Paige Barnett here again, in my pursuit of finding individuals who would be super into something like NACHMO, I decided to text Basin Dance Collective peer, Nicole Curtis. Nicole just got her BFA in dance from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. She is hip. She is “with-it” and knows all of the current dance students. So, when she texted back a number for a certain Paige Vergo, something went off in my brain.
“Paige Vergo…Oh yeah, I’ve danced with her before! She was so good, I wonder what ever happened to her?”
Well, let me tell you what happened to her. Paige Vergo had herself a wonderful little baby and moved up the river to Shreveport. When I reached out to reconnect, Paige agreed not only to participate in NACHMO, but to also be a part of the interviews that I’ve been conducting on a few community movers. It’s hard enough being consistently open and authentic as a performer…now let’s add a new little person to the mix and many new emotions, too! Paige, if you’re reading this, I just want to thank you on behalf of all the dancers here for your raw and open honesty during this process. It’s so refreshing to know that other people also experience the whole, “You know what? I’m not sugar-coating this. I’m not where I want to be and I am going to improve!” Saying this out loud is the first step to taking a step forward!
And this is exactly what Paige Vergo does in the interview below. You can be apart of Paige’s NACHMO adventure by following her on Instagram @paigevergo. You can also check in with other dancers in Lafayette community with #nachmolafayette and #nachmo2018
But first give Paige’s interview a read!
So, Paige…tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Paige Vergo, I’m 21 years old, and I currently live in Shreveport, La. I’ve been dancing for about 20 years now. Right now, I’m an instructor at a dance studio here in Shreveport! Along with teaching kiddos, I’m also on our local hockey team’s dance team. We’re the Mudbugs and the Ladybugs!
What sort of thing do you normally do as a dance instructor for a studio?
I’m in charge of the competition team and come up with the choreography for large groups, solos, duos, and trios. It has been a very tough transition for me going from college and professional dancers to teenagers. I don’t get to do all the choreographic ideas that I always come up with.
So what about the dance team? Is this something that you’ve always done, or is it more of a hobby for you?
I mainly did it because I just craved that performance high! There aren’t too many opportunities here (Shreveport) for adults to perform…it’s just starting to be up-and-coming in the arts. Plus, I also just had my son and I was just dying to get back to dancing. All of the dancing is jazz or hip hop, so it makes me really miss modern a lot. Even though I am their main choreographer and I love being sassy, I just miss that quality and story you get to tell when it comes to modern dance. BUT! I do have future plans to help our blossoming arts here in Shreveport!
What kind of future plans?
Since coming back, I have met so many adult dancers that are just lost. So many of the studios here are just for kids. They only have one or two adult classes. So hopefully if all goes according to plan next year in 2019 I will be starting my own studio. Well, I don’t want it to be a “studio” I want a company. A place for adults to be able to take class and where younger mature dancers can grow their choreographic minds.
Alright, so let’s get down to the good stuff. Why exactly are you participating in NACHMO?
I’m participating in NACHMO because I’ve missed doing my own work. Before I left Lafayette, I had a whole bunch of material that I haven’t been able to use. I had so many pieces in my mind that I was ready to set on mature dancers…I ‘m really using NACHMO as a way to get back to my modern roots and move in the way that I love and miss so dearly!
Was there anything in particular that you hope to gain from a month of improvised prompts?
I just hope to get back into my mindset. Being a mom has been the most rewarding experience ever….but I also feel like I’ve lost myself for a year. When you asked me to be a part of this, I was ecstatic! I quickly agreed, but then after that I literally sat back and thought for a moment…I truly haven’t done anything that I wanted to do for the past year. It has been so nice to just do something for myself. Even if I don’t end up using any of this material, I hope to gain my sense of self back through this movement.
What are some things that you’ve learned about yourself as a mover and creator thus far from completing the prompts?
I have realized I am very stiff when it comes to moving again, mentally and physically.
Is there a prompt so far that you enjoyed doing the most?
So far my favorite prompt was the chance dance or the silent movement one.
What about those did you like?
I really loved learning about the dance app with the chance dance! I also liked the structure within the improv for that particular prompt. The silent dance one has just been a favorite so far because who doesn’t love moving through silence?!
Do you have a specific work that you are using NACHMO to prepare for?
I do have a specific piece that I would love to be able to use some of this work in. So far (in a few of the prompts), I’ve done some moves that I would like to push farther or alter the dynamics of the movement. I started working on this piece right before I left Lafayette. I don’t really know what I would call it yet…but right now I want to call it “Shattered.” I did a whole bunch of research on the shattering of mirrors and the superstition behind it. Essentially, you’re cursed when you shatter a mirror; however, there are a few ways to break that “curse” and get your life back on track…it totally relates to my life both then and now!
Will you be performing a short piece for our Lafayette NACHMO showcase?
I would love to if the date allows me to. Just depends on my schedule!
Ok, here’s my favorite question to ask. What are some fears that you had before starting NACHMO?
My fears were to see how rusty I was and still am on camera. I was not ready to see all that I’ve lost since my pregnancy and I know that the more I do the movement, the better I will become and get back into my groove. It stills sucks to see where I am today…
Oh, puh-lease! I’ve seen some of your posts and you’re dancing is absolutely beautiful. Did any of these fears subside?
So far these fears have not subsided! I have a bit of a ways to go before I’m comfortable improvising and dancing in my own skin again. I still just feel a little discouraged to see where I’m personally at. Even though I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback, I guess it is more of a mental thing since I am such a perfectionist if that makes sense.
Ahh yes, being a perfectionist….the tell-tale sign that you’re a dancer 🙂 What advice would you give other dancers who are involved in this process as well?
Just to really have fun with it! Even though I know some of this isn’t my best work, it’s still been a really fun way to just let loose and let your mind go and do it’s own thing!