"I make work to know myself, & to know others. I am interested in the human body as a social entity that changes in drastic & minute ways in order to inhabit shared & intimate spaces. I believe deeply in community & am fascinated by context. I endeavor to understand how we transition within our physical selves: how one body can be student, child, customer, lover, in charge, powerless, stranger. The caregiver-body, the body that demands, the mixed body, the dancer body. I am drawn to laughter. I am compelled by absurdity, caricature, & shame. I make dances which ask how, from our multiple selves, we construct shared ideas of home, work, play, place, & belonging."
LSDC: How have the social shifts of 2020 impacted your life as an artist?
MH: The extent feels immeasurable! As an artist I am extremely reliant on feeling the presence of a community around me: moving together with others in class or rehearsal, socializing, chatting, seeing others’ work, going out and being inside of other people’s worlds. It’s been hard to shift over to other versions of what community can look like. At the same time, the pandemic has proven to me how much I need to dance and create in order to survive, and how much I’m willing to push to make those things priorities in my life.
LSDC: How has the broad emergence of this digital realm influenced your creativity/artistic work?
MH: I’ve been pretty resistant to creating work in a digital or virtual way for most of the pandemic, but there have been times where I’ve dabbled. I have watched a decent number of online performances, and for a while over the summer I was creating some short dance films in my place of work. My collaborator Julia Bryck and I did a livestream. It’s been hard though—I hate the idea of forcing myself into a format that doesn’t feel authentic to me.
LSDC: How have you maintained balance and regularity in this time? What does your daily/artistic regimen look like?
MH: Class, class, class…class forever. Taking dance classes regularly (mostly at my favorite studio of all time, Urban Movement Arts!) has been the key to my sanity during the pandemic. I have found that even if I don’t take class everyday, finding some time to move mindfully daily has a huge impact on my wellbeing. I go on walks or bike rides. I improvise at the Whole Shebang. I make sure to go outside everyday, even if it’s freezing.
I’ve also gotten back into taiko drumming, which was something I did for a few years when I was a kid. It’s been wonderful to work on something that is physical but separate from dancing. The pandemic has taught me that newness and novelty actually play a very important role in how I create balance in my life.
LSDC: Have you produced any new work, live or digital?
MH: Somehow, yes! A few of those short films I made over the summer were featured in Vox Populi’s Minute Fest online showcases, which was exciting. I was thinking a lot about young children and their understanding of the pandemic and anti-racist movements that were happening at the time. I’m still working on a solo for my friend Julia Bryck, as part of the Get What You Need residency. We streamed our early explorations as part of Lino Kino’s Automat ‘Public Access’ channel, and are really hoping to create some kind of safe outdoor performance in the future. We’re exploring shame, the issue of white feminism, among other things.
LSDC: How would you describe yourself as an artist, and/or your work, as we step into the year of 2021?
MH: I am a community member first and an artist second; dance and dance-making are sources of connection and forms of survival. I am deep in the daily practice of not-knowing.
MADDIE in Motion
Maddie improvising outdoors