Five Questions for Aynsley Vandenbroucke
1. Where did you grow up and how did you end up where you are now?
I grew up in Chicago and L.A. My father worked in theater so I grew up going to performances and peeking in on rehearsals. Some of those performances were dance and I fell in love. I remember dancing in the aisles of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion during intermission at around age 5. Pretty shortly after that I decided I was going to move to New York when I was an adult. While my friends drew pictures of houses and picket fences, I drew modern high-rise apartments. I now divide my time between NYC, where most of my teaching and choreographing takes place, and the Catskill Mountains, where my husband and I run a center for contemporary performance and visual arts, Mount Tremper Arts.
2. Which performance, song, play, movie, painting or other work of art had the biggest influence on you and why?
This is the hardest question–there’s definitely not just one. Those dance performances when I was 5 were obviously very influential. Another big influence was actually a humanities class freshman year of high school. I had the most wonderful teacher who had us debating The Parable of the Cave and studying basically all of the history of Western Art. She opened up an entire realm of questioning for me—of delving into art and philosophy with all aspects of myself. I wrote my final paper on nothing less than whether God exists or not….
3. What skill, talent or attribute do you most wish you had and why?
I wish I had a bit more confidence and a little less fear. I’m drawn to these fields that are incredibly vulnerable. I love the depth and openness but a tougher shell could help me stay more grounded in the midst of these processes.
4. What do you do to make a living? Describe a normal day.
I teach Laban Movement Analysis at the Laban/ Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies and also at Lehman College in the Bronx. And I’m continually working towards getting choreography and Mount Tremper Arts to help me make a living! My days are often very different. A normal teaching day includes getting up (too early) traveling back and forth to the Bronx, planning for my next class, grading papers, doing administration work for my dance company and Mount Tremper Arts. A normal choreography day includes getting up (later!) and preparing to rehearse–watching videos, making notes, getting any supplies we need–rehearsing and then often going to a performance at night.
5. Have you ever had to make a choice between work and art? What did you choose, why, and what was the outcome?
So far I’ve not needed to make a choice. My work is very integrated with my art. Teaching and running an arts festival deeply, deeply feed my own creative process. What I do find is that since each aspect is so stimulating and creative it’s often hard for me to know which to prioritize.
Aynsley is currently working on an evening length performance to take place at Dance New Amsterdam in NYC this Dec 10-13. The third annual Mount Tremper Arts Summer Festival starts again this July.