Student Spotlight: Alexa J. Rittichier

Alexa J. Rittichier is a first-year Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA student.

Cinders Rising

Still from Cinders Rising (2009), a collaborative video piece by Alexa J. Rittichier (dancer/performer), Deborah Gregory (video artist), and Leora Gardner (experimental violinist).

What are you currently working on?

My current work is delving into issues related to Alzheimer’s and mortality. As I watch my family struggle through the decline of my grandfather after the recent death of my grandmother, I have been overwhelmed with not only the always ebbing ocean of emotions, but with the universality of this experience. While the majority of my interdisciplinary work up until this point has been combining visual art (mostly sculptural) and dance or movement, I have been challenged here to break out of my comfort zone and what I know. I have begun experimenting with stop motion animation and performance that is outside of the “dance” category.

Where did you get your undergraduate degree and what did you study?

Belhaven College, Jackson MS 2000-02

-2D based program, studied a lot of painting, photography, and printmaking

Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green OH 2002-05

-continued with a painting emphasis keeping photography and printmaking with me as well, but also explored ceramics and metal sculpture. Modesty Series, 4 large scale nudes in oil with eroding metal veils hung in front of them is what I presented at the BFA thesis show.

-danced throughout school and presented an alternative thesis by choreographing and producing a Intertwined Mediums, a concert combining visual art and dance.

BFA Studio Art, Dance minor

How has grad school changed your practice?

Grad school has greatly changed my practice because I can now practice full time. No more “nanny by day, artist by night.” In the last two years before I began school, I was working full time as a nanny, starting and co-leading an arts collective, traveling on and off to rehearse and perform with Open Window Dance Company, AND making my own work. Grad school, while demanding and intense, is a large, satisfying breath of fresh air!

Cinders Rising
Still from Cinders Rising.

Is there anything that you are doing outside of school that you would like to share?

I am still working collaborative with some of the members of arts collective I led in Columbus, Ohio. Unfortunately, this means we are working slowly and from a distance. Advent is a four section piece I am currently working on dance/fibers/video piece with Derek Nicol, a filmmaker and composer. Another collaboration from the collective that I recently saw come to fruition was Embracing Honesty. Hanif Abdurraqib, a young talented writer, composed a poem and I danced using a rocking chair as an interactive prop. I am now trying to adapt this piece to video.

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