Watta Ribas

Artist’s Statement

In my work as a choreographer, I create emotional and intellectual experiences for both viewers and performers, illuminating universal experiences by revealing the personal through movement, text, and music. My dancers and I explore personal experience by moving with organic momentum, athleticism, partnering and gesture. The performers participate in generating text by writing about specific events from their own lives; thematic elements are then identified and woven into the dance via spoken word. This interweaving of personal story with performance tears down the distance between viewer and dancer and allows members of the audience to develop relationships with the dancers as more than just bodies, but as individuals with their own stories to tell. Music adds a layer of depth and emotionality that enhances the movement phrasing as well as the relationships.

My goal is for the viewer to walk away with a sense of emotional resonance, moved in some way to draw connections between individual representation and universal human experience. My work often contains humorous and political sub-themes, providing multiple entry points for the audience to approach the deeper emotional experience being offered.

My most recent project is a site-specific outdoor piece, “Open to the Public.” It has been performed in downtown Sebastopol and downtown Cloverdale. I collaborated with local musicians to incorporate the dancers musically and the musicians physically. This piece is an interplay/exploration of what it means to be “seen,” publicly as well as personally and lends itself to “playing” with the public. This dance/theater work asks us the question: what is our responsibility in bearing witness to ourselves as well as to our community?