Q: What has dance taught you that you have applied to your everyday life and how you engage in the world?
Dance has taught me to deal with stillness. I really love stillness as something to utilize in my own choreography to let the audience take everything in and really see what is happening. It is a powerful mechanism and as a culture we need to do it more. When I stop and think,my breath comes into play and it allows me to check in with my body and surroundings, and to be in the present moment. I associate stillness with reflection. It gives me time to reflect before reacting. Stillness makes for a more constructive way of communicating ideas, feelings, and allows me to see things from new perspectives.
Q: How can dance be used as a platform for social justice issues?
Dance could be used as a platform for various capacities. I think about it through the Gibney model where while the dancers and community actionists give people the tools to be in their own bodies, to use their breath and stillness, and the joy and power of movement to help temper the things that they can’t control on the outside but reinforce what they can control on the inside. Whether this it stems from abstraction or a straightforward narrative, I think dance is storytelling because it can give audiences a glimpse of other people’s experiences. Dance is particularly moving because of the power of the body and in seeing a kinesthetic expression. There are more people than we think who know what that feels like.
Trina Mannino’s dance projects have been shared at Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, Crooked Tree Art Center in Michigan, The Detroit City Dance Festival at the Detroit Institute of Art, The Estrogenius Festival at the Kraine Theater in New York City, Green Space in Queens, Mana Contemporary Open Studios in New Jersey, and Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn, among others. She has performed in works by Donna Costello, Celia Rowlson-Hall, Anabella Lenzu, Barbara Mahler, Laura Peterson, Renato Rocha, JoAnna Mendl-Shaw, and Leyya Tawil, among others. Trina has received funding from Brooklyn Arts Council (2018 and 2020) and has been awarded creative residencies at The Croft in Michigan (2019 and 2020) and at Mana Contemporary (2019) in Jersey City. Her writing on dance and performance has appeared in Atlas Obscura, Brooklyn Rail, The Dance Enthusiast, Dance Europe Magazine, Forbes, and Vice. She also works in Arts Administration as Gibney Company’s manager.