Alumni Spotlight: Laja Field

02 April 2018 Published in News and Announcements
Photo Credit: Lady Deryn Photography Photo Credit: Lady Deryn Photography

We spoke with Modern Dance Alum, Laja Field about her experience at the U and life after graduation:

When did you graduate from the U?
I graduated from the modern dance department in 2012

What have you done since graduation?
I moved to Germany to dance with Johannes Wieland at the Staatstheater Kassel. Johannes was a guest choreographer for PDC the fall prior and invited me to be an apprentice starting January 2012. After the first show, I was invited to finish the season as a guest and the following year I became a full time company member for two seasons. In the almost four years at the theater I had the pleasure of working with many inspiring colleagues, guest teachers and guest artists including Chris Haring/Liquid Loft (who’s piece we got to perform at ImpulsTanz in Vienna), Stella Zannou and re-staging a piece by Hofesh Shechter under the direction of Sita Ostheimer. In fall of 2015 I relocated to New York City with (my now husband) Martin Durov, joined VIM VIGOR dance company as a founding member and am currently co-rehearsal director. With the company I performed in NYC, Santa Barbara and Panama as well as traveling to teach and create pieces in Montreal, San Fransisco, Texas and Michigan. 

What are you up to now? 
In the last year Martin and I have launched our own physical dance theatre company LAJAMARTIN and premiered our first work “Tatry” with DanceNOW at Joe’s Pub in NYC and later performed the piece in “Circulate” at Newcastle College, England. As invited guests with BRINE we created “Lucy Part 1” with five beautiful Salt Lake City artists that premiered at the Leona Wagner Black Box. The end of 2017 brought us to created “Spolu v Čase” for the J.L Bella Conservatory in Banska Bystricia, Slovakia and we’ve just recently finished a commission for CDT at BYU. We’ve also really enjoyed teaching at the University of Utah, BYU, Gibney NYC, hosting workshops in LA, touring to Europe to teach at Staatstheter Kassel, Germany, Dancecity and Newcastle College, England and Contemporary Pro Tanec, Prague. This spring I’m happy to be back teaching at Gibney in NYC, performing with Martin at Westfest and later this fall creating a new production with VIM. In May we’ll be coming back to Utah for SALT dance company’s LINK festival which we are really looking forward to! 

What was the most valuable thing you learned from your time at the School of Dance? 
Ooo, hard to pick just one, there are a few that come to mind. One is definitely how important community is. Our class, very luckily, was supportive, generous and also honest, this was essential to my growth and development in those years and continues to remind me how crucial it is to foster this kind of environment. I’d say another was to dream and dream big, there was this feeling of limitless in school and so much to grasp if you wanted, and that was the key…if you wanted and were willing to really work you could really achieve something. That dream and drive has definitely stuck with me. There was also an understanding that our dance education is fundamental, Abby Fiat would often say “dance is the best preparation for life” and I couldn’t agree more. Complex learning, collaboration, defending opinion with openness, discussion, feedback, imagination, revision, creation, practice in all these areas and more cultivate major skills that inform your life and make for solid people that can contribute to this world. 

What do you wish you had known as a student?
I wish I had been more interested to research dance happening all over the world. It wasn’t until my junior year that I decided to do a workshop outside of Utah and that experience opened my eyes to so many different people working in the field and even then I was still astounded when I went to Europe. Now I would tell my college self to take workshops in the winter and summer, look at videos from companies all over the world, take in information, learn, adapt it into your own and fly with it! 

How did your time at the U support your career?
The U was essential in getting me a career. Learning the many different styles of each teacher and other genres of dance, getting the chance to improvise, learn kinesiology, study dance history, make pieces of our own, teach, create material while working with various choreographers and perform all informed (and still informs!) my professional life.
I think I had auditioned for six other schools and didn’t get in anywhere. This was the only school that believed in me. The teachers at the U gave me a chance, saw my potential, nurtured it, gave me opportunity, challenges, experience and the confidence to dream big. I will forever be grateful to this department, my fellow students and the teachers that supported me and pushed me to do better. I hope to continue coming back to Salt Lake to share my experience and contribute to the ever growing community. It’s a wild and wonderful world out there, go after your dreams !