By Roger Lee for The Dance Journal
Secure videographer and photographer…check! Have dancers try on costumes…check! Schedule production meeting with theater venue…check! This is just a small snippet of Kelli Moshen’s long “Fringe Show To-Do List.” The busy founder, artistic director, and choreographer of Project Moshen Dance Company made time to chat with The Dance Journal about her upcoming Fringe show TRAPPED.
Kelli Moshen is no stranger to the Fringe. Since starting her all-female dance company in 2010, Kelli has produced Fringe shows at Christ Church Neighborhood House, Performance Garage, and Koresh School of Dance. After producing and performing around the city, Kelli selected Kun Yang Lin’s CHI Movement Art Center for her company’s upcoming Fringe show.
Project Moshen Dance Company’s third Fringe show is a testament to Kelli Moshen’s growth as a choreographer. After graduating from University of the Arts with a degree in Jazz Dance in 2009, Kelli created Project Moshen Dance Company. She began choreographing works to show off the technique, strength, and artistry of female dancers in Philadelphia. Since then Kelli’s choreography has evolved and began to tell specific stories. Her latest work for the Fringe tells the tale of prison. Project Moshen Dance Company is proud to present TRAPPED this weekend.
“The moral of TRAPPED is that you can’t escape your past without acknowledging and fixing the wrong that you have done,” says Kelli Moshen. The choreographer wants the meaning of TRAPPED to be open to audience interpretation. She also wants the show’s atmosphere to stick with audiences. “I want everyone to feel like they are in prison!” says Kelli. She also expects the same of her dancers. In rehearsals Kelli encourages her dancers to fully invest in their roles and the big story line. “I want the dancers to literally get lost in the piece and feel trapped on stage,” says Kelli. Her hope is that the dancers and audience will both feel so trapped that the story becomes reality.
When asked about how TRAPPED was born, Kelli revealed that the work started as one short piece. “We tried the piece out in New York City at the Steps on Broadway Performance Lab Series. It went so well that I decided to add on to it,” says Kelli. She added on until the story was complete and TRAPPED was a full-evening work. The choreographer also drew inspiration from dramatic, suspenseful soundtrack music from “Taken” and “The Dark Night Rises.” Kelli used the music to inspire her powerful, precise movement phrases, dynamic lighting, and theatrical story line. “I like dark!” admits Kelli. Although some of her previous works have been lighter and playful, Kelli is now happy to explore the darker side of contemporary jazz dance in TRAPPED.
Kelli Moshen’s evolution as a choreographer and performer can be attributed to her diverse movement training. The 26-year-old dance entrepreneur spent the summer in Los Angeles studying at major dance studios. “I took lots and lots of class this summer,” admits Kelli. “It took me about a month to get comfortable with LA’s stylized movement!” Kelli explains that in Los Angeles many dance instructors use the downbeat of their musical selections. Although this took some getting used to, Kelli enjoyed the movement and musical challenge. “I love both the fast, intricate LA dance style and the groove and technique of our East Coast Dance. I decided to put both together!” In addition to summer training in Los Angeles, Kelli frequently trains in New York City throughout the year. She loves being in close proximity to the Big Apple with a diverse range of dance classes, workshops, and intensives. “There are so many dance training options right at our disposal, in our own backyard!” says Kelli.
Project Moshen Dance Company benefits from Kelli Moshen’s strong artistry and business acumen. In addition to training, teaching, and choreographing dance, Kelli also has experience working as an administrator within the commercial dance sector. “I worked at the MSA Agency in NYC and LA, acting as a junior agent,” says Kelli. She learned a great deal about booking, marketing, and promoting dance in various cities. Kelli admitted that although these priceless administrative skills have basic principles, each city had its own specific dance culture. “The challenge is in learning how to apply booking, marketing, and promoting skills to each new dance environment.” Kelli’s time at MSA also taught her how agencies work with dance companies, the intricacies of press kit design, and how to network effectively. Kelli learned a lot of skills that she is now applying to her work with Project Moshen Dance Company. Project Moshen Dance Company’s TRAPPED is a culmination of Kelli’s personal, artistic, and business development.
TRAPPED by Project Moshen Dance Company, choreographed by Kelli Moshen
Saturday, September 21, 2013, 7 pm and 9 pm
CHI Movement Arts Center, 1316 S. 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
Tickets and info at http://fringearts.ticketleap.com/trapped/