I had the honor of interviewing choreographer, dancer, and actress, Cecilia Seaward, look forward to her upcoming stuff-
Me: So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you, tell us some about you
CS: I am an entertainer and performing arts educator based in NYC. I act, dance, and choreograph. I also do standup comedy. I have always loved to write and create and make people laugh.
Me: And you started out as a ballet dancer?, why the jump to comedy and acting?
CS: I love the physicality and artistry of ballet and I always will, but I don’t really identify with the culture of it. I’m outspoken and a goofball and ballet often made me feel like I had to suppress that part of myself. I am grateful for the discipline that was instilled in me through ballet training, but I am at a point now where I am just being honest with myself and doing what I want. I am learning how to channel that discipline into other avenues of expression. I think life is too short to be squeezing yourself into something that doesn’t fit you.
Me: So what’s your favorite genre of dance?, what all styles have you gotten to choreograph for?
CS: I like dance-theater, where dancers act as well as dance. I enjoy making phrases of choreography that are set but I also really like throwing dancers into situations where they have to make creative choices and actions. I have choreographed ballet, jazz, and modern dance pieces on students and professionals.
Me: So dancing and acting coming together?, have you ever done like a dance musical before?
CS: No, I’m more of a speaker than a singer. I would totally do a movie musical, though, where they edit you to make you sound perfect!
Me: I see, so what are your current/upcoming projects?
CS: I am editing my first short experimental dance film right now. It’s called “Transference” and I created it at Silo Kirkland Farm in PA as part of an artist residency program by DANCEnow NYC. I am planning to submit it to dance film festivals and other short festivals in the fall. I did three standup shows this month and I am getting a lot of positive feedback and people keep asking when the next one is so I need to figure that out. I am also acting in a pilot called “The Edge” by TryhaneRed Productions. I play a human trafficking victim.
Me: Experimental dance?
CS: I am calling it experimental because it does not follow a standard film script format. It tells a story through acting and dance without any dialogue.
Me: So it’s like a silent film with dancing?, you’re the director, writer, and actress?
CS: Yes and yes! My husband was at the residency with me and he helped me with some of the camera work. I am hoping to get a well-known composer that I like to let me use his music for it, but if he doesn’t I have musicians in the family that I collaborate with frequently. My brother is a classically trained pianist turned bassist turned professional sound engineer. He also composes. He is based in LA and he has created music for several of my dance pieces in the past. His wife is also a musician and songwriter. I recently danced in one of her music videos. The video was shot in the absolutely, beautiful Joshua Tree National Park in CA.
Me: We definitely look forward to it!, have you directed or wrote before?
CS: Not this formally, no. I spent the past year learning a lot on TV and film sets here in NY. I worked quite a bit as an extra so the acting was minimal, but I realized I could learn a lot by observing the crew, camera guys, and director on set. I paid attention to the angles and length of takes. Then when I watched TV or films, I started paying attention to how long the shots were and how many angles different directors choose to do per scene. I have a visual memory for things like that. I think it’s from knowing how to pick up choreography. I understand cinematography the same. It’s capturing movement.
Me: Well I think you’ll do great!, alot of choreographs direct, such as Adam Shankman or the directors of the step up movies!
CS: Thanks! My equipment is basic but you have to start somewhere!
Me: So you were recently in American odyssey, what can you tell us about that?
CS: I was on set as an extra and was asked to stay for rehearsal. I ended up in this protest scene with one of the main actors on the show. I got a call a couple of months later from post-production to go in for an ADR session. American Odyssey is a great show and I am happy the scene did not get cut! I was worried it would.
Me: And it was definitely great to watch!, do you have any plans for a feature film?
CS: I’d love to get a main part in a feature, or even just a speaking part! I was a club dancer in the upcoming movie “Urge” and also in a bar scene in the upcoming film “How to Be Single” and a New York commuter in “Oppenheimer Strategies”. The energy on film sets is a bit different from television sets. I assume this is because the attention to detail is so much greater. In my experience, the days were also way longer! It makes you really respect the people who do this all the time. The hours are totally insane. Although, that weekend when we filmed the American Odyssey protest scenes, the cast and crew were all there for basically an entire three-day-weekend, so it all just depends.
Me: Have you done any theater acting?
CS: Overall, I have done more screen than stage acting but yes, I acted in a couple of contemporary plays in Boston and I studied at an equity theater in RI and performed in showcases there before moving to NYC a year ago. I was also in a couple of off-Broadway productions this past year.
Me: Awesome!, so lots of experience waiting to pay off!, I look forward to what your future brings!
CS: Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me!