Dance at Socrates: an interview with Young Choreographer Dani Mullen

Norte Maar, Socrates Sculpture Park, Dance at Socrates, summer dance

The Young Choreographers Program at Dance at Socrates supports aspiring choreographers by pairing teens (ages 13-18) with experienced choreographers. Last May, Norte Maar announced an open call to teen choreographers for a one-week residency alongside experienced choreographers, creating an opportunity for mentorship, experience and exposure. We have selected 17 yr old Dani Mullen to create a new work mentored by Julia K Gleich. Dani studies dance at the 92nd St Y Harkness Dance Center and will be a high school senior this year. Her new work will be performed on Aug 24.

>>Click here for the complete performance schedule and full company bios<<

Continuing our ongoing series of interviews with the choreographers, this week Norte Maar talked to Dani Mullen about this opportunity.

Norte Maar, Dance at Socrates, Socrates Sculpture Park, Dani Mullen

Young Choreographer Dani Mullen at work at Socrates with her dancer Reynaldo Martinez. Photo: Norte Maar

Dani Mullen: I have been dancing since I was three years old and it has always been a part of my life. I started choreographing last year and created my first piece while collaborating with a musician. I knew after the first rehearsal that I wanted to continue choreographing and playing with movement.

NM: What made you want to apply to the young choreographers program of Dance at Socrates?

Dani Mullen: I heard about the young choreographers program through my internship at the 92Y and applied with the hopes of expanding and growing as a new choreographer. I wanted, and still want, to experience as much as I can in the dance community.

NM: How do you feel about having your work seen in a program with professional choreographers?

Dani Mullen: Having my work seen alongside that of professional choreographers would be such an incredible opportunity for me. I am very excited to experience such a diverse and interesting group of dancers and I am very honored to have been chosen.

NM: Is there anything specific you are thinking about in preparation for your creative process, any initial thematic direction or ideas of where you’d like the movement to go?

Dani Mullen: I would like to explore the different textures and rhythms that a movement can turn into and I would love to see the transformation from improvisation to planned. I think it is quite interesting when improv and planned movement are both executed with the same interest and importance. Ultimately, my goal is to create pieces that bring emotions, interest and reaction from the audience.

NM: What thoughts do you have about your future?

Dani Mullen: I would definitely like to keep dance a part of my life and most certainly continue dancing and choreographing into college. I want to experience and learn as much as possible. Doing what you are passionate about is never wrong; it is only wrong to neglect that passion’s existence.

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