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SIX DEGREES DANCE

Cecly Placenti, Artistic Director

  • Writer's pictureMiranda Stuck

Spotlight Session: Meagan King



dancer with back leg bent standing against a wood wall
Meagan King. Photo courtesy of the artist

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.


 

Meagan King graduated magna cum laude from the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program, receiving the Glorya Kaufman Scholarship. She has been featured in Dance Spirit magazine, the TODAY Show and at the Holland Dance Festival. Ms. King was a student at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. She was the 2019 and 2020 BLOCH Ailey Young Artist. She is also an alumna of the 2018 Contemporary Program at Jacob’s Pillow. Ms. King has choreographed for the Color Me Beautiful production in Virginia and LaGuardia High School’s 2021 Senior Graduation Dance Concert. This is her first season with the Martha Graham Dance Company. 


1. How did your artistic journey begin? 

There was a “Dance Elective” course in middle school that all students were required to take. Before beginning the course, I had no particular interest in dance. I was more interested in the gym course offered the following semester! However, after the first week or so of this intro class, the teacher called me aside and told me that I had a natural inclination for movement. She encouraged me to continue to pursue it and that she would be happy to guide me. I did not realize how drastically that day would shift the gears in my life for all of the years to come. 


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

I am most driven by my spirituality, dancing and creating art for my higher power. It keeps my work honest and true to myself in authenticity. It allows my work to come from a place of humility, to not just serve myself, but others. I hope to express to the world that art can be transformative for humanity–showing us a reflection of the reality of who we are as a society and all that we have the potential to be. 


3. When do you feel most powerful?

I feel most powerful when I am under the stage lights. I step into an alter ego on stage that feels like myself, but magnified. It is as if the warmth of the lights helps me expand to feel 10 ft tall. I become hyper aware of the present moment, and feel gratitude and power in being able to be vulnerable on a stage for people to see themselves in me. 


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

My biggest challenge was pursuing dance late and having to catch up with peers who had been dancing since the age of 3. When I first started at LaGuardia High School, I was inspired by the multitude of talent around me, and it gave me a push to work to my fullest potential. 

My proudest moment of my artistic journey was being invited to perform in honor of the beloved, late actor Cameron Boyce at The Cameron Boyce Foundation’s first annual gala. To celebrate the memory of a dear soul who contributed many laughs in my household throughout my childhood was special to me. To bring even a moment of healing through art to his loved ones has made it a day I carry in my heart always. 


5. Can you describe your creative process? 

My creative process always begins with journaling to set my intentions. Whether it be for choreographing, teaching, or just note-taking from rehearsals, writing is a big part of my process. It helps give my work structure, purpose, and clear direction. I check in with my writing from the beginning of the process through to the end, like a compass guiding my direction along the way. 


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 enjoy making strides towards writing the book I hope to have published. I have always felt called to both dancing and writing, so to fully pursue both brings me joy. Outside of dance, I enjoy being in nature and listening to music for inspiration. Both offer me the peace of a blank canvas to begin to paint my creative visions on. Being in serene environments clears space in my mind for my artistic intentions to flow through. 


7. What is next for you? 

I see myself creating in multiple avenues. I would like to become a published author, choreograph on concert dance companies, model for dance/sports/fashion brands, and do film work. 


8. Is there a piece of advice you'd give to emerging artists? Is there anything you'd like to share that you specifically advocate for in the performing arts field? 

I would encourage emerging artists to never limit themselves to one lane. We are often gifted in more ways than one, but have a tendency to refrain from using the gifts that are not at the forefront of our minds. Each one of our gifts, as minute as they may initially seem, has purpose and was placed within us for a reason.  In the performing arts field, I will continue to advocate for paying artists their worth. This is a field where it is very easy for artists, especially young artists, to get pulled into doing work for “exposure” and go unpaid. I believe that it is important to acknowledge, amongst our own artistic community as well, that to use someone’s unique gifts for your project means they deserve to be compensated. I find that many young dancers have trouble saying no to these offers for the sake of experience. But at any level of exposure/experience, your gifts are yours. And if anyone would like to utilize those gifts, fair compensation should be given.  


Take a look at Meagan's work



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