Abigail Corriganis from Columbus, OH and received her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Elon University. She is currently based in New York City and is a member of The Nathaniel Hunt Project and Ballaro Dance Company. Abigail has had the opportunity to perform works by choreographers such as Alessio Silvestrin, Alex Ketley, BODYTRAFFIC, Gerri Houlihan, Kira Blazek, Matt Pardo and Summation Dance Company, Vanessa Long, Allison Dyke and Zoe Helm. Abigail is researching how Hemingway’s Iceberg Theory can be translated into a choreographic technique, and choreographed the full-length work Of Those Who Live(2018) utilizing the theory she created. An excerpt of this work was presentedin the WAXworks showcase at Triskelion Arts in November 2018, and will be presented at the Hudson Guild Theater in the 2019 Movement Festival in June 2019. In the summer of 2018, Abigail studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance (SFCD), learning Forsythe’s Improvisational Technologies from Alessio Silvestrin and as a choreographic resident, created work under the mentorship of Christian Burns and Alex Ketley. She was the Artistic Director of Synaesthetic Dance Company in 2017 and has choreographed works for the American College Dance Association Conference in 2017 and the Elon Dance Program’s Fall Dance Concert in 2016. In addition, Abigail was a Creative Intern and Ensemble Member for a musical workshop choreographed by Lorin Latarro, and was the assistant to the Artistic Director of Ate9 Dance Company in 2015.
Stories find me. My job, as an artist, is to tell them.
It starts when I am lying in bed. The second my mind wants to sleep an idea knocks on my skull that won’t go away. My tired mind concedes to my curious one and I let the ideas flow. Next thing I know, I am walking down the street I was on earlier that day, and I see the couple whose shoulders tensed in the strain of a conversation–I feel intrigued. Still not willing to let me slip into unconsciousness, my mind asks me to see things as the bird gliding past the burnt orange sunset I saw a few hours before–I feel exquisite. My mind may even want me to just be myself, allowing the gravity of my hardships to sink in–I feel destroyed.
My mind is not just asking me to observe my day-to-day life, but to experienceit. I am not interested in telling stories that merely describe experience. I am interested in telling stories in the same way my mind does as I am lying in bed. Stories as vivid as experience. Stories that honor experience through dance.
Movement is my primary language–it is how I feel most articulate. Starting at age five, I was only interested in tap dancing. It wasn’t until age fourteen that I began taking ballet and contemporary classes, which caused me to fall in love with all of dance. My tap dancing roots gave me a keen sense of rhythm that I merged with the fluidity of ballet. Early in my understanding of these new ways of moving, teachers began calling me a “storyteller”. Improvising came naturally because I felt understood. I used this need to communicate as a way to color my movement language with textures ranging from light to resistant and rich to minimalistic, bringing a unique energy to the way I move.
The movement I generate is informed by the textures and energy in my dancing. Just as my movement has influenced my choreography, in turn my choreography has made my dancing more intricate and thoughtful. I create movement by reframing everyday experience so that it feels authentic in my dancers’ bodies. If it feels authentic to them, it will feel authentic to the audience. I honor the unique genius I see in the choreographers I work with, the dancers I am preforming with, and the artists I am creating on.
I want to create art that drives people to not just watch, but to experience deeply and intensely. Art that makes people feel intrigued or exquisite or destroyed or anything in between. Art that articulates the stories that find me.
By doing this, I believe I am doing my job as an artist.