On the Couch with Matt Kent

PILOBOLUS ShadowlandWho is Matt Kent?
I am one of two Associate Artistic Directors of Pilobolus. I am someone who likes to work with others to create experiences that express our view of the world that we all share.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I enjoy my life and what I am doing but if I had to pick another vocation it would probably either be in music or educating youth about the endless creative potential that lies in each of us.

Who inspires you and why?
I am an enthusiast. I am easily inspired by the world around me. Some people may think that art begins with looking inward and investigating an internal private landscape. For me, creation begins with looking outward and observing. I find consistent inspiration from my family; I have a wonderfully supportive and creative wife and two little boys to keep me looking at the world with fresh eyes.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d like to think that what I do now makes a difference in the world. When you see Shadowland, or another show I have created, I hope that you will leave the theater knowing that the world is a little richer, more mysterious and full of potential. I am also passionate about sharing movement as an expression to youth and adults from all walks of life.

Pilobolus holds a Summer Intensive every year here in the woods of CT, where we live and create. Dancers, teachers, publicists, writers, moms, truck drivers, tax accountants…people from everywhere come here and play and create for a week. It is amazing how much one week can change people’s outlook and approach to their lives, relationships, and work.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I travel for work often, and I spent years traveling as a Pilobolus performer. So, now, I really love to head to my childhood home in Georgia and visit with family and friends. That is very important to me.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
Because I live in a rural area, I would take guests on a beautiful hike to enjoy the vistas. One trail called Macricostas was designed, cut and blazed by one of our founders, Robby Barnett. And if it is warm, I would insist on a swim in one of the several lakes in this area.

What are you currently reading?
I am reading the first volume of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, Swan’s Way Edited and Annotated By William C. Carter. (Given to me by a friend of mine I met at a Pilobolus Summer Intensive who works at the Yale Press!)s The Tempest for a new production that I am involved in which just premiered in Las Vegas.

What are you currently listening to?  
What I listen to is often influenced by what I am working on. Luckily, I love my work and enjoy that fact. I have been listening to Tom Waits a lot. We are using his catalogue for The Tempest production I mentioned. It’s an amazing production and his music is covered by the show’s band Rough Magic. The show is co-directed by an amazing director named Aaron Posner and Teller, an amazing magician among other things. And I have just finished working on a new trio with Pilobolus Dance Theater and we wanted to work with classical music. Mostly Vivaldi. Just beautiful!

Happiness is?  
I believe that happiness is the natural state of human beings. Somehow, somewhere along the way, we forget that. I forget it myself. Happiness is something ineffable perhaps. But I really think it is mostly feeling that the life you are supposed to be living is the life that you are living. When I am happy I feel like I am on a path that has been waiting for me the whole time.

What does the future hold for you?
Sometimes I feel like the Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times” is what my future holds. But I think I am ready for the challenge.

Matt Kent has worked with Pilobolus since 1996, as a dancer, collaborator, creative director, choreographer, and associate artistic director.

Matt was Pilobolus’s Head Choreographer for Andre Heller’s Magnifico, a large scale circus production, as well as the choreographer for a Sports Emmy nominated teaser for Pilobolus’s collaboration with the NFL network, and one of Pilobolus’s television appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

He has performed in over 24 countries and on Pilobolus’s appearance on the 79th Academy Awards. Matt is also a movement consultant for television and stage. Recent projects include Duncan Sheik’s (Spring Awakening) latest musical, Whisper House and zombie choreographer for AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead.

Pilobolus’s acclaimed production of Shadowland commences its Australian tour at Arts Centre Melbourne (28 May – 1 June 2014) – www.artscentremelbourne.com.au and then can be seen in Auckland (3 – 8 June), Brisbane (10 – 15 June), Sydney (17 – 20 June), Canberra (21 – 22 June), Perth (25 June – 6 July), and Adelaide (9 – 13 July). For more information, visit: www.shadowlandlive.com for details.

Image: Matt Kent – photo by Dennis Williamson