Get 2 Know Alfred!
One of my favorite songs is by Tori Amos, a live mashup of her song “God” and Kate Bush’s “Running up that Hill.” One of the reasons I love that song is because while Bush is often cited as an artist who influenced Amos, the mashup seamlessly makes two disparate songs work together. The concept of the mashup also relates to my life, which is a bit of a mashup as well.
I grew up in Detroit, but have lived in New York, Salt Lake City, Tempe, AZ, Chicago, Austin, New York (again), Denver and now Iowa City. Moving to Iowa City has also allowed me to mashup my professional backgrounds: Teaching at Nolte feeds my artistic passions by allowing me to train young artists in the art of ballet. My day job is working at the University of Iowa as a researcher and Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Department of Communication Studies, where I teach and research about race, gender and sexuality as related to media production and audiences, feeds me - literally. But lest these two areas seem entirely at odds with one another, one research project, which will soon be published in the International Journal of Cultural Studies studies the ways black audiences engage with the ballerina Misty Copeland.
At the same time, the mashup also describes the work I choreograph for Nolte: while my “home base” is in ballet, my choreography relies on modern and jazz dance forms as well. My ballet for Dance Works this year, tentatively titled “Baroque and Blues,” will demonstrate the ways the mashup guides my choreographic output.