The dynamic Khamla Somphanh has quite a presence in the San Diego dance community as a fabulous teacher and compelling choreographer and we can’t wait to see what she comes up with for her first site-specific work!
Khamla began dancing at a local studio taking gymnastics, jazz, tap and ballet. She was introduced to theory and techniques of dance in high school at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC. She continued her studies at The University of the Arts, then off to New York City. Her career has lead her to perform with such companies as ODC/San Francisco Dance Company, Wylliams/Henry Danse Ensemble, Na-Ni Chen Dance Company, Rod Rodgers Dance Company, East/West Repertory Ensemble, New World Dance Company, Seraphim Repertory Company and Soundance Dance Company as well as on Broadway in “The King and I”, choreographed by Lar Lubovitch. She has shifted her energy into teaching and choreographing and is currently on staff at Malashock Dance, Academy of Performing Arts, Visionary Dance Theatre and Carlsbad Performing Arts. She has presented work for the Young Choreographers Showcase and Prize, 2013 Fringe Festival, Hot Guys Dancing and choreographed for PGK Project and Visionary Dance Theatre.
What excites you as a choreographer about working on Trolley Dances?
This will be my first site-specific work. I enjoy taking on challenges that are different from what I know. I find that is how one grows as an artist and all around as a person.
What is exciting about site-specific choreography to you?
The added architectural element and environment is a layer to the choreography. I enjoy when they meld in a way where one doesn’t compete with the other, but enhances.
The appeal of my site had to do with the reversal of perspective. I found it interesting to have the audience flipped – The schools tiered seating area is where the dancers will be performing and the audience on the flat open play ground area.
What is challenging about this work? For you? For the dancers?
My site is located outside and on tiers. So for one, it’s hot!! Secondly, I cannot really prepare material for the dancers prior to being at the site. We tried one studio rehearsal before our site rehearsal and had to change and shift most everything.
I am exploring the idea of viewing those viewing others.
What would you like audiences to know about your piece coming into Trolley Dances?
I’d like the audience to come out and enjoy, experience and be open to the visual and emotional art of dance.
Where do you find your inspiration for new work?
Inspiration often finds me. I rarely have to seek out ideas for new work. I try to stay open and present with each day, which allows me to arrive at ideas that inspire new work.
What is your favorite part of the choreographic process?
I enjoy seeing how choreography unfolds. Creating a dance has so many moving parts; choreographic intent, state of mind, dancers, sound, chemistry of bodies and venue. The outcome is always uncertain. When you go into it with trust in yourself and your crew, the anticipation of the final work is invigorating and exciting.
Thank you for sharing Khamla!
Don’t forget to purchase your tickets to Trolley Dances 2013 ahead of time!