For Adult Lessons, the “dance mixtape” you released in 2015, you took on basically all aspects of the production, from the choreography to the writing, and even coloring the video. Why was it important for you to do pretty much everything? Did you have a clear vision of what you wanted to create?
Ian: While it was super important for me to be involved in every level because of how important the project was to me, most of my involvement on all of these levels was due to lack of money for proper production. I funded the whole film for around $8,000 out of my own pocket, so a lot of things that are really expensive for a longer project of this kind, like editor or colorist, were roles I filled myself, and executed with the hope that my basic skill level and knowledge of what I wanted and my understanding of how to use a computer would get me through it in the end.
So often, your dancing appears to “sing along” with the lyrics of a song, where gestures and movements give visual expression to the words we hear. Do you feel that’s true? How do you get to know a song in order to create a dance routine to complement it?
Ian: This is such a great question! Nuances and details of texture are what give such a specific sound to all the songs we love listening to and the reason we come back to listen to these songs over and over. Capturing the detail of the audio, translating it visually with the body while displaying the overall feeling of the song in my emotion in tandem with detail is my main goal. To explain what I see in my head when dancing is similar to a line graph that is constantly moving up and down to the frequency of the musicality I find most prominent to dance to —similar to what sound waves look like.