Andrew Ward has been a JGPG company member since 2008. He became the company manager this year.
I met Joe Goode when I was a sophomore at UC Berkley in 2004. I auditioned for a piece that he was doing there at the Playhouse called The Disaster Series. I was not a dance major at Berkley, but had it as a minor so I could constantly take class. I then got to intern with the company during my last two years in college. When I graduated in 2007, I was interning with ‘Humansville’. After this piece Joe asked me to join as a company member for the next season, which was ‘Wonderboy’.
What about JGPG caught your attention?
When I first saw a Joe Goode piece I was in high school. It was at Yerba Buena and I vividly remember that three guys were dancing on chairs. It was really physical and exciting; I knew I wanted to do that. The physicality is something that I am addicted to. I also like the theatrical and humor that Joe incorporates in his work.
What made you start dancing?
At Berkley High School there is dance productions class where you audition and you get to make pieces to perform. I went to these performances because my sister was in a couple, and they really encouraged me to audition for dance productions. I have always been a mover, so I figured I would try it out. It wasn’t until college that I took my first technical modern class, which was Graham. It got me into shape!
What keeps you wanting to do the work at JGPG?
Joe guides us to push ourselves in different areas of performance, such as, the physicality of dancing, singing, and speaking. There is a lot of room to learn, grow, and do new things. This keeps me interested.
Joe prompts us to create things from ourselves. It is nice that we don’t have to worry about it being good, or the right thing for the project. We can just feel free to create whatever comes up and trust that Joe will put it together and shape it. Joe is such a good director in that way. This takes the pressure of the judgment out of it. A challenge would be once we get to perform the piece, we have to repeat the same thing while keeping it fresh and real for ourselves. It needs to be as real as it was when we created it.
How do you keep yourself in it? Poetics Of Space is a long run. With so many shows, how do you keep it fresh and real for yourself?
As we are performing we focus on each other. Every night there is going to be something a little different within the group, so we just stay focused on being real with each other on stage. We keep it in the moment.
For Poetics of Space, it is a different makeup of people in the room, a different space, and a different starting point. What has it been like for you so far?
What is interesting so far is seeing the space come together as we are creating the piece. We have material and now that the space is built around us, it is interesting to see where the material is landing physically in the space. It is exciting because it adds another element to the material that we are creating. With people coming in the space, it is going to be a whole new experience. We will be coming up close to them and they will be moving around us. It is an entirely different dynamic.
Melecio and I started doing duets in 2009. Then, people started asking us to perform together at little events around the Bay Area. We liked dancing together and having our own personalities combined on stage. Then in 2012, we decided to call ourselves Fog Beast. We did a larger show at Shawl-Anderson, and that’s when we officially began.
I think what is distinct about us is that our point of view is unique. We inhabit a different world in our work, but we definitely learned our process from Joe Goode. The Joe Goode process of creation has really been a big influence in Fog Beast, and in my life with any creative endeavor.
Is there a place that you go, or a thing that you do outside of the studio that gives you a source of inspiration or perspective?
Different forms of movement give me inspiration, both doing them and watching them. Even watching a sports game, jogging, or just moving. Noticing the different ways the body can move and what feels interesting. Books and literature also inspire me, I like to read. All sorts of different art are also inspiring.
Make sure to catch Andrew in the fall performances of Poetics Of Space!