MAKING ART WORK: No. 22, Choreographer & Dancer Rebecca Aneloski

December 03 2019
Photo | Matt Peterson Photography Photo | Matt Peterson Photography

MAKING ART WORK is a series that taps into the knowledge and experience of seasoned creatives from our community and beyond for the benefit of our students. 

Rebecca Aneloski
 is a performing artist and freelance choreographer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Originally from Colorado, Aneloski earned her BFA in Ballet from Friends University and her MFA from the School of Dance at the University of Utah. In her dance project, And Artists, focuses on collaborative choreographic process with SLC dance artists. Recently, Aneloski was awarded New Century Dance Project's Professional and Emerging Choreographer award and she was selected as a commissioned choreographer for Repertory Dance Theatre. She will premiere her new work for the company early in 2020. And Artists will also premiere their newest work in February at Ultraviolet Studios. Aneloski currently performs in SONDERimmersive's "Thank You Theobromine." 

What are you working on currently? 

I’m currently creating movement with And Artists, a Salt Lake City-based dance project that I began last year. I began this project so there could be more opportunities for myself and a few friends. I wanted space to keep dancing, creating and a name that included all of us who contributed to the work. There are so many talented dance artists that live in SLC, and And Artists became my way of continuing the practice of creating dances and researching with dancers in the area. 

In February, we are creating an intimate gathering of 30 people at Ultraviolet Studios alongside Mella, a company in SLC that will be bringing small tastes of food and wine to this evening.  Secondly, I’m working for SONDERimmersive as a collaborative choreographer, writer, and artist. The work, “Thank you Theobromine”, is created by Graham Brown and Rick Curtiss. The show is in collaboration with Salt Lake’s The Chocolate Conspiracy, founded by chocolate maker AJ Wentworth. It’s been a good push for me to experience a different way to bring a story to an audience. Stepping into a creative process that melds physical movement and theater has been all the things from vulnerable, humbling and empowering.  I’m new to the immersive experience and I’m discovering that with each day in process with the show and cast, my understanding and comfort level is expanded.  

Are there particular themes that have been guiding/appearing in your recent choreography?  

For this specific work coming up in February, I’ve been fascinated by the simplicity and the statement this type of stripped-down movement can create. This is the very opposite of my normal questions while making dances. I typically enjoy pushing difficulty, complexity, and speed in my works so to slow down and create more time and space for the simple while making it, hopefully, interesting and impactful to watch, will be my goal.

How do you stay inspired? RA Erica2Photo: Erica MacLean

For me, it’s not about staying inspired but committing to the project and seeing it through till the end. I hope inspiration stays with me after I begin but most times it comes and goes, and that’s okay. For the sake of the question, I’ll say that staying inspired best happens by having enough mental and physical space to maintain creativity, and a sense of play, a willingness to explore movement. I read a lot of books that have nothing to do with dance and try to disconnect from what dance artists are doing and saying in the field. This was not the case while I was in grad school at the U but for now this has helped me to hear my own ideas clearer.

I spend a lot of time in silence, cultivating time unconnected from screens. I’ve started this practice because I found I was too influenced by social media, youtube clips, and comparison. This seemed the best solution for now. Taking walks when I can and allowing time to be around others in my community that is in transition and live in transition often brings ideas that inspire themes in my work. Also, I find it crucial to be in conversation with other artists from different mediums. This has been a huge encouragement and motivation in transforming how I think of movement and also how to create dances. 

Well then, it seems I did have a lot to say.  

Unexpected challenges of your profession? 

It’s not unexpected, but continuing to be a choreographer building work outside of the facilities and extra perks provided by a company or university has been a massive struggle and complication. If you don’t teach or have prior connections to a studio owner space can be a ridiculous price per hour. Finding the funds when you are starting out has been an issue.  Figuring out how to value the dancers I work with And Artists,  finding space, while producing a show, well let’s just say that many unexpected challenges arise while trying to juggle it all while building these opportunities for oneself. Every time I begin a new process I wonder why I began in the first place. There is too much chaos but it’s something I begin to organize and sort out. Overall however I would say that staying honest through all of this is the most difficult challenge.

Do you have any rituals/routines/practices that are essential to your success?  

No. Each process is new to me. Every time I begin with a new method.  

What do you wish dancers were talking more about?  

There is too much talk in my opinion. We need more listening and understanding in this art form and as people.  

Follow Rebecca Aneloski's work at @and_artists on instagram and via her website.