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Friday, October 18, 2013

BAM Blog Questionnaire: Raja Kelly, dancer with David Dorfman & Reggie Wilson

by Lauren Morrow

Kendra Portier, Raja Kelly, and Karl Rogers in Come, and Back Again. Photo: Ian Douglas

For this week's BBQ, we talk with Raja Kelly, who dances with David Dorfman Dance (Come, and Back Again) & Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group (Moses(es)), both featured in the 2013 Next Wave Festival. In addition to this busy performance schedule, the Connecticut College graduate formed feath3r theory to perform his own work.

Which artist do you steal from most often?
My two favorite artists in the world are Andy Warhol and Anne Sexton; while I would never steal from either of them, I find myself referring to or quoting them quite often.

Any advice you've gotten and ignored?
I never ignore advice.

What's the biggest risk you've taken?
Deciding to dance was the biggest risk I ever took, (cliché maybe, but it's true). I studied acting as a child and young adult and thought I'd be an actor as a professional. When I applied to college I applied to three dance schools and three theater schools, and chose dance—giving myself no other choice.

What food are you looking forward to eating while in Brooklyn?
 I really love BK Thai. When I am in town I try to eat as much Thai food as possible, the best vegan and gluten free food ever!

What ritual or superstition do you have on performance days?
 I have to listen to one Top 40 song (Currently HAIM's "Don't Save Me"), an entire Fiona Apple album, and Chopin's Ballade No. 1 in G Minor before each performance.

What is your favorite thing about performing at BAM?
 It's my first time; I don't have a favorite thing yet. Maybe it's that I can walk here from home.

What is it like to be performing in two shows in the Next Wave Festival?
 It's like having two birthdays in one year!

You’ve known David for so long, and in various capacities (instructor, artistic director, etc.). What has that path been like? 
The path has been quite natural, really. David is a great teacher and treats his students like professionals, which made transitioning into the company easier. For the most part I knew what was expected. And when things get tough, as they sometimes do, David—great father that he is—knows just how to listen and how to guide. I can count on David to be there when I need him, as a director and as a friend.

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