Tell us a bit about yourself and your background/personal story.
My name is Natasha, but most folks call me Tashi. I’ve lived in the Bay Area for more than a decade but spent time in New York and Kansas before settling here. I am a first-generation American and proud of my Taiwanese heritage. The artworld is my community and home; it nourishes me and I thrive on the energy this community gives me.
What has your previous dance training looked like?
Growing up, my dance training was primarily in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Modern dance. Later in life, I started training in martial arts and hip hop, and these styles also influence how I create.
What was the inspiration behind the founding of your company, Concept o4?
I’ve always been interested in how experience and accessibility shape the course of our lives, especially as children. When I founded Concept o4, it was to share dance more widely. Music, film, dance, and art are foundational to our cultural fabric, yet, sometimes, these forms come at a steep admission price. I’d like to see that change and that is why I often choose mediums like film and immersive performance as a vehicle to open the door to anyone who wants to walk in.
Of the works you’ve created throughout your career, which do you consider the most notable or significant?
A turning point in my creating came when I made the dance film Take Your Time. Until this moment, I had made other works both in live performance and film. Still, TYT was a work that, from concept to finish, felt almost effortless to produce. Technically and emotionally, this piece signified for me that being a creator fulfills me the most.
What has your experience been like as Artistic Fellow with Amy Seiwert’s Imagery?
Amy and Annika are gems and their generosity toward me has been profound. It is a relationship circle I’ve craved and it’s inspiring to have this experience happen now in my career development. Something I am soaking in is watching these two women work together so effectively. It’s much like dance movement itself, which is often passed from one person to the next. In this way, their giving of knowledge to me feels familiar. They are the definition of grace and strength; I am in good company.
What projects have you been working on as an Artistic Fellow?
I’ve been preparing to create a new work for Imagery’s July show, Sketch. In the meantime, I am directing a short film in San Francisco and heading to Mexico City in May to make a dance film with Ceprodac. In August, I will be embarking on a film project that has been a few years in the works. I have ambitions to teach a workshop this fall on Screendance, but am also trying to make sure I have time to do movement research for myself and to have downtime!
What have you learned so far as Artistic Fellow, and what are you most looking forward to during the rest of your time in the position?
The fellowship has provided this foundational structure for my ideas. It has taught me how vital the infrastructure—the ground floor—really is for the success of an organization and of those involved. I am looking forward to creating for Sketch and getting in a room with Amy, Annika, and the dance artists to try and put some of my new knowledge into action. It’s daunting and thrilling, so I really can’t wait to start moving again.
What is a skill that you’ve learned in working with Amy Seiwert?
Amy is an extraordinary creator and person. Since the fellowship began, I’ve admired how she balances her work adventures with personal life and makes space to manage all these things. Of course, being an artist of her caliber, who is so in-demand, is not a linear path, but Amy shows me an approach to this type of career.
What does your vision of dance look like and what are you doing to explore and create within that vision?
My vision of dance is one where the artwork we are making is more financially supported and where more diverse voices are elevated to the foreground. I’d like to create more supportive and nurturing places for feedback and community. Our industry has work to do to dismantle the structures that allow the continuation of exploitative behavior.
What does the future look like for you?
At this point in my career, I often contemplate how to define success as I move forward. Is it defined by accomplishments and recognition or can it be self-won through daily acts? This year, my interests have carried me into new rooms with new people. There is so much beauty in the unknown and taking stock of the micro shifts and changes, instead of just equating a good day with a huge accomplishment. My dream for the future is to be a part of the fabric of the global dance community and to continue to give and learn.