Sole and Souls: Ashley Deran Tells Us About Project Bound Dance’s ‘Imprint’
Soul and soles. If you’re wondering what those two things have to do with one another, just ask Project Bound Dance Co-Artistic Director, Ashley Deran. Well, we asked, and got some answers that made us want to ask a hundred more questions. In collaboration with vocalist Jazelle Morriss, Project Bound Dance will premiere ‘Imprint’ at Hamlin Park Field House Theater October 19 + 20. DancerMusic’s Kristi Licera took some time with Ashley to find out more:
Kristi: ‘Imprint’ explores “soul and soles while addressing the impact of social status and material worth.” What sparked your need to explore this idea?
My co-director, Ericka Vaughn and I discussed why women in particular feel compelled to step into certain expectations about how they should look and act.
Ashley: My co-director, Ericka Vaughn and I discussed why women in particular feel compelled to step into certain expectations about how they should look and act. We further discussed stepping into certain roles: the role of a mother, the role of a significant other, the role of a boss, etc. We realized those titles are just different hats we wear (or in the case of ‘Imprint’, the shoes!) and while they add texture to your personality, they don’t define you. We ran with that and ended up with 42 different shoes featured in one exciting evening of dance!
Kristi: How did Jazelle Morriss become part of ‘Imprint’?
Ashley: Jazelle Morriss, whose acting credits include Chicago Children’s Theatre, and Steppenwolf Theatre Company, is a personal friend of co-director Ericka Vaughn. She attended one of our performances last season and was really moved by the work we presented. Jazelle approached us about possibly collaborating in the future and at the time we hadn’t locked down any specific concepts for our third season. We kindly asked her to join the Project Bound family and with her help we began creating a blueprint for “Imprint.”
Kristi: How did Jazelle’s time with you and the dance artists affect the choreographic development of ‘Imprint’?
Ericka and I are very musical and rhythmic with our choreography and were heavily inspired by the cadence of Jazelle’s voice, her pauses and inflections.
Ashley: For our two biggest sections, the Prologue and Imprint finale, Jazelle was a huge influence in how we structured our choreography. Both of these sections are set only to her voice — a slam style story that serves as a thematic thread throughout the piece. Ericka and I are very musical and rhythmic with our choreography and were heavily inspired by the cadence of Jazelle’s voice, her pauses and inflections. While Ericka and I are used to collaborating together, it was such an adventure to add a third voice (literally) to the mix. Jazelle was open and honest with her ideas and we were able to give feedback on specific things we wanted. The dancers’ movement and her lyrics are co-dependent, which has created a dynamic and exciting energy in the studio that we cannot wait to share.
The dancers’ movement and her lyrics are co-dependent, which has created a dynamic and exciting energy in the studio that we cannot wait to share.
Kristi: What came first: sound or movement?
Ashley: This show in particular was tricky because the work is broken up into short vignettes. I would say for the most part we generated a lot of movement ideas, themes, and phrases without music and then reassembled those thoughts once we found a sound score that fit our concept for the specific section.
‘Imprint’ features six dancers, one vocalist, three original spoken word pieces, and 42 pairs of shoes. The evening will also feature seven selected works from Bound’s One Hour Project, which offered artists the unique opportunity to collaborate and create a 60 second dance for film in just 60 minutes. Catch ‘Imprint’ at the Hamlin Park Field House Theater October 19 + 20 by purchasing tickets at www.projectbounddance.brownpapertickets.com.
Photographs by Ashley Deran
Artists featured in photographs:
Image 1: Alix Schillaci – Image 2: Project Bound Dance with Jazelle Morriss – Image 3 (L to R): Kathryn Hetrick, Alix Schillaci, and Co-director Ericka Vaughn – Image 4: Stephanie Toland