Kymmi Kellems is fairly new to the San Diego dance community, having moved here from
Oregon just last summer. She’s got big plans for her Young Choreographers Showcase and Prize work,
What motivated you to apply for Young Choreographers this year?
Actually, there were several motivating factors in my applying for Young Choreographers this year, although I’d say each one of those reasons was derived from a common goal which is to become more involved as a choreographer here in the San Diego dance community. I just moved into the area this past summer and chose to relocate to San Diego specifically because I was intrigued with the dance community here. I came with hopes to explore and become more involved in this community. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed the different things I have been involved in, including the San Diego Trolley Dances, as well as several performances with The PGK Dance Project TOO Company. While I have been very excited about the dance performance opportunities thus far, I somehow have felt like a big part of me was missing. It’s almost as if I left an important part of me behind; that unique part of me that tapped into my creative side. Before moving to San Diego I spent a lot of time in creation and exploration through my own choreography and it was during those times when I felt most alive. I’ve really been missing that feeling. I saw Young Choreographers as a wonderful opportunity for me to be inspired again, get those creative juices flowing and begin developing choreography in this area. So, I’m very grateful and honored to have been selected as one of the eleven choreographers to participate in the showcase this year!
Tell us a little bit about the piece you are creating for the showcase.
For the showcase, I am creating a piece titled “Drive.” The process for this piece began well before the initial development of the choreography itself. I first was inspired by a specific project that artist Krag Kellems (who is also my brother) was in the middle of working on, called the 100-word picture project. Given a list of 100 words, he was to draw his own artistic interpretation of each word. I was intrigued by his unique visual interpretations of these words. Not only did I appreciate the artwork, I was also artistically inspired and moved. I found myself exploring ideas on how I could take what he had created on paper and rework it into a dance. I wanted to expand off of these images and collaborate artistically through the medium of dance to see what might result in this process. The Young Choreographers Showcase was the perfect opportunity to begin this choreographic exploration. It was difficult choosing which picture to use, as multiple drawings stood out and spoke to me artistically, yet there was something so powerful about his image interpretation for the word “Drive” that I knew it was the one. So, while the given word “Drive” was a strong basis for my choreographic vision, the actual process was immensely expanded by my reactions, emotions, explorations and interpretations from the picture itself. I began to explore different ways to integrate the images and story that I saw within the art piece, crafting my choreography and dancers to expressively demonstrate this visual art now through performance art.
The first thing I see when looking at the picture is a person being held back and weighed down with chains… but then has a drive so strong that they are able to break free. This scenario plays out in many different ways in life, whether it’s big life-changing decisions or smaller daily actions. As people, we are constantly dealing with this pull where something feels like it’s holding you back, but then there’s that goal that’s so powerful it drives you forward. But then, once you break free, you have that moment of weightlessness… So, in order to create this sense of pull I wanted to use three dancers: one as a representation of the being itself, another as the restraining factor, and the third as the driving force. It has been an amazing experience working with these dancers around this concept. I am so grateful for the passion and talent they bring to the piece and am excited to share the result of this process with you all!
Share a special tidbit about yourself.
A silly fact about me is that I am new to chocolate… Ever since I can remember I didn’t like chocolate. Actually, “didn’t like” is an understatement. I hated chocolate to the point that I’d tell people I was allergic to it! In college my roommates would have to warn me when they were going to make brownies or chocolate cake so I could leave the apartment because I despised the smell. Just about a year ago I started craving chocolate and it was a very weird feeling for me. So I tried it and for the first time in history, I didn’t spit it out and even kind of liked it. Now I would go as far as saying that I love it and if you offer me a chocolate peanut butter cup, I will gladly eat it right up!