Unscripted. Unstaged. Rob Kitsos.Unscripted. Unstaged. is an interview series from Laura Murray Public Relations that speaks with fascinating artists, advocates, administrators, and other individuals who keep the Canadian artistic community visible, viable, and vibrant. This week we spoke with Rob Kitsos, an Associate Professor teaching in the dance department at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts. He is an acclaimed dancer, dance instructor, performing
artist, musician, visual artist, and choreographer who has enjoyed an impressive career performing across North America, Europe and Asia.
Q: Let’s say we run into each other at a party – how would you introduce yourself?
“Hi, I’m Rob.”
I don’t usually offer what I do unless asked- especially if I know I’m going to have challenges explaining to someone what it means to be a contemporary dance artist and professor….but when asked…I usually say I teach dance at SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. I also free-lance as a choreographer.
Q: If we checked your nightstand, what books would we find you reading right now?
Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage by Kenneth Silverman and parts of the New York Times Sunday Arts section- which I am always behind on…
Q: If we checked your computer, what favourite sites would be bookmarked?
I tend to have work related bookmarks like a Google calendar for curriculum and research sites for dance. I also have things from my kid’s schools so I keep up on their calendars and soccer schedules.
Q: How did you come to do what you do – was there a defining moment you can tell us about?
I was always drawing as a kid and ended up taking lots of art courses outside of school. I then got into martial arts, music and acting and went to Bard College to study theater (where my sister was also studying theater). I had to take dance classes as part of my requirements as a theater major and I ended up double majoring. It basically took off from there.
I think it was martial arts in grade school that sparked my connection to kinetic expression. You can see the influence in my choreography- even in the work I’m making now. I love the challenge of quick puzzles, strikes, cause and effect contact points, details in unexpected rhythms.
Q: When it comes to marketing, is there a particular campaign or a poster, advertisement, or promotion that made a significant impact or that stands out in your mind?
I love photography- and particularly movement captured in an image. I worked with Lois Greenfield in New York as a dancer in one photo shoot and it had a big impact on me. I later worked with photographer Marc Carter in Seattle on dance stock shots- lots of flying jumps. I’m always struck by advertising that includes the body in motion. The possibilities are endless and very exciting.
Q: Lastly, what inspires you?
Human experience, imagination, and creativity. I absorb my surroundings all the time and imagine how they can be deconstructed or abstracted on stage or film. This includes the mindless stupid things we do to the most honest and beautiful.
Composition – how to create something engaging through the synthesis of compositional elements. This fascinates me and keeps me creating.
Also, as a teacher, seeing students grow expressively inspires me.