On the Couch with Kimberly Bartosik

AAR Kimberly Bartosik by Scott ShawWho is Kimberly Bartosik?
NYC-based Choreographer, performer, educator Kimberly Bartosik creates viscerally provocative, ferociously intimate choreographic projects that are built upon the development of a virtuosic movement language, rigorous conceptual explorations, and the creation of highly theatricalized environments. Her work, which is deeply informed by literature and cinema, dramatically illuminates the ephemeral nature of performance.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I really can’t think of a thing! I feel so blessed to have the life I have, with the outrageously talented dancers and designers who dedicate themselves to my work. I feel like we are pulling off the impossible: creating a (sort of) sustainable life as artists living in the U.S. This is not an easy feat – and we all hold down multitudes of jobs to make it possible – but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!

Who inspires you and why?
The artists I work with. I have to fall in love with an artist in order to create on/for/with them, so the inspiration runs deep. And currently, my muse is my 12 year old daughter, who will be performing (not dancing) in I hunger for you – the piece we are presenting as part of Supersense. I see so much of the world through her fantastically beautifully developing mind and body. She’s a profound presence onstage because she understands how to just be without performing being.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I hope that I am making at least a small difference to the people who see my work and take my classes. Through both my choreographic work and teaching, I carve out a space for criticism and compassion while tenderly and violently etching away at some deeply distressing threads of our society. I use the body – in all its physical and emotional extremes – inviting audiences to think, feel, and reflect on their place within their complicated existence. I’m not assuming my work is going to change the world in any mega-way, but each individual it touches I hope will be impacted in some way, big or small.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The Ligurian coast of Italy. I spent 5 weeks in Liguria in 2017 at the Boglaisco Foundation as a Bogliasco Fellow and fell in love with the area. Then I returned last summer with my husband and daughter and fell more deeply in love with the Ligurian Sea, the food, the air, the sky. Mostly the water. There’s no tide in the Ligurian Sea, but it’s always in motion. It’s completely magical.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Because I’m a Brooklynite, I usually avoid the Manhattan tourist attractions like Broadway or the Statue of Liberty, etc. I stick to museums, Prospect Park, my favorite Brooklyn cafes and restaurants. Brooklyn culture is like no other. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

What are you currently reading?
Honestly, I’m so busy that I’m lucky if I can finish an article in my New Yorker magazine!

What are you currently listening to?
A single song – Alive by Arca.

Happiness is?
The curtain goes down, or a class ends, and someone tells me they are forever changed by what they encountered/experienced in my work. Then I know my place in this world makes sense, and I can accept the privilege of living my life as an artist in the U.S.

What does the future hold for you?
Well, before I respond to that, I want to note that our shows at Supersense mark my Australian debut which is SUPER exciting! We are all SO thrilled to be performing in this amazing country. After Australia, I dive into three new works: one to premiere in March 2020 in NYC, which we began earlier this year; one that I’ll create March-May 2020 with 12-15 year old dancers aspiring to be ballet dancers; and a very special 3 1/2 min radical duet for Dahlia (my 12 year old) and Burr Johnson (from the cast of I hunger for you) which goes up on Sept 6!

In terms of longer-term future, my hope is that, along with Roderick Murray, my extraordinary lighting-designer husband, we will be able to build a more stable future for our work and for Dahlia. We are living an extreme life of creativity, but it’s week to week at best in terms of stability. At the same time, we feel very blessed to be dedicating our life to what we love and believe in. I’d just like to get paid what we are worth!

Kimberly presents the Australian premiere of I hunger for you on Friday 23 August at Arts Centre Melbourne as part of the 2019 Supersense Festival of the Ecstatic. For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au for details.

Image: Kimberly Bartosik – photo by Scott Shaw