We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Gevone Heckert and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Stephanie Gevone, what are you inspired by?
I am most inspired by people, especially the strength and resilience of women, and conversation. Sometimes a single word will spark an idea. I recently started creating a new work that was inspired by a guided meditation focused on embodying the qualities of who and what we are inspired by. It asked for the listener to envision someone that inspires them, what they are wearing, how they walk and talk, their energy and then integrate those qualities in their own being. I held an image in my mind’s eye and became aware that the characteristics that exist in this person I admire, live inside me as well. I think I’m inspired by connecting with people because of its ability to awaken my own sense of self. By connecting, communicating, and sharing with others, we become acutely aware of our own human experience.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Since 2014, I’ve been living and working in LA as a dancer and dance instructor. Choreography began as a hobby or just something I did because I was good at it, until a few years ago when I started to take it more seriously. I’m very fortunate to be in a place now where I am teaching and creating, solely in the capacity that I want to. It has not been easy and I’m still figuring out what I want my future to look like, but perseverance, hard work and tenacity have certainly helped me get to where I am today. My growth really skyrocketed when I learned to put my time and energy where it is valued and to not take it personally when told “no”. I had to learn that there are some people who just aren’t going to want to work with me, and that is OKAY! My choreographic style is musical, dark, multifaceted and funky. I think what sets my work apart from others is the way it doesn’t really fit into one style bracket. My movement borrows from technical styles, hip hop, tap, and other mediums like fashion and sculpture. I’m still learning how to embrace and own my differences, but am proud of who I am and what I offer the art community. My hope is that my choreography will always be unique to me and discernibly mine. I’d like for the world to know that, despite my infrequent social media presence, I am here impacting my own little corner of the world, maintaining my integrity and making it a priority to meaningfully connect with others face to face. I hope to share my work with bigger audiences someday!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d definitely take my best friend to some of my favorite coffee spots: Moby’s Coffee and Tea (North Hollywood) for an iced rose latte and Coffee Commissary for a brisket burrito. Moby’s is very close to one of my favorite book shops, The Iliad, so we’d have to stop there. What is a trip to LA without a hike? I recently had a friend take me to LA’s hidden rainforest at the Betty B. Dearing Cross Mountain Trail, a total hidden gem that I will be taking my next visitor to. I’d also love to take them rollerblading at Lake Balboa Park and stop for some fresh fruit and to watch the swan shaped pedal boats. We’d spend a day at Point Dume and see the tide pools, for sure. For lunches and dinners, I’d take them to Mohawke Bend and H.O.P.E. for the best vegan eats, Night+Market Song for authentic Thai, and Salsa & Beer for some seriously good Mexican food. We’d also have to drive Mulholland and visit the Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine and The Broad. 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 am dedicating my shoutout to MashUp Contemporary Dance Company, a professional, all-female company dedicated to the movement of female bodies and feminist ideas. In 2015, I auditioned for MashUp and have been dancing with this amazing group of women ever since. Co-Artistic Directors, Victoria Brown and Sarah Rodenhouse, have given me countless opportunities to do what I love, while uplifting and supporting me as a person far beyond my role as a dancer. Through MashUp’s programming, Victoria and Sarah, along with dedicated staff, have made it their mission to provide a safe space for women to come as they are, experience in the joy and community of dance, celebrate differences, and raise our collective voice about the issues that plague women and society. As a dancer on the company, it feels amazing to be using my body for something truly meaningful and I’m grateful for all of the ways MashUp has influenced my work, outside the scope of the company. I have danced in pieces that addressed issues like body image, gender equality, and anxiety, each its own cathartic experience. Participating in these important conversations through dance empowers me to translate what I learn from each experience into my own work and to my students, most of which are young women. It’s very unique to find yourself in a position where your talent, body, time, energy, and health are valued, respected, and celebrated. Victoria and Sarah have helped me realize that I am valuable in all seasons of my life, that learning can be nourished equally from observation and participation, and that I do not have to be anyone but myself. This year, I was appointed as a member of MashUp’s inaugural Creative Council and, in my time so far, have helped curate our 2021 International Women’s Day Festival and am currently in the process of choreographing a new piece for our Annual Fundraiser Gala. I am so thankful to have found MashUp, for the friends I’ve made and the lessons I’ve learned, and for the community of strong women I’ve gotten to know and work with. To Victoria and Sarah: You guys are one in a million and I wouldn’t be who I am without you both. Thank you for believing in me, encouraging my growth, and trusting me in this new leadership role.

Go check out MashUp Contemporary Dance Company! www.mashupdance.com
“MashUp Contemporary Dance Company is dedicated to the movement of female bodies and feminist ideas. Prioritizing innovation, collaboration, and inclusion, MashUp uplifts female-identifying artists and builds community through contemporary dance.”

Instagram: @StephGevone

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5byKD509W3JLIcFIvyJCcg

Image Credits
Kelly Mustapha-Kellett @kellymustaphaphotography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.