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Nicole Klaymoon

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

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Artist Statement

In my analysis of the ways that dance can ‘speak’ and language can ‘move’, I have learned that bodies are walking vessels of history.  I draw not only from the physicality of each dancer, but also the complexity of his/her identity and the invisible stories that their bodies carry.  My work uses street dance traditions (i.e., popping, waacking, classic hip-hop, house, and bgirling/bboying), places them squarely in the context of concert dance, and subverts traditionally masculine modalities by exploring trauma, healing, womanist histories, race, and gender role dissolution. My choreographic works are rooted in a reverence for hip-hop dance history, cultural preservation, and the forgotten struggles of African American and Latino hip-hop dance pioneers. The core questions driving my work are: How can personal narrative be used to humanize broader political issues? What does it mean to give hip hop dance a feminine orientation while still honoring the masculine structures from which it originated?

Nicole Klaymoon

Klaymoon is Founder and Artistic Director of the Embodiment Project. As a solo performer, Klaymoon created the dance theater production, Sixth Vowel, choreographed by Rennie Harris and directed by Kamilah Forbes of the New York City Hip Hop Theatre Festival. Miami New Times art critic Chuck Strouse wrote “Nicole Klaymoon’s Sixth Vowel was THE BEST small theatrical production I have seen in this city in a decade.” Sixth Vowel toured to festivals and venues including the Hip-Hop Theater Festival (NY), Illadelph Legends Hip-Hop Dance Festival (PA), Electric Lodge (CA), Miami Hip-Hop Project (FL), the Bride Theater (PA), UC Riverside (CA), the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland), Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Theater (OR), Studio Theatre (MD), 4th Street Theater, New York Theater Workshop (NY), and Intersection for the Arts Theater (CA).

Klaymoon is a recipient of a Headlands residency and ODC’s Sandbox residency sponsored by the Moulon Foundation. She has performed in dance works directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Sean San Jose, Rennie Harris, Amara Tabor-Smith, Meredith Monk, Maria Gellespie, Annie Rosenthal-Parr, and Anne Bluethenthal.  She has facilitated a dance theater intensive sponsored by G.R.A.C.E. Africa and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Daedalus Project in Kenya, and has worked as a guest choreographer and arts educator in over thirty schools throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Klaymoon has taught at the University of San Francisco dance department and is currently on faculty at Dance Mission Theater in San Francisco, Marin Academy High School and at the ODC Dance School. She received a B.A. in Dance from UCLA and an M.F.A. from the California Institute of Integral Studies.