It's Monday. 24-Hour ChoreoFest is on Friday. That means it's time to meet another participant. Here is some important information and insight from Tyler Catanella, director of Paradise Lost. Enjoy!
Hello! My name is Tyler Catanella, and I am the Artistic Director of Paradise Lost, a collective of Boston dancers, actors, musicians, and visual artists that focuses on creating improvisational art with personal and social effect. I was born and raised in the greater Philadelphia region, and grew up immersed in hip-hop dance, music, and culture. After being exposed to modern and contemporary dance in Boston during my time studying Theatre Education and Acting at Emerson College, I started to pursue choreography as a way to bring my many worlds together. What I ultimately create with Paradise Lost is dance theatre with strong modern and hip-hop roots.
I direct, compose music, and choreograph dance theatre through this wonderful company of artists regularly; my newest work, Nostalgia, co-directed and choreographed with company leader Rose Fieschko, premiered at Green Street Studios this past March.
LDC: How do you feel in advance of ChoreoFest? What do you hope to accomplish, personally and choreographically?
TC: If there’s one thing that I seek to accomplish with Paradise Lost, it’s creating a safe space and a proud product. The challenge with this festival is the amount of time in which we must selflessly throw ourselves into the themes and movements we’re given. Working in limitations can be so difficult, but I want us to leave the Dance Complex knowing that we gave it our all, and having no regrets in showing what it is that we do. Personally, I hope to challenge the dance community to ask, “What is dance?” It’s a question I still wrestle with, and one that I am excited to explore with the five other companies at this festival.
Another goal I’ve added for Paradise Lost for the 24-Hour ChoreoFest is to compose our own original music for the entire piece while creating the choreography. I’ve brought in a couple dancers who are also musicians that can help me in scoring the piece. I’ll be bringing all of my recording software, instruments, and microphones to use at our disposal. I want to create an entirely original piece in 24 hours!
LDC: Your creative process... do you have a typical way to work through something new? Tell us how you create.
TC: The first thing I do in the rehearsal room is establish a safe space to work, where infinite possibilities lie and judgment can be thrown out the window. The second most important thing for me as a choreographer is establishing a sense of ensemble and relationship among the dancers. Awareness is huge for me, especially when using improvisation and contact improv as a tool in both the creative process and performance. After doing a few improvisations and movement scores based around a theme or image for the piece (vomiting material, I call it), I can look back on what we’ve done and use what felt right as building blocks or inspiration for the piece. Then, it’s non-stop setting and organizing the material. I try to stay as truthful and organic as possible in both my leadership and my choreography, and often find myself using a lot of actor-language when choreographing.
LDC: What's the greatest fear you have about the festival?
TC: Not having enough energy to power through the night is a big fear of mine at the moment. As an improviser, I love the pressure of crunch time. It gives me so much inspiration and energy, but will it be enough to keep us all awake? I sure hope so!
LDC: What's your record for longest amount of time you've been awake? How will you cope with a lack of sleep and an excess of things to do?
TC: With most of us coming out of college, we’re still riding the waves of pulling all-nighters for papers and projects, so staying up all night to complete a task isn’t an entirely new concept for us. Other company members will likely be doing coffee and energy drinks, but not me - I’m a religious tea drinker… Bad news for my sleepy-time tea habit.
LDC: Anything other thoughts?
TC: We have a website coming soon, but here’s a link to our Facebook page to stay connected in the meantime! We have weekly open improv jam sessions starting in September, so be sure to check out our page if you’d like to experience Paradise Lost and join us during the year! Also look out for our newest work “October” to premiere at the end of the Fall season.
Lastly, we couldn’t be more excited to join the Boston dance community for this event, nor more thankful for the opportunity to challenge ourselves and share our movement with an amazing audience of artists. Thanks so much, Luminarium. You guys rock.
Now, let’s get lost!