We had the good fortune of connecting with Rebecca Lemme and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rebecca, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
In both my personal and professional life as a dance maker, educator, facilitator, and performer, my guiding principle is to try to meet people where they are–to understand and love them for their uniqueness and to create opportunities for them to feel seen, heard, and important–to nurture spaces where people can come together to learn from each other and grow in empathy and compassion. This has been a value of my company, Acts of Matter, since its founding in 2014. Acts of Matter is a project-based performance group with a mission of revealing and reveling in our greater humanity through investment in process and collaboration. The work of the company is grounded in an unfettered willingness to attempt something while accepting the possibility of its failure. This physical exertion—this act of trying—is the core of humanity in the work. As a choreographer, Artistic Director Rebecca Lemme is inspired by the ability of movement to move people—to stir in them something innately human: the need to find connection. Acts of Matter hinges on the belief that as a society we are defined by what unites us—by what makes us similar, not what makes us different. Drawn from immensely personal inspiration, the work creates a window in which others can see their own experience reflected. It suggests that at the core of every private struggle or individual joy is something universal.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I never imagined I’d be here–running my own dance company, a tenured faculty member in a university, and certainly I never saw myself putting down roots in Los Angeles. But I have followed my gut at every juncture of my life, and I couldn’t be happier to be where I’ve landed. I have followed my passions for life and love and have leaned into what has brought me meaningful connection. And so the Midwest girl who quit dance at an early age because of the negative environment surrounding it at the time, went East to get an education and find her future professional pathway, ended up West immersed in dance making and a diverse community of people all trying the make the world a better place through their art. All the twists and turns have made me incredibly grateful to know that I carved this path through care and deliberate consideration, and I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
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.
I live on the Eastside of Los Angeles, and to me there is no better part of the city. It’s infused with eclecticism, from the businesses, the architecture, the people, the off-beat pathways through the hills. Any time with friends is about investing in the quirks of this place and is usually marked by time outdoors and delightful snacks. The day usually begins with a winding hike, either through the neighborhoods and hidden back roads or through one of the many local natural spots to “get out amongst ’em” as my family would say. Then it’s a local coffee spot–Civil Coffee or Kindness and Mischief in Highland Park are absolute favorites, maybe a bite at Kitchen Mouse. Then perhaps it’s time to peruse the local shops, sit on a patio and chat and enjoy the afternoon and then prepare to eat again. More Highland Park highlights are Café Birdie and Hippo. When night spots are open I love the Gold Line, Hermosillo, and La Cuevita. When I venture west it’s always for Topanga and Malibu to hike, hit the beach, or tosearch for gold at Hidden Treasures.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to Molly Shanahan who opened my eyes to the power of the body and the privilege of mentorship many years ago in Chicago, as well as Kate Hutter Mason and the L.A. Contemporary Dance Company who gave me my first taste of a creative family in Los Angeles.
Instagram: @actsofmatter https://www.instagram.com/actsofmatter/
Facebook: Rebecca Lemme / Acts of Matter https://www.facebook.com/rebeccalemmeartist
Karen Teune, Allie Miks, Rebecca Green, Jamie Carr