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Meet MMDF 2020 Performer Makayla Peterson

Whether she's continuing her work as a Dance Scholar or performing and creating original choreography for her company, Makayla Peterson is committed to generating meaningful connections for the dancers and audience. Her talent will be on full display in Making Moves Dance Festival 2020, as she plans to perform a piece entitled ‘Rebirth’. Rebirth will embody the personal journey of self-love and it’s tensions with society and individuals.

Makayla's own personal journey in dance began at 5 years old and she now holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at Temple University. She created four original works presented at Temple University and founded her own company entitled "Monet Movement Productions: The Collective". Check out Makayla Peterson and company on September 25th at Making Moves Dance Festival 2020.

RSVP to the watch Makayla in MMDF2020

1. What inspired you to commit to being an artist? How did you choose dance as your art-form? Our audience would love to hear about influential moments that led you to pursue dance as a career.

My dance journey began at age 5 at my local dance studio where I studied a plethora of styles- ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop. Then, I attended a performing arts middle and high school where I furthered my technique and became proficient in other styles such as contemporary, African, and various modern techniques. At about 10 years old, I was diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis which gradually progressed to painful scoliosis. The severity of my condition worsened, and I had to wear a back brace. Dancing in the studio and on stage became my safe and sacred place. It allowed me the opportunity to be completely free, forget about my pain (even temporarily), and provided a sense of relief. I could not imagine myself doing anything other than dancing and it was then that I decided to continue this journey by pursuing my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at Temple University. Here, I was pushed to past limits as a dancer, choreographer and dance scholar. I am more committed than ever to the art form as I eat, breathe, sleep, and drink dance.

2. What are some special elements of your work, regarding your upcoming performance that you'd like to share with us? Is there anything you'd like to say about what we might expect?

One element I want the audience to notice is the use of the shirt throughout the work. It represents the societal stereotypes, judgements, and perceptions that we are trying to break free of. We are all at war with the same thing but experience it in different ways. What does it mean to be reborn? How does that look different on each individual? This work exemplifies a journey of self- reflection, discovery, realization, and love to understand that you are not defined by society and external conditions. You are in control how you view yourself. This work is a re-staging and lengthened version of a work I did for Temple University. In lieu of the pandemic, I had to figure out how to still convey the message of the work in a virtual space and therefore made the journey more individual and personal with a connecting theme and elements throughout.

Photos by @backtorio

3. What offers you inspiration for your work? What are the things in your "universe" that give you motivation to make your work?

My inspiration for the work comes from the quote by Alex Elle, “Be you. Love you. All ways. Always.” What does that mean to you? How do you love yourself in all ways at all times? In my “universe” I am motivated by society and social media that continues to place emphasis on looks laced with perpetual judgement and criticism. How do we not let these negative perceptions and unrealistic ideals get to us? We remain authentic and true to who we are.

4. What are your goals and aspirations going forward as a dancer; an artist?

I hope to continue to grow my dance collective to become a platform that shares the gift of dance with all communities. As an artist trained in a plethora of styles, I seek to show all aspects within my choreography by honoring the fusion of tradition and innovation. I am very passionate about dance research in relation to my Trinidadian heritage and look forward to completing future research projects that bring both of my worlds—culture and dance—together.

RSVP to the watch Makayla in MMDF2020

Social Media: Company Instagram: mmp.thecollective Personal Instragram: kay.monet_ Personal Website: https://makaylapeterson98.wixsite.com/mm-p

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