Today we’d like to introduce you to MaijaLisa Miltz.
MaijaLisa, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I’ve been dancing since I was very young. Growing up in Massachusetts, I started at a local studio doing competitions and commercial-style classes. I’ve always taken dance very seriously, but it became more of an artistic outlet during high school where I attended a performing arts school starting in my sophomore year. I learned more about concert dance and trained in modern techniques, and I started to find my voice within composition and choreography. After I graduated in 2014, I attended CalArts for a year. I couldn’t finish the program due to finances, but it definitely enforced my path towards artistically fulfilling dance work, rather than just commercial work. I permanently came to Los Angeles in 2016, and have been introduced to a lot of amazing art and artists through dance. I currently dance for SiZa Dance Company and Psychopomp Dance Theater, I teach for Conga Kids LA and Sky High Dance, and lately I’ve been collaborating with various photographers as a model. It’s beautiful to see the way my art has connected me to different people in the community and pulled me in directions I never expected.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
Most of the creating I do is with Psychopomp Dance Theater. I feel really lucky to have found a collaborative company whose artistic outlook aligns so closely with mine. Our core group of performers is myself and three others, but we often add in more people depending on what feels necessary for the work. Our process usually begins with Shenandoah Harris, the artistic director, giving us various prompts for movement. It could be quotes, images, paintings, etc. They are usually abstract and based in spirituality, and sometimes (but not always) religion. From there, we will create movement based off of the prompt that feels genuine, and authentic to our bodies. Sometimes we’ll work individually, other times we will work in groups. Whenever I go into a creative mode like this, I strive to just do what comes naturally to my body. I spend a lot of time mulling over the information behind the prompts, and then trust myself to intrinsically make movement that is relevant. I like to let the momentum of my body go free so that the movement flows together creating unexpected pathways. I always try to challenge myself to create moves that push the limit of what my body can do, so that I can always be evolving within the work. To me, that’s also a core part of what Psychopomp is about. I would describe our work as athletic and high-risk, but it also has a beautiful emphasis on connectivity between humans that makes it relatable to any viewer. We strive to transform the space during our pieces so that the viewer feels like they’ve been sucked into a new world. This is a really important aspect to me. Sometimes when I watch concert dance, I find myself feeling a bit detached due to the post-modern neutral demeanor. I think it’s really important to make work that grabs the audience so that they’re experiencing something with you instead of just watching you, as this allows them to draw their own conclusions and take more away from the work. With every new piece, Psychopomp makes I feel that we are getting closer and closer to achieving that.
The stereotype of a starving artist scares away many potentially talented artists from pursuing art – any advice or thoughts about how to deal with the financial concerns an aspiring artist might be concerned about?
Right off the bat, you’re not alone in the financial struggle. I struggle with this. Almost all artists I know struggle with this. In all honesty, you may have to work a job that is unrelated to your artistic goals in order to make ends meet, and that is OKAY. Don’t feel guilty about it. You should feel proud that you’re pursuing art in any capacity, and bringing things into this world that are from your own creative mind! If you are feeling bogged down, just give yourself a daily practice that is related to your art. Make a sketch before bed every night. Write a three-sentence story at lunch every day. Stretch your body and find movement first thing in the morning, each and every day. Whatever it is, just give yourself a small artistic task that will help encourage you to continue reaching for your bigger creative goals.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
I perform intermittently throughout the year. SiZa will be starting a new creation process soon, with details to come on Instagram. Psychopomp is also in the midst of creation for an immersive, self-curated piece that will open up sometime in the spring, exact date TBD. You can follow @sizadance and @psychopompdance on Instagram for updates on performances. We are always taking donations and collaboration opportunities as well. I am on Instagram as @MaijaLisaMiltz where I post about company-related performances, as well as photo & video collaborations and any freelance projects I’m working on!
- Website: psychopompdance.org
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @MaijaLisaMiltz
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MaijaLisaVernette