What are you currently working on?
I just completed my MFA in Dance at Hollins University in July, so I’ve been slowly recovering from a year of really hard work and inquiry. Besides this I’m also dancing in a new work by Jillian Peña, “The Guiding Light,” which will have its premiere at the Chocolate Factory in New York, December 5th-8th.
Where are you based out of?
After finishing school, I had a couple of months where I didn’t really feel based anywhere…though I was mostly sort of hanging around in Berlin. I’ve just moved to Baltimore this month, which is a totally new city for me. I’m excited to get acquainted with the dance and arts scene here.
When did you start your training?
I started training pretty young, when I was 5 or so. There was a lot of ballet during my childhood/teen years. I went to the University of the Arts for my undergraduate degree, and began to be really inspired by modern and contemporary forms.
When did you decide you wanted to be a dancer?
I think I decided pretty young. Early teens or so…there was just something about dancing that I knew I couldn’t really live without.
What was your first professional job as a dancer?
My first job as a professional dancer was in French choreographer Jérôme Bel’s “the show must go on.” It was an exciting experience that opened me up to European postmodern performance. I was inspired by the conceptual nature of this work, and it helped me realize that meaning in dance didn’t have to be solely anchored to physicality and form.
Who were your mentors and what roles did they play in your growth as an artist?
So many people…I’m grateful to all of the teachers and mentors in my life who’ve encouraged creativity and fearless questioning. Curt Haworth, Manfred Fischbeck, Christine Cox, Jennifer Binford Johnson, Jeffery Bullock, Glenna Batson, Thomas DeFrantz, HeJin Jang, Jesse Zaritt, Amanda K. Miller…
These people taught me so much about the balance between trust and questioning in artistic practice…which feels like a scale that’s continually re-adjusting and re-balancing.
What is your favorite place you have ever performed?
In Berlin I performed in a lot of unconventional performance spaces, like art openings that took place in squats and warehouses and stuff like this. I found these experiences really fulfilling, as they required me to think about dance in ways that were new for me, like how it can be interactive, and how it can fit into an aesthetic other than a fully polished theatrical event.
Do you have a pre-show ritual or superstition?
I don’t think I really have a set ritual or superstition. Mostly I just need to do things that get me to feel really grounded and centered. This often includes practicing alignment techniques, and focusing on my breath. Usually not a whole lot of talking…I become fairly non-verbal before performances. Unless the work includes talking of course…
What inspires you to keep going?
I really believe in dance and its inherent potential for inviting a different way of interacting with the world and each other. I think it’s so important for people to keep feeling, questioning and being in touch with their bodies. Dance’s value often feels pretty elusive in its material rewards, and in the way that it’s placed in society. But because of this, I feel even more determined to keep dancing and expanding dance’s audience. We need arts that show us possibilities beyond what we already know…even if these visions only last for the duration of a performance, they help us imagine other realities worth striving for.
Where do you see yourself in 15 years? Will you still be dancing?
I really hope so! I hope to be continuing to make work, performing, and teaching. I imagine my dancing practice will change with age…I’m looking forward to seeing how I can have dance be an evolving constant in my life amidst other variables.
What are your goals outside of dance?
I guess I’ve sort of stopped thinking about my dancing life and my “other life”…to me the goal is to get them to be fused as one thing. Easier said than done, but along these lines, one of my goals is to do work that helps strengthen dance’s presence in places where it’s absent. I’d really like to aid in bringing dance to unconventional places, like maybe to kids in public school systems? This seems like a good place for me to start.
Do you have any advice to give to other dancers whether they are just starting or in the thick of it?
For me, dance’s richness lies in the fact that in can be so super-structured, while simultaneously remaining abstract. My advice would be to always trust your body, and the beautiful clarity of flesh, muscle, bones, alignment…from this concrete place there are infinite possibilities! I think structure can be used to fearlessly dive into the abstract, the elusive, the unknown…the reality of the body will always be a home to return to.
What music are you listening to right now?
Lately there’s been a lot of folk and country…I think moving back to the US from Berlin has me stuck on this kind of stuff. Mostly I’ve been listening to Hurray for the Riff Raff, Vetiver, Deer Tick, Elvis Perkins, Jenny Lewis as well as some classics like Emmy Lou Harris, Jonathan Richman, Leonard Cohen, Townes Van Zandt.
List five inspirations.
Cooking, the Whitechapel Gallery “Documents of Contemporary Art” series, Werner Herzog, the Art 21 series on pbs, birds.
Bio: Meredith Bove hails from a small town in Vermont. In 2008 she received her BFA in dance from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Shortly after earning her BFA she moved to Berlin where she enjoyed performing and collaborating with many amazing people. She has presented work at various venues in Berlin, including the adastudio, Salon Bruit, K77, and Die Kunst Apotheke, as well as with the Gruntwork collective. Additionally, she has performed in the work of Jérôme Bel, Zinzi Buchanan, Luis Lara Malvacías, and Jillian Peña, and has enjoyed collaborations with dancer/choreographer Andrea Jenni and sound and conceptual artist Luke Munn. Most recently, Meredith earned her MFA from the Hollins University/American Dance Festival MFA in Dance program.
1-2. Grant Halverson
3. Carl Simpson