McKoy Dance Project || MDP is a project-based dance company based in the New York area. In order to mirror the experiences we live through today, MDP’s mission is to empower one another and marginalized communities by blending authentic stories, arts programming, and accessible events to strengthen community relationships and support systems. It is important to us that we foster connection and healing by diving head-first into works that are sensitive and conscious of the inequities and trauma built into our society. The company was founded on five pillars which we strategize around and track our progress:
- To create jobs: for the choreographers who seek opportunities to create; for the dancer who only want to show you their world; for me to tell my story
- To inspire and touch, to share with one another: for those who seek a deeper investigation into life. Dance touches that which we cannot fully conceptualize yet. It gifts a closer connection with the intangible and sometimes indescribable.
- To give purpose: to create interest and conversation with topics that surround us.
- To create leaders: charging each other to move into action.
- To heal: recover from traumas and pain (conscious and unconscious).
Word on Dance, the Process and its Impact by our Artistic Director:
I am interested in looking at the relationship between the audience and the dance. The detail to movement is always the first thought in my process. The raw physical emotions that the audience projects onto the stage, their interpretation is a reflection of their experiences, their believes and desires. It may not necessarily be the story that the dancers are trying to portray, but the audience is able to align themselves to it and feel something real. Everyone’s experience is unique to themselves and to keep the exchange in its purest form we have to attempt crafting and shaping movement from real live sensations.
When working with my peers and my dancers I often refer to this question: “how does it really feel?” How does it really feel to be touched, the feel of the skin or to be upset? What are your specific natural behaviors when you encounter a particular emotion or thought? I ask everyone, including myself, to self-reflect on this. A lot of my work now is about making it real for the dancer; we are not acting when we are on stage. We believe in the atmosphere we created and in doing so we connect to the audience in a different way. We are thus seen uncovered and that vulnerability makes a good majority of us artists anxious. From there, however, we can begin tackling our traumas, holding conversations about society and social justice, as well as create brief distractions from reality. Once we begin stripping away our boundaries and let the dance take us, we really can dive into the work. The question after this process is “does the audience feel what I feel?” There’s no real way to concise that answer and that is the beauty of art.
Those who make art are in a position of influence. For the dancer, during the duration of the performance, we are able to become a leader for others encouraging them to be just a little more open and receptive every day. That influence has the potential to snowball through the lives of everyone in the audience charging them to further initiate the necessary and important change for one another.
— Derick McKoy, Jr.