Megan Riddle in "Let You Go"
When a dance company is just starting out, usually, it's assumed there are a few of the following ingredients:
What's usually absent? Financial resources; costumes and technical support, a place to perform, and, most importantly, if a budget is tight, quality talent to be in the shows.
Somehow, by the grace of the dance gods, Relay Dance Collective was able to procure all of these things, including an outstanding group of professional and professional-level dancers to make our choreographic visions come alive. Megan Riddle, who holds a BFA in dance from Western Washington University, was one of the first dancers we handpicked for our crew. With expressive, sensitive eyes and a whole lot of power packed into a small frame, Megan brings a presence to the stage that can be thoughtful at times, and fiery, at others.
See Megan take up space THIS WEEKEND in Relay Dance Collective's show, "Music + Motion." Shows are at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m., Saturday, August 24 and Sunday, August 25 at Dance Fremont! studio theater, 4015 Stone Way North, Seattle.
Tickets are still available! Purchase yours now at rdcpremiere.brownpapertickets.com
Q. How would you describe yourself as a dance artist?
A. Being onstage is my way to connect with others. I try to find a connection to the audience no matter what style I am performing.
Q. What styles are you most attracted to?
A. I am attracted to many types of dance. Depends on my mood/day and what I am doing. When performing I love modern/contemporary pieces because they tend to feel more natural on my body. When I take class; new, challenging tap rhythms make my heart soar, As a teacher, I love ballet, modern and choreographic techniques.
The Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Dance Co.
Q. What dancers and or companies most inspire you?
A. I constantly find myself being inspired by new dancers and companies but Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co. is where I find much inspiration. The movement and work the company creates makes me think, question, and sometimes just sit there in awe. I am also inspired by the dancers around me. Often, this is my students, but lately I have added my fellow dancers in Relay Dance Collective. I just love seeing everyone out doing THEIR thing, even if it isn't MY thing. It inspires me to create more.
Q. What's your connection to RDC?
A. Gabba (Gabrielle Nomura) and I danced together in a reconstruction of Mark Morris' New Love Song Waltzes while we were students at Western Washington University. It is great to be onstage together again after so many years!
Q. How else are you involved in the performing arts or dance?
A. I teach at a dance studio in Lynnwood called Dance Elite & Music. I teach "a little bit of everything": Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Ballet, Turns & Leaps, Core Strength and lots of kids creative movement classes. Whew! It tires me out but I love being able to pass on what I have learned from my wonderful teachers. The best part of teaching is letting the kids create and make up their own movement. A lot of my contemporary classes focus on teaching choreographic techniques and discussing movement. That moment when a student is so excited by a movement phrase they have created, that is what I live for.
On the side, I also like to dabble in visual arts. I like to draw, sew (create things with fabrics), and have recently become enamored by encaustic wax art but that's a work in progress!
Q. What words best describe your presence on stage?
A. Someone once told me when onstage I "say everything but give away nothing." Usually I have a story in my head, which helps me to connect to the audience, but I like to keep a little piece of it for myself. If I can move just one person, whether that be positive, negative, amaze them, scare them, whatever; then I feel I have succeeded.
Q. What are your goals as an artist in general?
A. Finding connection to the community. Inspire. Create. Make people think. And when sometimes it doesn't work, start all over again.
Q. What else should people know about you?
A. When I'm not dancing/teaching you can often find me on a run. Currently, I'm working toward my third half-marathon of the year in October. Also, my cat knows how to fetch, which is pretty awesome. Haha!
Q. What are your must-haves in your dance bag?
A. Water, my tap shoes (you never know when you might need them), a hair tie to try to control my crazy amount of hair, some good tunes, and lots of deodorant (just being real here people!).
Q. What advice do you like to give your dance students?
A. Before my students go onstage I like to remind them to "Do your best, forget the rest." Cheesy, but so true. I want them to remember you do what you can, if it doesn't go right, then later you will work to make it right next time, no point in stressing about it now. I also like to push them to try new things and put themselves out there. When they do, it helps give them a voice, and we want to listen.
Q. What have been some of your biggest obstacles and how has dance played into this (positively or negatively?)
A. I am a very shy and quiet person. I like my time alone. Dance has become my place to connect with others. It has given me confidence to strive for new things even when they are hard. It helps me to put away my insecurities, even if just for a moment onstage. Maybe someday it will help me to put away those insecurities for good.
Q. Why do you dance?
A. I could give a cheesy symbolic answer, which would most likely be part true but honestly I really don't know. There is certainly something about it that keeps me coming back for more, even after all the sore muscles, toe splits, and floor burn!