Some would call Molly Heller’s work as a dancer and choreographer avant-garde. Molly breaks general norms of what performance means and how dance and movement can be experienced as a form of communication. Her choreographic structure, in part, is about building connections and intersections between the performers, collaborators, and audiences. Her pieces are not meant simply to be watched, but rather felt and experienced as the unfolding of scenarios. To achieve this, Molly incorporates a human element in her work rooted in the biographies of her performers and collaborators, as well as her own life experiences.
“Inspiration often begins with the people that I would like to work with. From there, inspiration goes into navigating things in my personal life that I’m questioning or grappling with and how they relate to [the dancers’] current experiences.”
Watching a rehearsal is like witnessing a creative think-tank with journals, notes, spontaneous energy, meditative pauses, youthful outbursts, stomping, shouting, whispers, and some really good music and body movements. After weeks, and sometimes months of work, Molly’s performances are momentary gifts to the world of art.
“I love the fleeting component of dance. I love feeling something and then having it go away. But, I also think that there’s something that stays inside of you that’s forever changed.”
In addition to her work as a choreographer, Molly has plans to use dance, movement, and performance as a form of therapy to help people in the general community who have experienced trauma in their lives.
“I believe that . . . unresolved trauma can be healed through performance. Being in front of people that you know and you do not know allows for a healing, a catharsis, like a true theatre experience of a release, where you’re letting go of things that you don’t need and you’re bringing back in things that serve you,” Molly explained. “In the most transformational performance experiences that I’ve had I’ve always left a little bit lighter, a little bit clearer, and a little more whole.”
Molly’s latest work, "very vary," delves into the remembered, imagined, and future lives of the six performers. These framed moments allow the performers and audience to enter into a scenario where story-telling emerges. The performance includes the music of Mike Wall, the art work of Gretchen Reynolds and Kate Thomas, and the lighting design of Vellachi Ganesan.
Molly’s choreographic work has been presented nationally in various venues in New York City, Vermont, Chicago, and Salt Lake City. She is currently a visiting assistant professor of dance at the University of Utah and adjunct faculty in the Department of Dance at Westminster College.
Special thanks to composer Michael Wall whose music can be heard in the film.
For more information on Molly Heller visit her website here.
Molly’s new full-length work, “very vary” opens May 11th at the Regent St. Black Box Eccles Theater. For more information and to purchase tickets go here.
Producer and Editor