SOUL: Emilia Sandoval

A familiar face around Ballet Memphis, company dancer Emilia Sandoval took on the role of choreographer to create the piece In Mind's Eye. Sandoval uses the dynamic essence of music from KIRBY and Valerie June to inspire individual experiences and expansion of the imagination. The premiere of her piece will be performed during SOUL at Crosstown Theater April 22nd-23rd.

Our Choreographer Q&A with Emilia Sandoval:

Tell us a little bit about “In Mind’s Eye” and how the inspiration for the piece came about?

As a child, I vividly remember riding in my parents’ car and popping in my headphones to experience the scenery zooming by suddenly become a part of the movement coming alive in my imagination. ‘In Mind’s Eye’ is a work that is inspired by my intrigue for how individual people experience music so uniquely, and how that experience can expand our imaginations.

How did you go about selecting the soulful music for the piece?

I was first recommended KIRBY’s song Kool-Aid by my directors Steven and Gretchen, who both were big fans of the song and made me one too. From there, I continued to listen to KIRBY’s awesome discography and was drawn to a particular few that just brought alive visuals in my mind. I then heard some of Valerie June’s music and also became a big fan of hers, and so I wanted to see how I could bring out the dynamic essences that the two bring to their music.

The audience will be affected by the song and dance differently, but what do you hope they gain from “In Mind’s Eye” overall? The freedom to interpret these experiences differently?

Absolutely! I definitely hope that by watching ‘In Mind’s Eye’, everyone can find parts in it that they can interpret differently and enjoy in a unique way. I also hope that by watching, they will be able to hear all the fantastic details and nuances of these powerhouse female singers, and that it inspires them to go home and try listening to the songs they love with an openness to child-like imagination.

Emilia Sandoval, Choreographer
[This] work that is inspired by my intrigue for how people experience music so uniquely, and how that experience can expand our imaginations.

This is a performance choreographed by three women. What was it like to work alongside such creative, inspiring women?

To begin, I was very excited to know that this show would be created by all female creators, it’s not very common to have a program like this in a ballet company. It has been so incredible to work on these creations alongside Julie and Chanel, besides being wonderful people, they both have such a unique and creative approach to their choreographic styles and it's been an honor to be included in the lineup!

This is your first major choreographed piece for the company. How has it been in your role as choreographer rather than company dancer?

The past few weeks of creating as a choreographer have been very exciting and full of new information for me, especially stepping into the role after spending most of this season fully enveloped as a company dancer! Actually, I am currently learning to share the balance between dancer mode and choreographer mode in creating this piece since I am also going to be performing in Chanel DaSilva’s piece, ‘Heathen Hearts’, as a dancer for the show. Besides that, I love this incredible opportunity to be able to create on my fantastic fellow company dancers and to dive into such a creative space with them. It’s been an extremely fulfilling and dynamic experience.