[RS Gallery] Ann Liv Young has been labeled one of the most subversive choreographers of her generation, as her latest show, Snow White's title alone could suggest. A graduate of Hollins University, Ann Liv freely mixes signals from fairytales, and pop culture to explore systems of control and dominance that starts at first with the choreographer/performer relationship spirals.
MR: What is your personal mantra?
ALY : I do not have a personal mantra per say. However, I feel I probably should. I know that the most important thing to me is my family and my dogs. Just spending time with them invigorates me and enables me to keep going.
What does the role of artist mean to you?
I do not necessarily think of myself as an artist. I like to do what I do. I know I am in control of my life, my career and what I make. I take that very seriously. I know I am constantly challenging myself and the people with whom I work.
I don't understand the term "artist" completely. I make what I make because of my history and the things I've been through. If that is an "artist" then so be it.
I feel I live a very simple life. I make things as much as I can. I spend time alone and with my family. It's funny that I am considered an artist. I understand why, but I feel that everyone is an artist in a way, and it's odd to me that people are labeled so many different things. I just like to do what I do.
What is the driving force behind your creativity?
Many things: my family, my animals, movies that I love, sadness, traveling, my history. The same things that drive me drive most people. I'm also very visual and I like tangible things like textures and fabrics. These also inspire me.
What transformative experiences have influenced your life and how has that manifested in your work?
These are funny questions! I'm not going to tell you all the transformative things that have happened. Most of them I probably cannot remember; the others could damage others lives if I told them. Painful things that have happened obviously have a great effect and make me a stronger and a better person. Obviously it all filters into my work. Everything I've experienced becomes part of my work. There's no way it couldn't.
How long does it take you, on average, to complete a piece of work and do you ever do several pieces simultaneously?
It depends on the show. I've worked on things for years, watching them change constantly. It's taken me one night to make a show. It's taken me three months to make a show. It's taken me six months to make a show.
I do work on things simultaneously too. For instance, I'm still touring Snow White and I'm also working on a new show at the moment.
Why should people check out your work?
I'm not interested in plugging my work. If they are interested, then great: check it out. If not, too bad. I care about the work; I know it's effective and has the capability to change people.
How does your work affect consciousness and what are your views on the evolution of consciousness?
I don't know how it affects consciousness. I know how the work affects me and I can tell you how it's affected people I've worked with and some audience members. But consciousness? I don't feel able to answer that. The work challenges people. It makes people angry. It makes them happy. It makes them hate me. It makes them hate themselves.
I feel I am very conscious. Therefore I imagine the work forces the viewer to be conscious. That's one of the things you either love or hate about the work. It forces you to be awake. Whether that means paying attention to me or to yourself or the person sitting next you or to your mom… well it's forced you to pay attention to something.