Seanna Sharpe lives and works in Brooklyn, NY where she performs and teaches aerial dance. Seanna, also a painter, a sculptor and fashion/ jewellery designer, is currently enrolled at the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies at NYU. and as if that wasn't enough, Seanna has created her own program called “Circustentialism,” combining circus art, performance, visual art and philosophical studies.. it is both unapologetically aesthetic and utterly experiential. I encourage everyone to take a flying class with Seanna, and invite you to check out her exhibition at Contesta on May 19th.
What are your greatest inspirations or influences?
Hmmm. A broad question with a very broad answer. I have always been passionately inspired by flying – I read Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie, when I was four, and ever since then my greatest wish has been for unfettered flight. But that doesn`t explain the octopus, does it? I am in love with Cirque du Soleil, they are certainly one of my biggest influences, as are FuerzaBruta / DeLaGuardia…Ten Pen Chii…I like strange shapes and foreign objects, movement that borders on sculpture and dance that looks like painting. I have a crush on Nietzsche.
What is the Octopus Series?
An Octopus of My Own is an ever-growing collection of 27 + Octopi, rendered in various mediums – from oil paint on wood to leather, silk, cord, glass, and plaster. Each of the creatures is…dedicated, in a way…to a particular person, or place, or time. The Octopi of Our Common Mind, a herd of ghostly long-legged cephalopods walking across a barren landscape, is a tribute to my twin brother, and the common landscape of dreams we shared through our childhood; An Octopus for Devendra is an oil painting of a close-up of a music video he shot, in which he holds and kisses a tiny, writhing, octopus. The Skin of her Love is for my lover, a sort of self-portrait of how strange I am, and a bit of a plea to look for beauty in my madness.
Favorite Music / Dance Venues?
It`s funny, because these questions are so straightforward, in a way, that it really highlights how peculiar I am by comparison. I don`t know. For many years, I was an addicted Tanguera, and my most frequent outings were to the red-lit hardwood velvet cafes and bars of Argentine Milongas all over Europe and South America; my favorite is a secret spot next to a junkyard outside of Paris. Since moving to New York, my “party scene” has switched from Tango to Circus – with a healthy dose of minimal techno and a bit of jazz thrown into the mix.
I love warehouses – high ceilings, strong rafters, dusty floors, sun spilling in through the windows while the beat brings in the morning. And I love to dance outside, at festivals and hippie parties; Oregon Country Fair is this giant party in the woods that happens every year – it`s one of my favorites. Dancing in the field, shower / sauna / firepit under the stars, climbing trees, costumes and performances and live music on 12 stages…
Your secrets to living such an Awesome, Energetic, Life?
Do I? I suppose. I mean, I don`t think my life is any different than anyone else’s, except for this: I am supremely aware, in every moment, of my complete freedom to be and create whatever I choose. And Everybody has this freedom. It is a question of releasing your imagination, taking risks, and trying to fly – even if you fall, you may miss, and find yourself airborne by mistake.
It is one of my goals to do something new every week – to see something different, to open my mind, to have an explosive experience. People are hungry for change, and even hungrier for imagination: for therein lies our freedom.
What are the challenges of what you do?
I work all the time. I mean, all the time. Rare are the months where I get a day off, and even rarer the months where I make enough money to take one. So I`m crazy broke and crazy busy, but all of my work is in art, and everything I do, I love. I teach little French kids yoga, and kids of all ages to fly – I paint, and I climb, and I dance, I perform, and that is my job.
It`s hard sometimes when I don`t have time to make love and relax and read comic books, but the truth is, you can always find the time to do what`s most important to you. It`s a balance that I am always breathing towards.
What would be a dream project for you?
Oooh. Well. Since you asked.
I have a lot of visions for productions – on the side, I create storyboards and proposals for full-length productions incorporating my passions of Dance, Theatre, Sculpture, and Circus. I am working right now on a project called The Glass Factory, which brings together Aerial Dance with Ballet, Acrobatics, Tango, and Glass in a dynamic visual fusion set in a Glass-blowing studio; I want to make shows that transcend genrification, a New Thing in Performance Art.
Anything else you`d like to share?
The Secret to what I do – the beauty and also the curse of my life – is my expansive and wild imagination. If there`s one thing I want to impress upon the world, it is this: We Can Create Our Own Reality through the power of The Mind – all art, and language, is merely metaphor, and when we realize this, we can do anything.