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Meet Ilya Vidrin of Reciprocity Collaborative in Boston

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ilya Vidrin.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
In early 2012, when my then dance partner and I were applied to perform at the Dance for Community Festival in Cambridge, I decided that rather than using our own names, we would perform under the name Reciprocity Dance Theatre. I found Reciprocity compelling because it illustrated our collaborative process, as well as the central aim of give and take crucial in partnered dance.

Since then, Reciprocity’s mission has evolved, transforming from a dance company into an interdisciplinary artistic collective to bring together musicians, dancers and other creative professionals. While at first, we performed primarily on traditional stages, the collaborative has become a platform for researching the intersection of different media, including music, dance, interactive technology, visual art and film. While we do continue to perform on stages, we have also activated alternative spaces through site-specific works around Boston, New York, Chicago and London.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
With so many academic institutions in this city, it hasn’t been difficult to find artists who are interested in collaborating. As we’ve grown, we’ve continued to find support in local organizations like the Museum of Fine Arts, AREA Gallery (SOWA), Harvard University, New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory @ Berklee School of Music and the MIT Media Lab. We’re always on the lookout for creative professionals who are willing to work together through socially ethical artistic practice.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Reciprocity Collaborative – what should we know?
The Reciprocity Collaborative is committed to bringing together creative professionals through research, performance and community engagement. From lecture-performances to process-based labs, we aim to challenge disciplinary boundaries of music, dance and visual arts to create environments for multi-media negotiation, exceeding what individual artists could create on their own. Events include community-based arts workshops, public performances in alternative spaces and facilitated “BackBurner” concerts that bring audiences into dialogue with the artists.

Over the past five years, collaborators have included musicians, dancers, choreographers, composers, visual artists, social practice artists, cinematographers, and creative technologists. In engaging with collaborative, process-based work, our mission is to explore essential questions of ethical social practice, to create opportunities for interdisciplinary dialogue, and to expose creative process and build bridges in the artistic community and beyond.

We joke sometimes that Reciprocity members know the platform in very different ways. We have collaborations that are pretty straightforward music and dance. We also have collaborations that involve interactive, wearable technology that seems to challenge traditional conceptions of music and dance. Overall, however, all of our projects are designed to highlight the subtlety of interactions between people.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
The collaborative operates on a project-by-project basis, so the support we’ve received from partner organizations, as well as the collaborating artists internally within each undertaking, has been paramount to the success of our research, as well as performances and community events. This has included folks at the MIT Media Lab, Museum of Fine Arts, AREA Gallery (SOWA), Boston Youth Moves and Boston Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Crescendo” Outreach Program.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Reciprocity Collaborative 2012-2018

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