In Conversation with Adrienne Lipson

In Conversation with Adrienne Lipson


We caught up with Adrienne Lipson, a contemporary dancer currently living in Tel Aviv, Israel to talk to her about her creative journey and her latest short dance film, ‘Moon Dogs’. The story follows two astronauts as they explore life on a new planet…and you know at BISKIT we love stories inspired by space! When Adrienne reached out to us a few months ago to use our RS SPACESUITS for her two astronauts, we were more than thrilled to get involved. Now as ‘Moon Dogs’ is finally out, we thought we would use this moment to get to know Adrienne a bit more and explore her journey as a dancer.

The Interview is juxtaposed with images of Adrienne walking around the streets of Tel Aviv wearing our RS SPACESUIT. Images by Cesar Brodermann.


HARSHA BIS (BISKIT): Hi Adrienne! Congratulations on Moon Dogs - we are really excited to see this project come to life. Before we get deeper into that, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

ADRIENNE LIPSON: I am a contemporary dancer, originally from London, Canada and am currently living and working in Tel Aviv, Israel since July 2020. I moved to Tel Aviv to join the Batsheva Young Ensemble which has a rather unique role in the Israeli and global dance scene. Apart from the job essentials (learning dances, creating dances, performing these dances) being part of this company has allowed me to join the research of Gaga - a movement language created by Ohad Naharin. It is something in constant development, and I feel that now more than ever with this recent relocation and the current pandemic, my role and identity as a dancer and an artist is in flux. 


BISKIT: Have you always wanted to be a dancer? How did this journey start for you? 

ADRIENNE: I didn’t always want to dance, I wanted to do everything. As a kid I drew, I painted, I wrote, I played music, and I tried my best to sing and act. Eventually it was my mom who nudged me into finding more focus. I stuck with dance because it was the place where I felt I was taken the most seriously. I had an amazing teacher growing up that demanded integrity and showed me the breadth of what the art form could really be. The more you put into it, the deeper your connection and understanding of yourself and those around you. It was endless! My first professional contract was in 2013 with Hubbard Street 2, the junior company of a repertoire dance company called Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Nearly eight years later and I still feel like there is so much to learn and experience from this art form. 


Adrienne Lipson, Tel Aviv, 2021


BISKIT: As someone with little knowledge about the the contemporary dance world, if there was one dancer I have to know about, who would that be and why?

ADRIENNE: If you are interested in understanding the world that I am in, especially in Israel, I think you should know about Ohad Naharin. He is really a living legend. As a choreographer, he has made some of the most iconic and beautiful contemporary choreography I have ever seen, and during his tenure as artistic director of the Batsheva Dance Company, he cultivated a truly stunning cast of dancers. He demands a lot and can be rather tough, but what I’ve felt in myself and my peers is the incredible information he has to offer and the amazing things he can pull out of each of us. If you want to learn more about him, his life, and his work, you can always check out his documentary, Mr. Gaga, or the Netflix documentary series ‘Move’. 


BISKIT: When I was researching your work, I came across a few different projects that you have worked on. Is there one in particular that's your favorite and would like to talk about?

ADRIENNE: One of my favourite projects that I have ever worked on is Undercover Episodes, a site-specific work by choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams. Undercover Episodes was a piece built to be able to fill any space it is put into (bars, breweries, restaurants, art museums, and even people’s private homes), and that kind of proximity to the audience creates a truly magical experience. It’s something that I miss, especially during this time of social distancing. Robyn’s choreographic process has also been a huge inspiration to me as I’ve moved on to make my own work. I’ve learned a lot from her physical curiosity, her embracing of idiosyncrasies, and her personal approach to making dance. 


Still from ‘Moon Dogs’ - Directed, Produced, and Choreographed by Adrienne Lipson


Two sad stars left the earth for moon. In another world, who will they become?

‘Moon Dogs’ is inspired by loneliness, goodbyes, and outer space. Two astronauts are caught in a transitory void in which their comfort and humanity is stretched. Yet with every transition, there is the promise of a fresh start – a chance to reinvent oneself and one’s precious world. Ultimately, the two space travellers find one another – together, beside the moon


BISKIT: Can you tell us a bit about Moon Dogs? What inspired you to explore space? 

ADRIENNE: The project is a short dance film called Moon Dogs. Two astronauts are on their way to start a life on a new planet, and through their angst and adventure find a moment of something close to joy. In a general way, I feel like their journey parallels my own anxieties that I experienced in moving here to Israel. I tried my best to use my fear and loneliness as a source of creativity, instead of something that would shut me down. Space, to me, feels like a neutral expression of the unknown. The idea of it, the reality of it, and the huge feelings that outer space brings up felt like it could be a great setting to plop my dancers into. The idea for space actually came after we had made a lot of the choreographic material, and so it was a nice part of the process to explore how this new environment would affect the dancers both physically and emotionally. 


Still from ‘Moon Dogs’ - Directed, Produced, and Choreographed by Adrienne Lipson


BISKIT: How was your experience producing this project? What was the most fun and most challenging aspect of it?

ADRIENNE: Producing Moon Dogs was both an incredibly rewarding and stressful experience for me. While the process with the dancers in the studio was smooth and light hearted, my own doubts and insecurities created a lot of unnecessary drama in my own head. I think it can feel vulnerable to put out your own work, whether as a new or even more established maker, and having a larger team of collaborators and more automatic support than I was used to made me feel a responsibility to produce something amazing. What I’ve learned from this is how to forge ahead despite self-doubt, and that it is ok to lean on the community that you have around you. The most exciting and fun moment of the process for me was our filming day. It was incredible to see all the elements (the dance, the music, the lights, the costumes!) finally come together, and to witness the entire production and creative team working diligently towards making this vision of outer space a reality. I realize that a creative process is at any time, let alone during a pandemic, a gift. I am truly grateful to Batsheva, to Biskit, and to all my collaborators for the whole experience. 


Still from ‘Moon Dogs’ - Directed, Produced, and Choreographed by Adrienne Lipson




BISKIT: What do you like to do when you are seeking inspiration? 

ADRIENNE: If I’m seeking inspiration I try to slow myself down and become more present and aware of my surroundings. In lockdown it can be hard to find the stimulation of anything new, so I try to reimagine what I see and search for things I’ve never noticed before. I’ll go for bike rides or walks, and always remind myself to look up! If I’m looking for inspiration specifically to create dance, I often spend a lot of time searching for and listening to music. Sometimes all it takes is hearing one song that creates a powerful atmosphere or conjures up a world that I’ve never considered before, and this can be the catalyst for an entire concept of a piece. 



BISKIT: This is something I have begun asking all creative people I interview - How much of creativity is down to instinct - a moment of inspiration - and how much of it is down to consistent action, habits, and repetition?

ADRIENNE: I believe creativity is more involved with the bravery to take consistent action than needing to have that ‘eureka’ moment of inspiration. In the same way that an amazing idea will go nowhere without actual effort, a lot of great work can come out of a very simple, universal, or even undeveloped idea. The key for me is consistent action on the project, the willingness to try over and over again, and to keep going despite my own voices of doubt or negativity. I’ve learned that for me, I can’t get too hung-up on the vision before I start something. I would shut myself down before I even started because I would judge my own ideas, claiming they were not original enough, thoughtful enough, cool enough... What I’ve realized is that the creativity or uniqueness of something comes through in the process of making many small decisions. We are all unique and we all make different choices. To be creative is to keep making decisions until you have a piece, while staying true to yourself and what you like. 




BISKIT: If you have to define your style with one piece of clothing, what would it be?

ADRIENNE: My style in a single piece of clothing would be this vintage German sports shirt that I bought in Pilsen, a neighborhood in Chicago that I used to live in, that I recently hand embroidered with three koi fish in a circle (a design loosely inspired by the Space Dog Biskit tee). I love to mix basics with unique vintage finds that have something special to them. It’s all about the little details! I also love clothing that has a story attached to it, or a specific memory that makes it even more personal. 


BISKIT: Yes, I couldn’t agree more - It’s all in the details. And it also sounds like we all need one of those embroidered Koi Fish shirts in our lives! Finally, how can people find you online and explore more of your work? 

ADRIENNE: You can find me mostly on Instagram @adrlipson where I share my artistic pursuits including my dancing, choreography, painting, and embroidery, and other things I am interested in! You can also check out the Batsheva website to follow the happenings of the company.