By Kelsey Morozow Burbrink, board president and co-founder of CoMo Dance
Tori Chu is a dancer with the Columbus Modern (CoMo) Dance Company and has been with the company for eight seasons, since the company’s inception. Tori joins board president Kelsey Morozow Burbrink to answer some questions about performing in CoMo’s annual Mother’s Day Tea in the Topiary Park performance, which will be held virtually this year on Sunday, May 10.
Kelsey: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Tori: I love that Columbus is big enough to have a great arts community with a variety of styles and practices, but small enough that we can personally have a footprint and an impact on the community – and collaborate with so many different arts groups, both dancers and non-dancers.
Kelsey: You were a part of CoMo’s very first Mother’s Day Tea performance in 2013, what is one of your fondest memories from that show?
Tori: It had been so long since I had performed! It was amazing to be able to perform for people again and share the joy of live dance and the beauty of the gardens.
Kelsey: What are some unique challenges to performing in a park or garden?
Tori: I think the biggest one is the uncertain footing. But, the bright side is that you’re getting to interact with nature in that way – as an artist or audience member, I think that organic texture is something to reflect on and enjoy even though it is a challenge to overcome. Reflecting on that metaphor can be an added layer of enjoyment both as a performer and as an observer.
Kelsey: What is your favorite thing about being able to perform outside in the spring?
Tori: Since my day job is indoors, it’s a good reminder to get outside, enjoy the sunshine and the breeze, and appreciate our lovely Columbus parks. It’s also fun when people walking by our rehearsals get excited to see dance and ask us about it! It’s a good reminder of the joy of dance and how we can spread that to others.
Kelsey: As a part-time professional dance artist, how do you balance rehearsal and everyday life?
Tori: I think it would be more unbalanced without it – since my day job is mostly sedentary and technological, I think moving and expressing myself emotionally and artistically helps me keep my body and feelings more balanced. Plus, having some evenings spoken-for forces me to be more productive on the other evenings!
Kelsey: When did you begin dancing, and where did you get your training?
Tori: I started dancing at the age of three, at Hockessin Dance Center in Delaware state. From 6-10, I studied off-ice training as part of figure skating. I stopped dancing in high school, but returned to it in college at the Mather Dance Department at Case Western Reserve University.
Kelsey: What’s on your current playlist?
Tori: Jacob Banks, MILCK, Kina Grannis, Chasing Lovely, Eva Noblezada, Heathers: The Musical.
CoMo’s annual Mother’s Day Tea in the Topiary Park performance will be held virtually this year on Sunday, May 10. This year CoMo dancers will bring you solo works via video on this YouTube live stream. Donations to support CoMo’s work as a nonprofit arts organization are gratefully accepted. This afternoon of dance is a CoMo favorite and the perfect (virtual) outing for Mom & the whole family.