By Gina Hoch-Stall, choreographer
I don’t feel like I have ever had a ‘real job.’ I worked in an office once in high school; but my jobs since have been far from stationary, generally hourly and have not included healthcare or a 401k. I have chosen the topic of jobs as the inspiration for the company’s new work because I am interested in finding new answers to these questions:
-What is a job?
-What does it look like?
-How does a person’s work affect his or her identity?
Rather than making a piece of art that focuses solely on my experiences I wanted to gather stories and information from other working Philadelphians. In seeking out these workers I attempted to find a range in age, gender, education, and type of work. I met my interviewees through my dancers, through my own work as a fitness instructor and sometimes on the street. So far I have conducted 20 interviews and counting. The dancers and I have also traveled to the workplaces of a few of our interviewees to capture their physical work on video for movement inspiration.
Ilan Isakov, the composer and sound designer for this project, and I have now been transcribing these interviews and mining them for ideas and inspiration. Beginning in September the dancers and I will come together in the studio to start playing with the data from the interviews and the video footage, exploring the answers to those three questions through phrase-work, gestures and partnering.
In the coming months we will be opening our rehearsals to the interviewees as well as the general public. We are inviting you to come and see what our ‘work’ looks and feels like: all rehearsals offer opportunities for participation. If all goes as planned we may even be bringing some of the Philadelphia workers we’ve interviewed onto the stage with us next May when we will premier the work at the Latvian Society of Philadlephia.
In the meantime we are listening, writing, moving, trying and failing. Working, in our own way, to suss out what is interesting and necessary to address about jobs, work and our individual identities.
We’ll keep you posted right here.