Checking in with Zap McConnell

Checking in with Zap McConnell

What were you doing just before we called?
I’m in the process of cooking breakfast before rehearsals.

What are you working on these days?
I am about to go teach in Mexico and work with some Mexican dancers to make a dance piece that will be part of the two-week dance extravaganza for the opening of Dogtown Dance Theater in Richmond, which is Ground Zero [Dance Company]’s new dance theater, which is totally fabulous.

Between teaching dance in Mexico and shifts at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar and Blue Moon Diner, where does Zap McConnell want to be? “I’d love to have a moment in the next couple of weeks to make it to The Bridge, to see what they’re doing…[and] I’d like to make it my prerogative to get some local swimming in.”

Do you have a day job?
Well, I have several. I work at the Blue Moon Diner, I work at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar, I’m a teacher, and I’ve been teaching in Mexico the last few falls and spring. I’ve also been doing a lot of painting this summer…

Favorite tool of the trade?
I would say a really solid, lock-blade pocketknife. Also, a pair of needle-nosed pliers.

Locally, who would you like to work with that you haven’t worked with yet?
Russell Richards is someone who I’ve always wanted to work with, and we’re just starting a collaboration now.

Plans to present locally soon?
In the spring. We’re really trying to get people to come to Richmond to support this [dance theater] opening, trying to create this sister-city artistic vibe with Richmond.

An idea you’re carrying around with you?
How to continue focusing my life around making work in a sustainable way, with a community that supports that. How to continue to make work in a way that’s empowering to me and others, especially in this economy.

Favorite snack while you’re working?
I would say, depending on the season, local and seasonal fruit. Cherries are my favorite.

What upcoming event will you be getting a ticket for?
That’s the hard part about working on a project; I don’t have a lot of time to see things. I’d love to have a moment in the next couple of weeks to make it to The Bridge, see what they’re doing.

What songs are you playing on your iPod?
Right now, I’m listening to a lot of really strange stuff. Riceboy Sleeps, for example. Mostly it’s oriented around the dance piece I’m working on.

Guilty pleasure?
Science fiction. It’s a guilty pleasure when I need to sleep and I’m staying up ’til 4am to finish a chapter. I love William Gibson, and I just started The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters.

Favorite artist in your genre? What about outside your genre?
It’s hard to really pin down what genre I’m in. I’ve always been inspired by Martha Mendenhall. She’s part of the Performer Exchange Project—they’re great. Sian Richards is part of it, and Jennifer Hoyt Tidwell—they’re actually putting together a show that’s going to be at Live Arts in the winter [starting December 4]. I’m leaving town in the fall, and I’m coming back in order to see that on time. Outside my medium, I would say Radiohead.