Charlotte Boye-Christensen and Nathan Webster of NOW-ID share their passion for the present.
How long have you been performing?
NOW-ID’s inaugural performance, The Wedding, took place at Salt Lake City’s Masonic Temple in 2013, so it is getting close to five years.
How many in your company?
I am the Artistic Director and choreographer; Nathan Webster is our Executive Director as well as a practicing architect. We both do a little of everything, more than our titles suggest. NOW-ID (NOW International Dance Co.) currently works on a project to project basis, focusing on interdisciplinary collaborations with a variety of artists both local, national and international. This allows us to expand and contract in size based on the project and to create work that is new and exciting to us and, we hope, exciting to our audiences.
What is your overall mission and/or statement with your work?
NOW-ID is a fiercely contemporary dance company, producing design-driven work for the stage and beyond. We believe passionately in the power of art and design to connect, inspire and positively transform society.
What inspires your work?
Architecture, fashion and design of all sorts. Music, politics, nature, art, relationships… The West, serendipity, magic and contrasts. Lots it seems! We are inspired by people who are passionate about their work, people who balance rigor and care, all with a sense of humor.
How does downtown SLC inspire and inform your work?
Salt Lake City still has an underlying flavor of the pioneer west, where anything is possible and yet with wildly contradictory conservatism and, ahem, intriguing oddities at the same time. Salt Lake City is like nowhere else. Rife with mythology–good, bad and ugly. It’s close to nature and with a culture and standard of living that allows quick and easy meetings with new/old friends and collaborators. The airport is close, we aren’t commuting 2 hours a day, or working overtime for a tiny apartment or to keep up with the Joneses…at least in our little world. We have to keep a sense of humor here. We do love when people are excited to create new and engaging work here, and to celebrate others doing so. There is a lot of creative work brewing here and a lot of untapped potential.
What is your vision for downtown SLC in 2 years?
We’d love to see more pedestrian life and hope things like the Cultural Core initiative and RDA projects will help forge ahead with this atmosphere in a variety of ways. We’d love to see empty parking lots and alleys and warehouse utilized for temporary pop-ups; events, art, installations, music, festivals. We’d love to see informal food, event and gathering centers like Paper Island in Copenhagen or art and design neighborhoods like Wynwood in Miami. Nathan likes to recall how Montreal has had over 100 festivals/events per summer, from neighborhood block parties to James Brown scale concerts taking over four city blocks. We’d love to see some more ambitious projects, but quick, guided by a fearless curation team. Perhaps a balance of projects with more funding alongside lots of small, temporary experiences and nudges. We’d love to see tax incentives for owners of parking lots and buildings to provide space for art–temporary or permanent–and see government agencies actively promote policies for such programming so that we, the artists, aren’t faced with blank stares and liability concern dead ends that can be solved easily with special event processes and insurance. In short, responsible government support.
In 20 Years?
We love the development we are seeing extending westward along 900 south from the 9th and 9th neighborhood. It’s scrappy… small businesses being supported by youngish property owners and designers cutting their teeth for bigger things, or just more good little things. We love stuff popping up and brewing around the Granary. We have high hopes for art and design and their impact on society, as NOW-ID’s mission states. We think that the promotion of artists and designers in quick but thoughtful, quality events will provide examples of how to activate public spaces, stimulating audiences to think and see differently. From there…who knows! We would love to see more shade structures and water misters, bikes and trees. We would love to see an increasingly active and informed citizenry, in addition to business and government leadership, that value and support the impact of arts and culture, resulting in honest, educated, and respectful, high-level public discourse. We would love to see development continue to focus on engaging street life, public spaces, environmental impacts and overall quality. We have a unique urban fabric with our wide boulevards – what can we make out of those? Oh, and continuing to work for clean, breathable air.
What dream venue would love to activate downtown?
Any of the vast empty parking lots or underused warehouses, alleys too. Or, thinking bigger–State Street with a similar atmosphere as La Ramblas in Barcelona for a weekend. Or block access for cars to a few of our grand boulevard blocks for a week to activate. Dreamy.
What’s next for you? Where can we see your upcoming works?
Well, the big thing on our minds for the public is our 2018 summer show, A Tonal Caress. This performance will be an exploration of communication through movement–via contemporary dance and sign language poetry. A Tonal Caress will premiere at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts Marcia and John Price Museum Building at the University of Utah, July 12 thru July 14, 2018. A Tonal Caress will be a contemporary dance production that will include a collaboration with deaf, sign language poet Walter Kadiki, a ‘mass of men’ installation by artist Gary Vlasic, with set, light, sound and space design that, when combined, will move and communicate to both deaf and hearing audience members. We are working towards touring A Tonal Caress to Marfa, Texas as well, having fun imagining how these two westerns cities and venues—Salt Lake and Marfa–may influence the work in both directions.
[about]This article was originally published on downtownslc.org[/about]