Interview by Jorge Lara
Photography by Shannon Dorn (official website)
VIM's Fall 2013 Interview Series continues with Torrey Cole, professional dancer. Torrey Cole is Co-Founder and Program Director of Project Praludium. Torrey Cole was the 2012 RAW Las Vegas Performance Artist of The Year winner. In November 2013 Torrey Cole will be featuring at the Vegas Valley Book Festival performing an interpretative dance to a spoken word poem at The Las Vegas Poets Organization's Poetry Courtyard Stage.
VIMMAG: Greetings Torrey, how have you been? I last saw you at Kravenko studios for Project Praludium, watching your artistic direction along with the art direction of your fellow directors. It was quite a marvelous performance and it was enriching to see the time and effort the young dancers put into learning their routine. How was the experience for you?
TORREY: Hi Jorge, its been a thriving year. Thank you, Jorge for supporting local dance artists and attending, Project Praludium's, second Annual "Collaboration Series" Contemporary Dance Workshop Performance this past summer. The experience was a unique collaboration with our guest artists from New York. The guest artists and teacherscreated a fun and exciting environment for the dancers. I have the team to thank for the high level of dance education and performance that was brought to our Two-Week Summer Dance Workshop. The faculty included, Co-Founder , Alison-Kravenko Johnson, Artistic Director of Kravenko Youth Ballet, Gregory Dolbashian, Artistic Director of Dash Ensemble, Loni Landon, Princess Grace Award Recipient, Jonathan Windham, Allison Jones, and Stuart Loungway, Artistic Director of Terra Firma Dance Theater.
VIMMAG: You were the performance artist of the year for RAW, how was that for you?
TORREY: I love the underground.When I won the award I had just moved back to Vegas a few months before living in New York. RAW Awards was my opportunity to let my weirdness shine. It paid off! Las Vegas is my hometown, and I couldn't be happier representing performing artist of the year in Las Vegas.
VIMMAG: As co-founder and program director for Project Praludium you've had the opportunity to teach dance to a lot of young people. How did it all get started?
TORREY: I began teaching in Las Vegas at an after school program throughout my senior year of high school. When I went to college I began teaching jazz, hip-hop and ballet at various dance studios in Westchester County and Queens, NY. When I would return from college, I would guest teach at Kravenko Dance Academy, which was where I was student and now a teacher. I enjoy teaching all ages. It just something I've always had fun doing.
VIMMAG: You've danced for famous Turkish popstar Tarkan, been a ring girl for a boxing event, have had a dress named after you for the Jeffrey Monteiro Fall 2011 fashion collection, how were those experiences?
TORREY: Living a fast pace life in New York, you just put a go button on, and somehow, I accumulated a creative array of jobs and people, that rock. SOTU Production's brought me Baku to perform on stage in front of thousands of people, that experience was amazing. The boxing event as a ring girl, I can check off my bucket list, I always wanted to do it. I never thought in a million years I would get a job in fashion production. I was a geeky girl that needed a job. I went to the studios and they hired me on the spot. I loved working as a presentation and production model for Fashion designer, Jeffery Monterio. It was one my favorite places I've worked.
VIMMAG: Do you remember your first artistic experience?
TORREY: I was four and my dance teacher handed me a scarf at the end of class and put on classical music. She said, Go ahead and dance. It was called free movement and I danced around the studio like the wind and twirled my scarf to the stars and the moon.
I felt like a bird , and I can still remember it.
VIMMAG: We have been looking to collaborate, as you do an interpretative dance to poetry and we are finally going to get to collaborate at the upcoming Vegas Valley Book Festival. I am looking forward to what we can create, what about you?
TORREY: I really enjoyed the Human Experience at the Beat on Monday nights. When someone would recite a poem or short story, I would visualize what I would do if it was a dance. The dance becomes honest movement from the words. There is a beauty in the truth of the words. I am very inspired when it comes to poetry.
VIMMAG: What dancers have inspired you?
Darcy Bussell, Misty Copland, my friends , Tanairi Vazquez, Broadway Dancer, Allison Jones. Malaika Floyd.
Any dancer that speaks from the heart.
VIMMAG: We have talked about how it feels to give back to the community, through collaboration and our art, what is your take on the cultural community as a whole?
TORREY: There is a large number of social media in Las Vegas. The cultural community is growing with more people that have a passion for their craft. I think we need to continue to educate in the arts and come together through collaboration. The cultural community is developing in Las Vegas and we can make difference if we keep supporting each other as local artists.