Often, when people go to work, they sometimes feel it's as tedious as going to the DMV. However, when I, James Koroni, woke up the morning of the Robert Delong music video shoot felt as though I had planned a day on the beach with all my friends. That day I had the pleasure of working for Celia Rowlson-Hall who has done a great deal of notable creative works as a choreographer, dancer, actress, and filmmaker. She is on her way to having significant cultural influence.
I was impressed that Rowlson-Hall was very quick on her feet (pun intended), gave clear and friendly direction, and presented herself professionally. After the music video was finished I interviewed her for Enforced Arch.
James Koroni: My eyes have been glued to your work. The characters in your films are so distinct. What would you say is an underlying theme in all your work?
Celia Rowlson-Hall: Thank you James! The main theme and driving force of my work is simply my curiosity. I tend to go where I am curious to discover more about a particular feeling, image, or circumstance I can't shake.
Koroni: Now specifically talking about your new short film, 'The Audition', I am impressed with this character's/actor's composure throughout the audition. Regardless of what is being asked, such as altering one's aesthetic appearance, masturbation, etc. she seems committed to her craft. To what lengths do you think is appropriate for an artist to be pushed to in these circumstances?
Rowlson-Hall: Well I think the artist can go as far as she/he wants, if it is on their own terms... I say the further the better. But in the case of "The Audition", the actor is letting herself be completely manipulated, which is what makes it uncomfortable.
Koroni: On the other hand your performance displays that actors are capable of these elements and all at a moments notice. Are you making a commentary OR are you taking a stand against it?
Rowlson-Hall: This piece actually never intended to be a commentary on the audition process. I simply thought it would be fun/tragic to create the ultimate audition over a menial role for a really bad TV show or movie, so that is what I did! But I did use moments in the film that have happened to me in auditions such as "dancing in a club", "drink spilled on you", changing my appearance for certain roles... which is pretty ridiculous.
Koroni: As a filmmaker, how has being a professional choreographer and dancer influenced your work?
Rowlson-Hall: My film work is entirely influenced by my dance background. Movement is my way of communicating, so I have brought that not only to the subject matter that I shoot, but also give close attention to how the camera moves, and then bring an awareness to timing and rhythm in the edit. The whole process of filmmaking is so similar to choreographing a dance.
Koroni: How have your completed works influenced or fine tuned your vision for future works?
Rowlson-Hall: Oh yes! Every time I make something, I make a tremendous amount of mistakes. I love it though because they are so valuable and greatly inform how I approach and shoot the next project. I try not to get hung up on what went well because what is the fun of doing the same thing over and over just because it "worked"?
Koroni: Aside from your obvious mediums of expression; dance, choreography, directing, acting and styling, what also is a powerful tool for you when you are in your creative space?
Rowlson-Hall: When working on projects, a powerful and necessary tool for me is to have collaborators that I trust and who share and honor my creative space. I have been very blessed to have so many wonderful friends and collaborators who have helped bring every project of mine to life.
Koroni: What have you come to rely on to keep your active and sometimes unpredictable lifestyle manageable for you?
Koroni: I admire you for being vegetarian and it makes me curious, what's so damn interesting about vegetables anyway?
Rowlson-Hall: They provide one with all the nutrients one needs without wreaking havoc on the earth's resources!
Koroni: What artists currently are influencing your work?
Rowlson-Hall: I can't get the Rineke Dijkstra exhibit at Guggenheim from this summer out of my head. Perfect. Pina Bausch will forever be an inspiration. And the genius that is Mark Rylance, best actor I have ever seen.
Koroni: What book are you reading?
Rowlson-Hall: Half the Sky.
Koroni: What's the best movie you have seen in the past year?
Koroni: What was the last song that made you loose your shit on the dance floor?
Rowlson-Hall: "motion sickness" by hot chip. But the dance floor was my living room...
For more on Celia Rowlson-Hall visit, http://www.celiarowlsonhall.com/.