By: Sarah Trested


INTERVIEW WITH kyl/d inhale curator and company member, jessica Warchal-king

InHale Photo

(SARAH): What exactly is the INHALE performance series?

(JESSICA): Opportunity! Community! Diversity!

InHale is an opportunity for emerging and established artists to explore and present their work - both finished and in process. Dancers learn so much from the performance practice and InHale is a wonderful opportunity learn and research in an intimate setting. It’s an opportunity for community members (dancers, artists, non-dancers, friends, family, neighbors…) to experience a wide range of dance styles, genres, and phases of an artist’s career.  We have some participants who are presenting professionally for the first time and some who have a long list of professional accolades. This is also an awesome opportunity for artists to connect with peers or possible mentors in the field. One of my favorite memories of InHale was witnessing an engaged conversation between a recent college grad and Peter DiMuro in KYL/D’s lobby during tech.  

At the Rocky’s Cory Neale also described InHale as an opportunity for novice dance goers to experience contemporary dance without fear of judgement. I think this also applies to the feelings of the artists as well, as they present work in various stages of development.

(SARAH): What steps did you take to create this performance series?

(JESSICA): Every InHale has several steps and processes within those steps. Initially, there’s the planning stages of the performance dates in collaboration with the rest of KYL/D’s season and the other performances in and around the Philadelphia area. Then we send out and advertise the call for submissions - for both emerging and established artists. We carefully review each submission before finalizing the program, looking at the artistry, the artist’s journey, and the diversity of the whole program. For the 31st InHale, we had over 35 submissions from inside and outside of the Greater Philly area! During the time between the application deadline and the performance, we’re working on the administrative side of marketing and organizing the show. The day of the show is always full of energy and enthusiasm in bringing the community into KYL/D’s home and transforming the studio into an intimate performance space. After the show, we reflect on the process, review and compile audience feedback and plan for the next performance!

(SARAH): What makes the INHALE performance series unique from other dance performance series in Philadelphia?

(JESSICA): InHale is uniquely tied to KYL/D’s mission of inviting audiences to engage in their own journeys of self-discovery. This is specifically exemplified in the feedback forms that audience members fill out on individual artists. Over the years, we’ve discovered that the artists who submit to InHale are diverse in terms of genre, age, time in the field, race, gender and subject matter. This, in turn, attracts a diverse audience - one that is reflective of KYL/D’s home audience, Philadelphia, and our unique neighborhood on S. 9th St. In this way, InHale reflects KYL/D’s mission of Inspiring cross-cultural approaches to community and self-discovery.

I’ve been told by audience members that they feel a deeper connection to the work when they can provide feedback. Additionally, the artists have used the videos and feedback they receive from InHale in their continued and future processes.

(SARAH): What is your favorite part of putting together each INHALE performance series?

(JESSICA): There are so many aspects that go into producing an InHale. I LOVE getting to know the artists through the process and more so on the day of the show. There’s a huge collaborative energy right around 6pm when tech is finished and the cast arrives to begin warming up in the space. Members of KYL/D and volunteers for the show also use this time to finalize any last minutes details before the audience arrives, which also includes getting to know the visiting artists. Many artists submit work repeatedly to InHale and, although we can’t accept all of the applicants all of the time, it’s really gratifying to see the artists continue to grow. InHale’s a long day, but I always leave the evening inspired by the diversity of work that we present and the diversity of audience (in age, gender, race, and aesthetic background). I’m inspired by the dedication of so many people (artists, volunteers, dancers, audience, and the KYL/D family) to insist on the performance, practice, and production of dance!

(SARAH): Is there anything else you would like to share about the INHALE performance series?

(JESSICA): A giant Thank You to KYL/D and the Philly Dance community to continue to support InHale and Dance in Philly!!