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Malashock Dance – Celebrate Dance 2012 Interview

February 15, 2012

Malashock Dance

Nicholas Strasburg, David Wornovitzky and Justin Viernes in Desperate Love. Photo by Manny Rotenberg

Tell us briefly about your dance company and its underlying philosophy?

Following his extensive performing career with Twyla Tharp in New York, John Malashock founded the Malashock Dance in San Diego. Malashock Dance has performed on both national and international stages, while continually performing at local venues, arts festivals, and touring engagements.

Currently in its 24th season, Malashock Dance is an active contributor to the vibrancy of San Diego’s cultural life and has become one of California’s premier dance companies. The Company’s impressive track record includes the creation of numerous original stage productions, Emmy Award winning dance films, and highly successful collaborations with other cultural organizations.

Malashock Dance always has human experience and characters at the heart of it’s work. The work is challenging, yet thoroughly engaging. It is technical and musical, but all in the service of sharing experiences which bind us together as people.


What piece will you be performing at Celebrate Dance 2012?

JOHN:  I will be showing a duet entitled Silver & Gold (2008) which, in a painfully humorous way, portrays two distinctly different sides of the same relationship. The music is gorgeous, and the ‘story’ is one that everyone relates to, in one way or another.

MICHAEL:  I will showcase an excerpt from my new work, Desperate Love, which premiered at Malashock/RAW2 in October 2011.  Desperate Love is a stark and unapologetic look at the darker side of desire and passion.


What do you hope to evoke in the audience with your piece?

JOHN:  I love intense drama that takes you down a dark path with a kind of humor that is born of hard-won life experience. In Silver & Gold, I think audiences find something of themselves in each of characters, rather than just relating to one or the other – and that is what makes it effective.

MICHAEL:  As with most of my work, I combine dynamic movement and evocative visuals to elicit a visceral response.

This excerpt of Desperate Love exhibits a brazen athleticism that is unabashedly bold and undeniably risky.  The characters are flawed, but sympathetic.  They are trying “desperately” to find some human connection.  After all, the need for love is universal, and occasionally, we will do whatever we can to find it.

How did you hear about Celebrate Dance and become involved with the show?

JOHN:  I have known about Celebrate Dance for years but, as a result of Michael’s contact with Jamie, we were both invited to participate. I’m a big fan!

MICHAEL:  I met Jamie Nichols when I was performing with Loretta Livingston & Dancers.  In 2004, I moved to San Diego and joined Malashock Dance.

Approximately two years ago, Jamie saw a piece I choreographed, Tethered, on youtube.  After viewing the work, she invited MD to participate in Celebrate Dance.


Any words of advice or inspiration for other dancers and choreographers?

MICHAEL:  Find someone whose choreography inspires you and do whatever it takes to work with them.

JOHN:  Exactly! I couldn’t state this any more clearly than Michael has. As for choreographers, just be clear with yourself whether you are trying to be an artist or trying to be popular. It is the very fortunate few who manage to be both.

For more information and tickets, visit Celebrate Dance 2012.


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