Interview with NACHMO Alum Jerica Niehoff

What made you decide to participate in NACHMO for the first time?

My friend Jennifer Roit was the one who initially told me about NACHMO and got me interested in participating in the studio showing after I had expressed interest in working on choreography.

What inspired your latest NACHMO work?

My latest NACHMO piece was inspired by observing how humans in general don’t think that much about their consequences in their life. Specifically in how we damage our planet by day to day activities.

What was an initial struggle and how did you overcome it?

A struggle I had when creating the piece was making sure it was clear that each person in my piece was a different character telling their story, and we weren’t dancing to just dance. I overcame that by having very talented friends to work with who were able to take my choreography and understand the story I had in my mind and put everything together. 

How did you feel about the relatively short work time? (NACHMO is generally dedicated to a one-month creative process in January.)

I personally like having a time limit to create work. It is helpful in making me be a very organized choreographer and storyteller.

Did you receive any feedback from the studio and/or the theater show?

I did receive feedback after I did the studio showing this year. I got some costume tips and I also was given a lot of positive feedback on my choreography and dancers!

What made you decide to continue to develop your NACHMO piece?

When I registered for NACHMO I knew I had the time limit and I also knew I wanted to make the piece a little bit longer, so I was looking for ways to I could do that. I then applied for Westfest and was able to extend the piece by 2 minutes. I also wanted to have a chance to have the piece on stage at least one more time. 

Who are the dance creators you enjoy watching?

You can never go wrong when watching anything done by the Batsheva company as well as Alvin Ailey. I also always enjoy watching work that is created by Yoshito Sakuraba (Abarukas), Jennifer Archibald, and Shawn T. Bible.

Any advice for budding choreographers?

Keep putting yourself out there. Going out and seeing dance is also a great way to become inspired. Try not to be too harsh of a judge on your own choreography.