Young Chroeographer’s Prize Interview: Erica Buechner

It’s that time of the year again!  Our Young Choreographer’s Prize finalists are working hard to create their original pieces for the March 25th production in and out of our studio.  We wanted to once again allow our audiences to get to know each one of the dance-makers before the performance to give you all some insight on who these fabulous young artists are!  Just like last year, we will be asking our audience to vote for their favorite piece after the show- so hopefully some background on the artists will make your choice a little bit easier.  Here is what our first participant, Erica Buechner, has to say about her life as a dancer/choreographer, and her piece in the show!


Tell us a little bit about your history in Dance.

A native San Diegan, I began training with Jean Isaacs and Faith Jensen-Ismay every summer in my hometown of Ramona starting when I was 12 years old.  I was instantly “hooked” on modern dance and have been doing it ever since.  I went to Palomar College where I trained further with Jensen-Ismay and began dancing for her company, Mojalet Dance Collective.  I received my AA in Dance from Palomar and then transferred to San Diego State University where I received my BFA in Dance and was awarded Outstanding Graduate of the Year.  I danced for Mojalet from 1999-2010, performing internationally, working with several choreographers and even having the opportunity to present my own work.  I have also worked with Eveoke Dance Theatre, The PGK Project, Patricia Sandback and Dancers, Malashock Dance, The Joe Alter Dance Group, Opus Mixtus Post Jazz and performed in many Jean Isaacs’ Trolley Dances.  In 2011, I formed my own company, Sound Dance Company and co-produced the youTurn Contemporary Arts Exhibition with Maria Juan and fellow contestant Anne Gehman.  Also in 2011, I was awarded Alumni to Watch from the San Diego State University School of Music and Dance.  All of these recent achievements, including getting into this event, are gratefully received as I wish to continue building on the momentum of my hard work and dedication to dance in San Diego.

In 100 words or less, why do you believe your work should win this competition? 

I don’t know that it should.  There are many talented choreographers in this competition that I respect and each is capable of creating the “winning” piece.  Instead of focusing on winning, I am going to push myself to work at the edge of what I know but stay true to my voice.  I will tell you what I will do with the money if I win though.  I am currently laying down the groundwork to bring my work to New York and I would use this money to pay for the flights for the dancers to get there.

What are the themes involved in your piece?  Is this a new exploration for you? 

I am working with the idea of time and how we perceive time in different situations.  After our first few rehearsals, the idea came up of how one might spend their time if they thought the world was going to end.  This has been a current thought in many people’s minds with recent (false) predictions and the ominous 2012-year.  Though this sounds like a heavy subject, I hope to do what I always do with life situations and find the humor in it.  I have never worked with this theme in particular and I am going to attack it like I always do, with the open-mindedness that the theme might shift and that is okay.

What do you want your audience to know coming into the performance? 

I can’t think of anything that they need to know ahead of time; instead, I would hope that they leave realizing that dance is alive and thriving in the San Diego community and the best way to keep it that way is to support it.

Thanks Erica!  We are very excited to see your piece!

That’s all from us today- expect a lot more throughout all of February and March leading up to the competition, and make sure to get your tickets to support your favorite Choreographer today! 


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