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Artist ID: 2530

You have to feel it to believe it. That phrase has been stuck in my mind for months*, and it’s at the forefront of my thoughts as I try to put my interests and practice as a dance maker and performer into words. I crave feeling. I want to feel. In life, yes! as I watch my kids, practice yoga, or drive through New Orleans. In performance, that desire is directed and anticipating. As audience, I want to laugh at someone’s cleverness. I want the poignancy of this thing alongside that thing to make me cry. I want to feel a connection with a performer by looking in their eyes or witnessing the vulnerability, strength, struggle and flesh of the body. Even in the most abstract moments, I notice my longing for witnessing theirs.
I lean into transformation, and although I know it’s no small ask, I want to be changed by what I witness or how I participate. How is this experience different or the same as my experience of life outside the space and time of this performance? How has my point of view on my experience in the world, or something as simple as the way I greet my neighbor, changed through this work?

And so I make work that strives for these same things. My curiosity about how a work is crafted and the elements that make it so affecting lead me to consider specific tools and strategies that offer to move a person to and through a certain experience and to feel that that experience has been thoroughly thought through for them. The simple tools that have been present in my work from Escapade (2019) all the way back to Franko B killed me (2007) are looking others in the eye (potentially between and among all in the space), close proximity, and discomfort as an offering of self-examination, which might show up in many different ways such as through that eye contact or proximity, or maybe it’s through duration or the specific actions of the performers.

I always want to be fully engaged with a work, whether my own or another’s. For me that means my attention is present in the performance and that I’m following the path of experience set in motion by the artist(s). I realize that my personal practice of presence stems from and shows up both in my experience of making and viewing performance, as well as through my yoga practice. But a practice of presence is a personal one and my hope of full engagement in performance differs somewhat. My hope is that I am compelled, or can compel others, through thoughtful craft to move through an experience together. I want to offer and mingle my joy with the joy of that person, my pain with the pain of that person, my struggle with the struggle of that person. I want us to share the sensations, tastes, smells, sounds of the experience, because these are the things that life is made of.

* Thank you, Faye Driscoll in Thank You For Coming: Space (2019).

Kelly Bond is a choreographer, performer, director, and yogini whose recent work, Dancing With Myself, holds together sensations of isolation and interconnectedness on an electric-pink island with an 80’s playlist. Her 2019 piece, Escapade, was nominated for a Big Easy Classical Arts Award for Outstanding Choreography of a full-length work.

Long-time collaborators, Kelly and Philadelphia-based theatre artist Mel Krodman co-created Jean & Terry: Your Guides Through Dark, Light, and Nebulous (2016); Colony (2012); and Elephant (2010). Kelly and Mel were 2015 Work Room visiting artists with The Lucky Penny and 2014 resident artists of The Breaking Ground Series at Theatre Emory, both in Atlanta, as well as 2014-15 artists-in-residence with thefidget space in Philly.

Kelly earned an MFA in interdisciplinary dance performance from Tulane where she is now an adjunct professor of dance, a position she previously held at The George Washington University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She holds an MA in European dance-theatre practice from Laban which she attended as a Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholar. Other honors include 2014-15 Artist Fellow with the TN Arts Commission and participating artist of ex.e.r.ce08 at the Centre Chorégraphique National de Montpellier with program artistic director Xavier Le Roy.

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