Interview with Kenneth
Kenneth Stephen Neil Higginbotham
Hometown: I was born in Dallas, but call Houston my hometown.
My background in color guard strengthened my ability to quickly absorb new movement and perform it shortly thereafter; drum corps instilled in me hard work, determination and individual responsibility within an ensemble; touring nationally and internationally with a Broadway production taught me consistency and pacing; and my recent dance endeavors have allowed me to understand the sharing of weight, the importance of breath and the commitment to the given movement.
My favorite thing about performing is the breath I take right before the production starts. That breath is so charged with intention and energy. To me that exhale is the equivalent of a bull preparing to charge by swiping the ground with its hoof, or a race car burning rubber from the starting line. It’s show time. All the work up to that moment rides on that breath and you become still and present in the moment. I feel truly at peace when I am performing.
What is your warm-up ritual? First, I begin warming up with breathing and core exercises to get my blood flowing. This is followed with a series of stretches and exercises that begin on the ground and gradually evolve to bring me to standing, working out the parts of my body that may be sore or need specific attention. I usually end with some push-ups, crunches, some hand balancing and more dynamic movements.
What’s in your dance bag? I would call it my life bag instead. I always have a change of clothes for work, a change of clothes for rehearsal, a book, a blue Nalgene bottle, cologne, deodorant, head shots, resume, planner, pain reliever, vitamins and a snack of sorts (granola, trail mix, apple, etc.).
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a dancer? Being able to create a visual expression of music with the human form, and all the possibilities that can result from fulfilling that creative impulse.
There is no normal day in-the-life for me. One week I could be in Georgia doing event production for the Masters Golf Tournament, the next day making Claire Danes a cocktail at a movie premier here in NYC, in Connecticut for the weekend workshopping an upcoming production with another dance company, traveling to Costa Rica to volunteer for two weeks on an organic farm, selling my artwork at The Market in SoHo, or doing aerial gigs at clubs, events, and in variety shows. I try to be as productive as I can possibly be.
The chance for growth and the possibility of new opportunities and experiences excites me. That keeps me going. A consistent element of my regime would be a good night’s sleep and the daily use of a Nutri-bullet.
I find myself intrigued by the intricacy of DGDC’s movement as well as the weight sharing qualities Daniel displays. Now seeing the Company from the inside I am enjoying the organic ways in which the story of The Oracle is taking shape. The risk in the movement as well as the dynamic and technical phrase work are challenging to me. This challenge drives me to be a better dancer and performer.
Working on The Oracle has been a stimulating experience. We work on individual phrases of movement that require two dancers or the entire cast, while we continue to develop those phrases individually we also mix and match the order in which they are arranged. It requires focus and flexibility. But it’s energizing at the same time to have such a talented cast all working together to develop this piece. It’s been a definite pleasure.
What has been most challenging about process and the work? Attacking the movement with a sense of abandon and technical precision.
Have you made any new discoveries during the rehearsal process? That I don’t have enough places to hang my sweaty rehearsal clothes in my apartment without inconveniencing my roommate. I say this because we rehearse several times a week and the entire cast works very hard, so we heat up a room fast.
Someone should come to see The Oracle at BAM because it’s going to be a very intimate and unique experience for both the audience and the dance members. The intricacy of the choreography and the inter-dynamic relationships that develop choreographically within the piece, the original music and costuming are weaving themselves together into a very beautiful fabric. Having the production in the round is going to provide the audience a chance to feel a sense of involvement as there will be no ‘front’ to the stage as dance members run past entering and exiting the stage executing Daniel’s energized and driven choreography all throughout the space.