Everyone who has danced with Annex over the past ten years has been instrumental in the company’s transition to a new city and sustaining Annex Dance Company as an integral member of Charleston’s arts community. During the month of May we will be featuring interviews with some of our past and present company members in honor of our Ten Years in Charleston!
In 2013, Maggie Bailey was invited to start working with the company as an apprentice and administrative intern. She became a company member and the company administrator after her graduation from the College of Charleston in 2014, and performed with Annex for another two seasons before pursuing a graduate degree in Film and Media Production. An exquisite mover and improviser, she challenged the company and Kristin’s creative process through movement initiation and, especially, getting in and out of the floor. Maggie’s interest and expertise in multi-media work led to a projection of Leslie Alexander’s artwork for Glimpses & Layers (2015) and the featured video for this blog that she and Tyler Rubin created as promotional material for The Path Taken in 2017. We asked Maggie to reflect on her time with Annex and share how her experiences led her to where she is today.
What was your favorite part of dancing and creating with Annex?
I loved dancing and performing with Annex because while I was an apprentice and company member we were such a close-knit group. I felt Kristin was always listening to our voices not only as dancers in the company but also as individual artists and collaborators.
What is an experience/memory with Annex that you feel has shaped you as an artist?
There are so many memories with Annex that have shaped me as an artist. I have one memory that is extremely vivid. I remember being in Pennsylvania with Heather and Kristin for an Annex residency at Camp Ballibay for the Fine and Performing Arts. This was Heather and I’s second summer attending with Kristin. During the camp, we would teach classes to students but Kristin would also set new work on us. It was a very intense process because we switched from teaching to rehearsing to choreographing pretty quickly throughout the day. One night Kristin asked Heather and me to improvise for some of the students with a set movement score. I remember we partnered for almost the entire improvisation. Heather and I had danced together for years so it could be easy for us to fall into patterns together but this felt so fresh, exciting, supported, and new. I look back on this memory and feel so enlivened by our performance together, which was six or seven years ago. To this day, Heather and I still talk about that improvisation. I feel so lucky to have been working in this environment that Kristin created that allowed for so much trust, creativity, and intimacy. As an artist, this memory reminds me of the importance of creating an artistic family that I admire, respect and trust. To actively surround myself with collaborators who make not only the work but also the process exciting.
Which piece do you find that you cherish and look back on often? And why?
The Path Taken is my favorite evening-length piece I’ve ever performed in. The gallery we performed in, City Gallery at Waterfront Park, is two stories with a breezeway on the second floor. Audience members were able to move around the space, go upstairs and watch from above, step closer to performance, move farther back, sit down, stand up, etc. Performing in this space brought a new awareness to my dancing. Not knowing how different audiences would adapt to the space and interact with us each night was thrilling. This piece felt edgy, creative, fresh, and deeply personal. Whether it be a duet, a moment of partnering or synchronous movement, I felt that The Path Taken gave me so many intimate moments with each company member. I often think about my duet with Cathy Cabaniss. I feel like for the majority of this piece Cathy and I held eye contact. If we weren’t looking at each other, we were sharing weight. So many of our partnering moments were embraces or fully supported lifts. The whole duet felt loving.
How do you feel Annex shaped your career?
Working with Kristin and Annex showed me the importance of intention. Looking at new choreography, movement, partnering and asking why does that happen? What motivates this action? I try to approach all my artistic work with that thought.
Where are you now?
Currently I am in Austin, TX pursuing my MFA in Film and Media Production from UT Austin. For the last two years, I have been making a documentary about the relationship between live musicians and dancers. I expect to finish my thesis at the end of 2020.