Ever heard of Nicole Wolcott? She’s an established choreographer, teacher and performance artist living in Bushwick who you should know.
Nicole has been performing with dance companies, rock bands and video artists around the country for sixteen years in venues as varied as the Metropolitan Opera House, The Kennedy Center and CBGBs. She has also appeared as a featured dancer in the major motion picture Across the Universe and videos for the international rock art phenomenon, Fischerspooner. In 2003 Nicole co-founded KEIGWIN + COMPANY with Larry Keigwin and remains its Associate Director.
Wolcott’s choreography has been performed in New York City at Symphony Space, the Frying Pan, Galapagos Art Space, New York Live Arts (formerly Dance Theater Workshop), Joyce SoHo, Joe’s Pub, CBGBs, Monkeytown, PS122, the Duo Theater and around the country at Summerdance Santa Barbara, Bates Dance Festival, Provincetown Dance Festival, Florida Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival.
In 2010 she was the Artist in Residence at Dance New Amsterdam, and more recently Dancenow/NYC commissioned an evening of work, which premiered in April 2011 at Joe’s Pub. Presently she is an adjunct professor at Hunter College and continues to teach in private studios in New York City as well as travel the country as a guest artist.
I interviewed Nicole about her Bushwick experience. Here is what she had to say.
1) What was your first job in New York?
I didn’t just have one job, I had many. I was primarily collaborating with Larry Keigwin. To support that endeavor, I danced with Chezzam Entertainment at private parties, traveling a bit. I was also a personal trainer at Equinox.
2) When did you move to Bushwick?
3) What was your first impression of Bushwick when you moved here?
My husband and I actually quarreled about even looking at apartments here. He had lived here in the early 2000s and it did not leave a good impression. When we made the move in 2007, the neighborhood was much better. Besides our great apartment, we were so happy for the one coffee shop (Wyckoff Starr) and one restaurant (Northeast Kingdom). You just need one coffee shop to build community. The vibe in Bushwick has always been welcoming. Even though there was clearly a community here already, the warehouses allowed for a pioneer kind of feel. A solidarity of wanting to build something special here. Our previous neighborhood was like a bedroom community. People want to BE in Bushwick.
4) What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in Bushwick?
I support all Bushwick restaurants and hope for their success. We had a steak dinner at Northeast Kingdom once that made us weep with joy. I’m a girl from Montana – home of the steak dinner – and it was the best I’ve had.
5) Do you think there’s a dance scene in Bushwick? If so, where? If not, why?
The dance scene is growing. Anna Sperber has had her studio Brazil here for years, which draws a lot of quality dancers here to rehearse. Chez Bushwick, of course, with the founding members all being vanguards of the contemporary and international modern dance: Jonah Bokaer, Loren Dempster, Miguel Gutierrez, and Jeremy Wade.
The Bushwick Starr has had shows reviewed by The New York Times, which is really saying something when people of that ilk who feel they need a passport to go anywhere outside Manhattan, the exception being BAM, show up. Bushwick Open Studios has always supported dance in galleries, apartments and on rooftops.
All we need is one more hot performance space out here and I think we would hit the tipping point. My “Class and Cocktails” at the Cobra Club on Monday nights is advanced and has a good turn out every week, including people who don’t live in this neighborhood. So, things are happening.
6) If you could choreograph a site specific piece in Bushwick, where would it be and why?
It would be at 1896 Studios and Stages. It’s an incredible film stage in a brick warehouse that has a steampunk feel to it. It’s large and beautiful with dynamic options that could allow for the audience to be inside the piece.
7) What was the name of the first dance you choreographed?
Ever? That’s going too far back. In NYC, it was “Straight Duet” with Larry Keigwin.
8) Who is your dance idol?
As soon as I think of one person, I think of another. I have a list of kick-ass dancers that inspire me. Someone who is constantly pushing himself as an artist and questioning conventional thoughts about dance is Miguel Gutierrez. He makes me think of the whole artistic vision, not just the dancer piece. I am deeply inspired by him as an artist who sees his life as art.
9) Favorite dance memory?
The night we premiered “Straight Duet,” I danced with Larry Keigwin in a site specific piece outside of a villa in Montecito, CA. I walked in a wedding dress and proceeded to submerge in a heated pool that was surrounded by terracotta pots with fires burning inside. That felt amazing. The evening was magical.
10) What do you enjoy most about live performances (of any kind)?
The kinetic energy, and, when it’s good, the feedback loop of audience and performer.
11) Graffiti or gallery?
12) If you could be reincarnated as an animal, which animal would it be and why?
A bird because I would love to fly. I saw a pigeon dive off a roof the other day and was jealous.
13) Most played song on your iPhone/iPod?
“Feral” by Radiohead.
14) When’s bedtime?
I have a 15-month old. So, 10:30pm is late.
15) Rainbow or chocolate sprinkles?
I don’t like sprinkles. Caramel or nothing.
To find out more about Nicole’s dance classes in Bushwick, visit: http://www.nicolewolcott.com/dance-classes-in-bushwick/