives on their own and is able to sustain their artistic lifestyle, in a major city, without feeling like they’re about to totally sink under that fine-line of poverty. Yikes!
I anticipate this weekly post not only to assist in answering some of OUR questions, but to also assist in bringing us together on the whole next level! I believe that the only way to make this blog worth something for ANY OF US is to provide information AND to reach out in attempt to create as many tentacles as possible – aka: SPREAD THE WORD!
So let’s get to the good stuff –
MATTIE LOVE @mattildaalove
Originally from Utah but currently residing on the UES of Manhattan. She started dancing at the age of 3 recreationally following in her 2 older sisters footsteps, however she knew at age 10 that it was what she wanted to do for forever. She trained at Dance Impressions in Bountiful and was concurrently enrolled in the ballet program at the University of Utah. Growing up she had the opportunity to work with choreographers like Jason Parsons, Travis Wall, Andy Pellick, Joey Dowling and many others. In her career at Marymount Manhattan she has had the privilege of working with Aszure Barton, Norbert de la Cruz, Adam Baruch, Emery Lecrone, Twyla Tharp, Lar Lubovitch and many others. She knew at age 10 that she wanted to live in NYC but never imagined she’d be where she is today. She has always been different. When she was younger she was the tallest most developed out of all of her friends, she wasn’t flexible, and wasn’t naturally gifted aesthetically, but she had a heart and drive that others didn’t possess. It wasn’t until she started working with Jason Parsons that she knew there was a place for her in the dance world, and that she didn’t have to be anything other than herself to exist on stage – THIS is why she continued to dance and still continues to dance. It is the one place where she feels the most Mattie.
The following include her beautifully raw and honest ideas on life, art and thriving in New York City as a young, talented and sassy young woman! GO MATTIE! —
MM- Where/when you’re graduating from?
ML- Graduating in May from Marymount Manhattan with a bfa in Dance with a concentration in ballet
How was your transition from home to New York City?
My transition from a small farm in Utah to the city of pretty was no joke. It was hard. At first I felt liberated, free, and wild but then I felt alone, small, and scared. No one can prepare you for what the city makes-breaks-or takes from you and I wasn’t ready to look at myself in the mirror and tackle on adulthood. I didn’t want to return back to Marymount after freshman year. I was dealing with a negative body image binge eating and not knowing who or what I wanted myself to be. It wasn’t until spring semester of sophomore year that I felt like I was really in the right space physically and mentally. I was so concerned with the product and forgot entirely to enjoy my process in growing and in life. I was so type A- so far from who I really am but I got so stuck in being everything i thought I was supposed to be that I pushed everything that made me-me so far away I couldn’t even pin point who or what I was. I am so grateful for this year- it is the reason why I am who I am today.
Do you think that moving to NYC as a college-freshmen will make it easier or harder to live in NYC as a college graduate?
Moving to NYC as a college freshman may or may not make it easier to live in NYC as a college graduate. I have made great connections in the last 4 years which could possibly help me but I think that I have also been in the bubble of Marymount Manhattan. It can be easy to get caught up in the community you live in and forget that there is a whole world out there waiting for you.
What are your plans after graduation, if any have even been solidified?
The only plans after graduation that I have so far are to attend spring board in June and a couple choreographic endeavors at some studios around the United States. People don’t lie when they say auditions are hard. It’s been a beautiful audition season filled with some inspiring next times and no’s. For me and a profession job It’s not a matter of if… It’s a matter of when. I know I’m a dancer and going to fulfill my own dance career somewhere someplace and somehow I just have to be patient and keep showing up.
How did you come about those plans? What were the steps you took that consciously or coincidentally lead you to this next step/chapter?
I guess these are my only options for right now! Nothing else has lined up so I’m taking what I have and I’m going to make the best of it. I’m a firm believer that God has a plan for me and I trust that through hard work and perseverance the next chapter will be exactly what it’s supposed to be and its most likely not going to be what I expect. I have learned through my 4 years in the city and in college that having expectations is much harder than having an open and willing heart and mind to embrace whatever comes my way.
Who assisted in your decision to take that next step?
Myself. However my family and friends have always been my biggest support system.
What are the steps you plan on taking AFTER graduation in efforts to achieve a specific goal in the near future?
I don’t have any “goals” of getting a set job or being in this show or that show. I know I’m going to work-when and where are still up in the air (rhyme unintended lol) my goal is to never give up. To wake up- continue to train- take care of my body- share my love for life and dance- and make myself feel uncomfortable and out of my box. I feel the most me when I push myself to go to a show alone or speak at open mic night or put on my pointe shoes in the hardest NYC ballet class. Those are tiny goals that will eventually lead me to my dream of being the dancer I want to be.
If you have a “dream job,” expand on that. Why is it your dream-job, and what steps do you plan on taking in efforts to reach that dream-job.
My dream job would be something that keeps me performing always. Something that pushes my artistry and physicality. I love ballet preljacaj- they give me life I love everything about Marie Chouinard there are so many amazing companies that I would love to be a part of but I can also see myself on Broadway and in a music video or on tour with a pop star. My goal is to stay as healthy and happy for as long as possible because in order to dance and perform my body must be willing and able. Especially for someone like me who has dealt with an eating disorder my body must first be in a great place mentally and physically or else it will consume me and I no longer am the Mattie that I love.
How do you budget your time and money in such an expensive and distracting city?
I budget my time and money pretty well according to the book of Mattie. I love eating out and I love shopping however I am low maintenance in the grand scheme of things-as long as I can afford my chai and coffee each day then to me I am on a good track. It’s easy to find affordable activities in the city and I can always count on my friends to split an appetizer and meal when we go out There are many ways to affordably enjoy all that the city has to offer. Money shouldn’t and doesn’t need to be a reason to stop you from living a fabulous life in New York City.
How do you plan on making money after graduation? (Both artistically and non-artistically, if any.)
I love teaching and often teach workshops as well as do choreography for studios around the country. To me this is my favorite and most rewarding way of making money because i get to challenge myself artistically, I get to have a voice of my own, and I get to influence the younger generation. I’ve always pushed myself to be an example to young dancers and I’ve always wanted to live up to being the best idol I can be. I want to be an example of what it means to be “different” in the dance world. And how owning self and loving self can lead dancers to an entire different place than they ever imagined. I assume ill continue to tour with dance alliance which is both amazing and fun – I get to travel and make connections for teaching and dance with my best friends.
What do you value in life?
My days are filled with happiness that overall bring love into my life. No pun intended but love is what makes my world go around. Not romantic love (although not opposed lol) love from my family and friends, love from the sky, the wind, art. I find joy all over and the city is one of the best friends to me because it provides all of these. I value time with my family because at one point in my life i pushed them away rather than letting them support me in my endeavors. My days aren’t the same if I don’t have a chai in the morning, my hand on the barre, or I miss happy hour with friends. I used to be so concerned with being perfect and achieving the best dancing body and ability that I feared LIVING. I wasn’t social I didn’t go out i sat and worried that I wasn’t doing enough. Once I realized that LIVING actually helped me dance better and made me happier and I watched myself bloom no longer worrying about what I ate or didn’t eat if I should stretch longer. I value being human. I used to think I was just a dancer and I missed out on a lot of great opportunities to be with amazing people or be in amazing places because I didn’t want it to affect the way I danced the next day. I now teach that we must first value being the human Mattie (self) before we value the dancer Mattie. With out one I am not the other. I love food. I love sex. I love going out. The night scene to me is so fun- yes moderation I’m not promoting doing drugs and getting shit wasted every day but a little party never killed nobody. Myself right now in this minute is content with taking a ballet class, having a chai, hanging out with friends, going to the gym, then going out whether it be to a tapas place downtown or the movies at Lincoln theatre, or to marquee. I love taking in all that the city has to offer because I’m realizing I won’t have this life for forever. By focusing on the human Mattie my dancing has never felt better and I no longer seek approval from mentors I seek approval from myself and I love who I am becoming in this life. I also love expressing myself through my clothing. I think what you wear on your body is just as important as what you wear from ear to ear.
Give a piece of advice to any aspiring artist/dancer.
Let the shit go. Once you let insecurities, expectations of self and others go you’ll fly. Always say yes and trust in the process. Love and embrace that you’re the only person who dances like you. Without your insecurities strengths body life you would not be the dancer that everybody loves – vise versa. I’d also say be KIND TO EVERYONE!! Lift your peers/friends/foes up let their success be your success. Their success does not take away from yours! I wish there were kinder people in the dance world.
Well HOT DAMN! There she is WORLD! Take her in, embrace her words and understand (yet again) that we are ALL in the same boat, persevering our ways through this crazy, tough, emotional career choice TOGETHER! I know I’m not the only one who read this and found goosebumps all over my arms and legs.