#77: Kim Olson
Dancer/choreographer Kim Olson founded SWEET EDGE ten years ago in Boulder as an interdisciplinary vision built on a foundation of collaboration and trust. "The name derives from a state of being -- where change is constant and movement fundamental. We shift, merge, adapt, step out of the known, take risks and ask why -- this is the Dance. For me, the SWEET EDGE happens in the space between what is and what can be." That's how she describes the tight-knit ensemble's mission in her written statement, and it's a credo that's taken SWEET EDGE, now based in Denver, beyond all limits.
How does Olson keep the ideas flowing through that unknown space? Learn more by reading her 100CC questionnaire.
Westword:If you could collaborate with anyone in history, who would it be, and why?
Kim Olson: This is a really hard question because there are so many. But if I had to pick a few off the top of my head...
Leonardo Da Vinci: To be a moving model. Imagine the angels and demons he could concoct, not to mention that it might have influenced his models for human flight.
Federico Fellini: In another life, I roamed with a band of estranged circus gypsies. I have a fixation with black-and-white cinema and photography. His casts were fascinating, and I could hang in the wilds of the Italian countryside for a lifetime.
Antoni Gaudi: I would be the designated "principle of motion" live exhibit to sync and to counter all those beautiful curves...ah. I did a barefoot tour in Barcelona's Park Güell that my feet will never forget.
Montgolfier brothers: To design a performance ad campaign -- drawing out the French masses to the first manned ascent into the sky -- the globe aerostatique!
Cristo: All that fabric needs bodies -- can you imagine the suspension of movement within? The play with shape and scale and perspective and place.... Hmmmm...so many ideas.
Bjork: Her sound speaks to me, and I want to wear those costumes. I have a similar tangent visioning process -- which can lead to bizarre, profound and seemingly unrelated ideas. I think we could make great performance together. She's brilliant.
Radiohead: I am already there -- choreographing outrageously poetic, tragic stage-diving sequences and suspended installations. They could use a fourth layer of kinesthetic/visceral trip -- I'd be all over it. Say the word, Thom.
Who in the world is interesting to you right now, and why?
Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods (Berlin): I have few true heroes, but artistically, Meg is it. Her work is brave, a powerhouse of ideas, random, relevant, large and small, and has the ability to make an impact, and shape how we see ourselves. It's revolutionary.
Radiolab podcast: I can't get enough of how the human experience crosses spheres of reality, time, place and the universe. I love having my mind blown.
Wim Vandekeybus (Brussels): Conceptually and visually stunning - the whole package. He is bold and prolific (and funded to the point where he can make those leaps). This is potent stuff.
Katerina Plotnikova (Russia): Her photos are magical - dreamy and surreal. I just discovered her, and it's easy to get lost in these scenes.
Vik Muniz (Brazil/NYC): "Waste Land" blew me away. It is a simple, beautiful, profoundly impactful statement. We need more artists like him -- and everyone should see the documentary.
(Plus Bjork and Radiohead).
What's one art trend you want to see die this year?
EDM (electronic dance music/POP). This stuff hurts me to hear. It's omnipresent, and it's insulting on so many levels. And there is a whole generation that believes this is quality music. Sad and scary.
What's your day job?
I'm an artist/mom. To be honest, I've yet to figure out the clean and clear line between them. It's a whirling smorgasbord of visions, passion, fun and madness!!!
A mystery patron offers you unlimited funds for life. What will you do with it?
Easy. Travel the world creating dance and performing and collaborating. I want to create large-scale performances for communities, introducing a platform for sustainable ongoing movement/performance installation that speaks to who they are -- past present and future -- and becomes an important visible and integral evolving aspect to their overall communication and expression. P.S.: I could do this for Denver, too.
What's the one thing Denver (or Colorado) could do to help the arts?
Bring us together. We still resonate with fierce cowboy independence, which may really work in some arenas of business, but with the arts it can be a detriment. The music and visual art scenes seem fairly organized, widespread (as in predictably located in certain districts) and regularly showcased (not to say that these artists don't struggle). But dance is sparsely all over the map, literally. And as a transient medium, its gifts are overwhelmingly overlooked.
In so many vibrant cultural hubs throughout the world there is a cutting-edge dance "place." I have been involved in several think tank groups trying to vision how this could happen in Denver. It's tricky, and it will involve investors and vision. I'm not talking about individuals owning studios -- no -- because that (although it can be a blessing to the companies/studios) doesn't create the experimental/lab-like environment of shared studio spaces that creates community and can blow our innovative, artistic socks off. The talent is here - the place is not. We need a supportive, multifaceted, highly visible, outrageously progressive house for dance that would put us on the map.
Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?
Mighty Karma -- I love them -- are three steps ahead and are in the right mindset to make this world a better place.
What's on your agenda in the coming year?
I'm in deep exploration mode on my project for the ATLAS Black Box Theater, Boulder in November. My performance (the world that we've created), a collaboration with Control Group Productions that opens June 13, is a jumping-off place for what will come. I have so much in my head -- so many ideas and structures. I'm reveling in them and waiting for shakubuku and inspiration to weld it all together. I am also launching the Moving Platform -- Art-Based Creativity Workshops for creative industries and professionals. This seems to be the year of intense ideas and possibility.
Who do you think will get noticed in the local dance/performance community in 2014?
San Souci Festival of Dance Cinema: If you haven't been to the festival -- you need to check it out.
TinHouse Experimental Dance Theatre (Joanna Rotkin) is making strides as an organizer for the spontaneous and improvisatory potential of dance and community. Go Joanna!
See Kim Olson/SWEET EDGE and Control Group Productions in (the world we've created), an evening of multidisciplinary performance and movement installations that includes two premieres, June 13 through 15 at the Studio Loft in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, Denver Performing Arts Complex. Admission is $20 in advance ($25 at the door) and $16 for students and seniors. Learn more about Kim Olson/SWEET EDGE online.
Throughout the year, we'll be shining the spotlight on 100 superstars from Denver's rich creative community. Stay tuned to Show and Tell for more, or visit the 100 Colorado Creatives archive to catch up.
To keep up with the Froyd's eye view of arts and culture in Denver, "like" my fan page on Facebook.
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