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Cecly Placenti, Artistic Director

  • Writer's pictureMiranda Stuck

Spotlight Session: Anna Lopez

Dancer leaning over in attitude balance
Rebecca Hurson

What are the Spotlight Sessions?

I was the child who asked “why” 150 times in a row, to the dismay and occasional annoyance of the adults around me. That curiosity and need for discovery grew with me and became a guide on my artistic path. Determination, inquisitiveness, and the drive to connect with others led me to write, dance, choreograph, produce, and educate.

I started my company, Six Degrees Dance, with the mission of creating community. Embodying the theory that all people are connected through a social network of 6 or fewer degrees, we collaborate in an environment where the exchange of ideas is the building block for innovation and growth. We approach dance making with the belief that the contribution of the individual benefits the group, and results in a body of work reflective of the sum of its parts.

To that end, we have developed several initiatives that connect artists with audiences and with each other, maintaining the idea of six degrees of separation as the foundation for those connections. Our annual showcase brings together national and international choreographers, most of whom have never met. Our Choreographic Commission series allows the dancers of Six Degrees to work with a variety of choreographers in different styles. In The Spotlight Sessions, I will present a different artist each cycle, and through interviews, short feature articles, previews, and capsule reviews, offer a behind the scenes look into their work and process. I hope you enjoy getting to know these unique, talented individuals as much as I have, and continue to follow them on their creative paths.


Anna Lopez is a dance artist from New York City. She began her training at Dance Dance Dance Ltd. and continued it at Fiorello H. Laguardia High School for Performing Arts. During her high school years, she was also a part of MOVE |NYC| co-founded by Nigel Campbell and Chanel DaSilva. Anna is pursuing her BFA at George Mason University School of Dance, and has worked with artists such as Kyle Abraham, Robert Battle, Rena Butler, Shaun Boyle D’Arcy, Christopher d’Amboise, Jesse Obremski, Susan Shields, Micaela Taylor, and Victor Quijada. Most recently, Anna has performed for the First Lady at the 110th Congressional Club Luncheon in Washington, D.C. in honor of the state of New York. Anna is interested in exploring ideas of the human experience in efforts to build a world that is relatable and emotional.

1.How did your artistic journey begin?

I have been dancing since I was 4, so physically I have been involved in this art for a long time. However, I feel my artistic journey began sometime in high school when I began to really pursue choreography. It was here I realized dance had the power to do more than just entertain, and then I really had to ask myself- What do I want to say? 

2. What drives you as an individual artist? What do you hope to express/convey to the world through your work?

Everyday, sensitive experience drives me as an artist. Relationships, the fallouts of such, personal journeys, and everything in between drive me to create. In fact, if I am in the ruts of feeling “less” inspired, it probably means I need to take a step outside of my dancer life and choose to just be. It is after I have allowed for that space, where I can zoom into what makes us human, and share those stories- the good, the bad, and for sure the ugly. 

3. When do you feel most powerful?

Searching for power, especially where I am in my artistic journey, can become something that can easily get unhealthy for me. Personally, I can mix up searching for “power” with searching for a sense of control. I interpret this as when do I feel the most ignited, “ready to go”? It is when I am exploring, without judgment, and with full commitment. Whether that is choreographically or as a dancer, I feel the most on fire when I am fully committed and immersed in a world I have created for myself and others. When I can feel myself drift off into a new world, this is when I feel the most powerful. 

4. What has been your biggest challenge and your proudest moment during your artistic growth? 

“Silencing the noise” has yet to be the hardest challenge I have faced thus far in my artistic journey. There is so much going around, all the time. So many people telling you what they feel is correct for your life, and many opinions on choices you may make. The older I get the more I realize that despite the volume of the outer noise, staying in touch with what your own voice is saying is key, and though the outside “noise” may be loud, it is not always a bad thing. Hear the outside noise, analyze it for yourself, and decide what is most useful. Easier said than done of course!  My proudest moment has definitely been choreographing my latest work “rage/LIFT ME UP”. Everything from my dancers, to what we were creating made this process and this piece the most special thing I have done. I felt proud because as a collective we faced and worked through feelings that are more often than not quite daunting to face. We confronted them, worked through them, and created a safe space to do so the entire time.  This process, this piece, and the people involved have made me the proudest I have felt of something ever before. 

5. Can you describe your creative process?

My creative process begins with a lot of open communication. I want to make sure it is clear what world we are building, and I want to know the thoughts about that world from the people who are going to help manifest it. That paired with movement creation, begins a long journey of the creative process. I have also found that the narrative and the world we are developing is one of the most important things to me about creation. This means in the creative process we are doing emotional recall, physical theater, and journaling exercises to help create the most authentic form of the world possible. 

6. What do you do when you are not creating? What things outside of the dance industry inspire you and fuel your creativity? 

When I am not creating I make sure to take a step away! To fully unplug. It is so important for me as a human and artist. If I encounter things that genuinely motivate me to create I take a gentle note and continue to just be. When I am not creating or dancing I thoroughly enjoy listening to music (my Spotify listening minutes are concerning), writing and reading poetry and prose, and spending time with the people that I love most in life. These all fuel me even when I am not actively looking for that fuel. 

7. What is next for you?

In terms of what is next, I don’t exactly know just yet. I know that I will continue to create, in any capacity I can. I see myself continuing to foster community, this is one of the most important things to me. The future and the unknown paired with it is something I try not to let scare me too much. I know gratitude and my tribe will help carry me, and I will carry them right back. What comes next I will trust in, and be ready to immerse myself in fully. 

8. Is there a piece of advice you'd give to younger or emerging artists?

There are so many things I would tell younger/emerging artists. But this is what I feel, right now, is most important. People will remember how you make them feel, forever. Yes, all the recognition and praise feels good but what matters is the present moment you are existing in and the people who came along for the ride. Make sure the people involved in your processes feel seen, respected, and safe. The dance world is harsh enough, and when you foster a community that is blooming with love and drive, it will never feel like work. You have the power to create a room that fosters such, and the people you create with matter. Nothing you make would be anything without the people who said yes. Cherish them! Onward. 

Take a look at Anna's work

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