Photos by, Olivia Blaisdell

"Awkward herself danced a solo toward the end of the first act. Gaze initiated exploration of her spine’s possibilities. On a few occasions, she executed a virtuosic 'wow' moment — falling all the way on to her back from standing, heels raised and never touching while legs smoothly curved into a 'z' sit shape at some point in the air." - Kathryn Boland, Dance Informa

Photo by, Stefanie Belnavis | The Diahann Project | @thediahannproject

 

BIO: Boston-based Victoria Lynn Awkward focuses on dance, visual arts, and empowerment. She is the director of VLA DANCE, the resident dance company of Hibernian Hall in Roxbury. VLA DANCE aims to create Freedom for people of all identities through contemporary dance.

 

Victoria graduated with a degree in Visual and Performing Arts Education from Goucher College. She danced for the Goucher Repertory Dance Ensemble and performed in works by artists including Sidra Bell, Christian Von Howard, Ronen Koresh, Helen Simoneau, Iyun Ashani Harrison, and Iquail Shaheed. As a professional artist, she has performed with Ashani Dances, Attn: Dance, The Davis Sisters, Heather Stewart, and Ruckus Dance. 

 

She has worked in marketing for Color Magazine and as an educator through the YMCA and VLA DANCE's educational residencies. She is 2019-2020 Boston Institute of Contemporary Art Dance Fellow. And is currently a Midday Movement Series teacher, teaching at Middlesex School, dancing with Jenna Pollack and was awarded the 2020 - 2021 Boston DanceMaker Residency with the Boston Center for the Arts and Boston Dance Alliance. 

Artist Statement: I believe the arts are uniquely positioned to help people slow down, connect with self, with others and with the world around us. For this reason I aim to make work that asks people to check in and reflect on their actions socially, environmentally and intrinsically. I primarily create work in non-traditional spaces; emphasizing the interpersonal experience that emerges when audience and performers are close in proximity and blurring the fourth wall. As a leader in dance, I strive to empower those I work with by reinforcing ethically sound formalities, including bringing together racially diverse movers, respecting dancer's body size and appearance, transparent communications, holding space for fluidity of gender identities, and creating space for being an individual within a structure. These values persist within my solo work and in my company, VLA DANCE.

"And then there is Victoria herself. I love hearing what Victoria has to say about her work– especially with regard to themes like persistence through change — and then seeing these notions play out in her real life. Watching her grow as a choreographer and put on more events like this is encouraging and exciting. Whether it’s a show popping up somewhere I wouldn’t expect, or the fact that she is putting art into a world that does not always welcome it." - William Kryjak, Boston Hassle