We had the good fortune of connecting with Diana Schoenfield and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Diana, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
As a movement artist based in Los Angeles, a city embellished by a vast array of opportunities, I have found myself developing habits which allow me to feel grounded amidst the chaos and anxiety that sometimes can accompany such a place. As beautiful as it is to be surrounded by many creatives and artistic communities, it can also be overwhelming. Professionally as well as personally. Creating a sense of peace for myself has been essential to my journey, both as a creator and simply a human hoping to learn more about herself and the world around her. Recently, I find immense value in exploring my other artistic curiosities, the ones that don’t involve wiggling my body quite as much. I love to paint. I love to write. I love to study films. I love to take moments alone to simply enjoy the breeze. Tapping into moments of stillness. Silence. To create space for my thoughts. Taking pauses to really experience specific sensations. The smell of lavender, the burn of citrus in a cut on my skin, the droning sound of static. To indulge in memories. To pause.

I allow these moments in which I am not prioritizing physicality to influence and inspire my movement. Cultivating space to appreciate and acknowledge the beauty and complexities of the human experience, the nuances and connections, the details and the ambiguities. In turn, these moments relieve some of the pressure that I put on myself. I notice my breathing deepen. I feel myself indulging further in my own ideas. I feel a sense of comfort in the gentle rituals I am discovering. I feel a spark of electricity in the spontaneous adventures I happen upon.

Both comfort and curiosity fuel me, and in allowing time for each, I feel expansive. I feel alive. I feel my creative energy flow boundlessly, reminding me of the passion and pleasure behind my drive for creating movement. The moments I spend outside of the studio are equally important as the moments I spend in the studio. They remind me that I am human. That I am safe. That I am worthy. That I am evolving. That I am truly blessed to be part of this beautiful community. Moments that create a sense of peace for me in times when I feel pulled in many directions. I hope to honor this throughout my artistic journey, as life continues to carry me into the unknown!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I create from a place of passion, above anything else. I believe my work is often extremely connected to my curiosity about the human experience. I love to dissect and deconstruct moments through words, through painting, through movement. My work is emotionally driven, usually pulling from my personal experiences, but sometimes from imagined scenarios or second hand perception of others. I strive to allow my vulnerability to live within the movement and visual art I create. I especially enjoy incorporating a variety of materials and substances into the process, such as acrylic paint, plastic films, glassware, prisms, and so on. I love to play with soundscapes that vary greatly from one another, with a recent love of collaborating with musicians on original compositions which include voices, static, birds, and other miscellaneous sounds. I really enjoy changing up the energy of each process. Moments from my every day life infiltrate my ideas, the visuals I am interested in, the way I contemplate and embody what fascinates me. At the moment, I am particularly interested in creating visuals that explore intimacy, secrecy, confrontation, distortion, and nostalgia.

This year, my family, and many around me, experienced loss. This, too, has inspired much of my recent movement exploration. Both through the physicality of creating and the mentality behind my desire to create. Through loss, we experience love. A lens into what we really care about. This has been pivotal to my artistry. I believe dance, among other artistic practices, has provided me a vessel through which I can experience my life in richer colours. Heartbreak, I move through it. Happiness, I move through it. Anxiety, I move through it. Desire, missing someone, frustration, irony, all things human. I love how movement can elevate a sensation, embrace a moment in a tangible way, flesh out a feeling in a cathartic release. Connect two strangers in a moment of trust. Connect to oneself in a tactile way. It documents history, the driving currents of society, the psychological experiences we have, the personal moments we want to remember and sometimes even the ones we don’t. There are so many super powers of movement.

In moments when I doubted myself, I could still feel the powers of dance in a palpable way. What has helped me throughout my journey with dance has been the notion that movement can have different roles constantly. A choreographic session doesn’t have to be ground breaking to be meaningful. Moving with friends doesn’t have to lead to a production. Dance can happen anywhere, with anyone, under any conditions. There is magic in this. The process is equally important to me as the product, and in honouring this, I feel free. When I feel free, I feel like myself. And no matter what, I will strive to allow movement to be what I want it to be for myself. Onward and upward!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
AROMA. Any time of day, this cafe makes me feel fulfilled, and it is the most YUMBO. I love to enjoy an iced dirty chai while admiring the lush greenery, basking in the breeze, admiring the assortment of Renaissance paintings, and enjoying something that feels both very LA and very not LA. A timeless place. Then, onward to hike the beautiful Switzer Falls Trail. Mystical and peaceful, journeying through the mountains. Or perhaps to Malibu beach, a quiet horizon and stunning shores. And of course, one must end the day with some live music. I would recommend The Baked Potato, an eclectic Jazz Club, full of character, located in Studio City. Or, if you’re feeling ritzy and want to feel in awe of the city lights strewn across downtown, head to Perch or The Standard. Or, for an equally lovely night cap, the Griffith Observatory holds a very special and iconic view. Los Angeles has so much to offer, whether one is looking to escape the chaos or embrace the momentum. Every day is an adventure!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to specially thank Entity Contemporary Dance for all you have taught me. This company – based in Los Angeles and directed by two of the most brilliant and kind humans on the planet, Marissa Osato and Will Johnston – completely altered my life. From the moment these two directors took a chance on me, my world had changed forever. More than a group of brilliant and motivating movers, this company has been my Los Angeles family. A group of people who celebrate individuality, who support your life endeavors outside of the studio, who believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself. Every member I shared the stage with, every student I met at our annual intensives, ever person who supports us, we all create this community together. A community of people who inspire me as artists and more importantly as human beings. This can be rare to find, and I am eternally grateful for the impact this company has made on my life. So forever and always, thank you and I love you, Entity!

Instagram: @dianascho

Youtube: youtube.com/dianaschoenfield

Image Credits
Allie Costello, Michaela Todaro, Camryn Eakes, Ben Rountree

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