Inquirer Q&A with ... Malleable Dance Theater’s Kevin Dodd, director of ‘7 Veils,’ and Erin Malley, choreographer/dancer

Posted: September 04, 2008

Inquirer: What was the biggest difficulty you had to resolve to get your festival piece from idea to performance?

Dodd/Malley: Having started with Charles Mee’s source material, we struggled for some time with the decision of how we wanted to approach the work. Instead of producing Mee’s Salome, we sought the themes in the source that relate most to our own lives, then experimented with text, images and movement until we could determine what we were trying to say and bring that to the forefront.

Q: Do you expect your work to have “legs” — is there life after LA/Fringe, or is most of what is created for the festival destined to be seen only on the Fringe circuit?

A: Always. This piece is our baby and it’s just now become a toddler. We would love for it to grow up and have a life beyond the festival.

Q: What’s the primary source of your concepts — music, literature, geopolitics, personal experience, global tragedies?

A: This piece comes from very personal territory. The theme of identity has been at the forefront of our minds as we have personally come to define ourselves in life-after-college. It is also generational; many of the questions we face are present in the lives of many other early-career 20-somethings living in a time of increasing insecurity and accelerating technology.

Q: How much does funding influence your choice of subject? Do you find that fear of losing it dampens the political choices you make in your work?

A: Not at all. Since most of our funding comes from private donors, we are not accountable to any authority or standard except that of excellence.

Q: Is having an edge of political, social or community-based change important to your work, or is your sole goal the artistic outcome?

Kevin Dodd: I believe that all art has a political dimension by virtue of its expression, regardless of whether there is any sort of political intent. Everything I create is done with the intention of moving or changing its audience in some way. Having said that, I don’t believe this piece has a particularly political aim other than as an affirmation of the power of women and female identity, which is often overlooked in our still patriarchal society.

Erin Malley: My own artistic agenda is to give voice to my life experiences in a way that brings humanity and social inequity to the forefront.

Q: How comfortable are you in expressing your work verbally — to audiences, media, friends?

A: Yes, mostly comfortable. Explaining work is a process that improves with time and editing — much like creating a performance work. But in no way can the work be expressed as eloquently as the performance of the work itself.

Q: If you have performed in other Fringes festivals, tell us how Philly’s compares.

Erin: I have performed at fFIDA (fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists) in Toronto; however, the organizational structure appeared differently, as I was showing a 10-minute work. 7 Veils lasts about 40 minutes, and is largely self-produced.

So far I am impressed with the overall vision for the festival as well as the organizational and presentational elements.

Show Details:

Malleable Dance Theater

7 Veils

9 p.m. Sept. 3 & 4

Painted Bride Art Center

230 Vine St.

Web Links:

Festival show page:

Artist website:

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