An interview with Samantha Mo

Posted on January 18, 2009

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dancers 

I first saw Samantha Mo dance on a video piece several years ago. She is an graceful, passionate, and gifted dancer. I was inspired to hear her creative process.

If you had to describe your artistry in one word, what would it be?
I’ve dubbed it as being a “visual poet” on my facebook 🙂

How did you develop a love for your art?
I discovered my natural enjoyment of dance with American Dance Stand and Dick Clark on TV.  growing up poor is a great catalyst for a young child’s imagination and I would dance in the living room Saturday afternoons with the curtain drawns to my own beat and private space.

Later, God continually gave me opportunities through school and church that allowed me to explore choreography, practice the art and receive plenty of affirmation from my peers and teachers. 

I don’t know if my love for the art grew so much over time as my technique did.  i think dance is one of the few things that i can say, “it was love at first sight.” 🙂  you know you’ve stepped into a passion/gift when it just feels right, you’re in “the zone,” and you feel alive and thriving in the midst of it. 

And often times, the love is less about others’ approval and praise and more about what one feels and experiences as a result of experiencing the art form.~

What inspires you?
For me, it can be anything beautiful:  architecture, interior design, photography, cooking, floral arrangements.  and then there is the simple:  a sunset, the particular veneer one day’s cloud formations God paints on our sky, two old couples holding hands.  I guess it is either God reflected in human re-creations or God’s love reflected in simple, honest, authentic moments of Life.

And then, there are the songs, that strike an emotional chord, a Truth or theme about life, and then as a response, i desire to sing, to dance, to tell a story though choreography or words.  there’s a jump in my heart to be active and not just receive the beauty or Truth, but to join the play and be a part of the story by passing it on so that others can experience it, too.  in other words, i’m inspired when i’m moved to then move others. And obviously, seeing amazing dancers and choreography make me want to fly!

Describe your ‘creative process’.
We can not give what we do not have.  and what draws the line between nice and good songs, films, sermons, etc.  and those that are striking, dynamic, resonating, profound is this:  what has God already done in our hearts beforehand? 

So my creative process really begins with what God has already done or is doing in me.  and an opportunity is only perfect in timing and harmony when it gives voice and visual to what God has already stirred in my heart and has worked in my life.  THEN, ideas flow from a crystallized vision. 

Then from there, on a practical level, i listen to the lyrics of the song. i imagine the story between the lines.  and i pay attention to my feelings and “plumbline.”  and i consider what movement, what visual poetry, can i create to relay that message and pass on those emotions? 

 Most of the time, there is an immediate and singular vision for the foundation of the piece.  and then, it is a matter of refining the details.

What is a common mistake you notice during the create process?
Not risking enough to do something creatively different!  dancing w/in unsaid, unspoken, UNGIVEN, lines/rules/boxes.

How do you think your art form has evolved during this generation?
It is stronger in technique than ever before.  rules are being broken and the art form is really coming from the music and becoming more raw in expression.  there is more authenticity valued bc dance is now less about lines and more about conveying an emotion behind the piece.  and audiences want to FEEL that from a dance performance to consider amazing.  technique alone just doesn’t cut it anymore.

What’s the next season of creating look like for you?
It’s challenging to stay in shape physically as i grow older.  and it’s always been a challenge to live where i live and find other dancers who are as strong in their dance skills as they are in their desire to use it to glorify God.  personally, that’s why i’m doing this…trusting in what God brings my way and alert to saying “yes” to the opportunities that align w/ my gifts.  ultimately, i commit to being as fit as i can holistically this year in 2009 and am eager to see what God’s vision is for me…

Any other comments you’d like to share?
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to reflect, articulate, share and contribute tony!! 

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Posted in: Creative Leaders