The story of Watson Dance began with one woman and her dream. Scratch that. More accurately, the story began with dismissal that, in turn, fueled a dream. Impassioned with the need to produce and not supplied with ample opportunity, Irene Watson of Watson Dance took matters into her own hands, forming her own company in 2009.
Originally founded as Watson Dance Ensemble, the company’s repertoire features a collaborative environment which gives members a space to create and navigate the relationships between dancers and choreographers. Four years later, Watson Dance has dropped the “Ensemble” name, and now presents works that explore all types of relationships through movement. These works start as an idea, or observation about an existing relationship in the world, and when manifested in movement, often turn into something altogether different.
While the Watson Dance pieces themselves lack a linear narrative, each selection gives the viewer an opportunity to react. Audiences are invited to relinquish the impulse to “get” or understand the piece in favor of simply noticing their response to the movement.
With gestural movement as the foundation, Watson Dance’s expression of humanity is embedded in the choreography as the dancers explore a range of energetic and spatial levels. The movement itself initiates from the joints and drives the body through the choreography using momentum. This momentum originates from the sporadic turning on and off of tension in the muscles, as well as the ever shifting balance.
Watson Dance has performed at festivals and venues all over Orange County and the Los Angeles area including the MixMatch Dance Festival, Friends/Family Dance Festival, and Dance Bistro at the Carpenter Center for Performing Arts. Watson Dance has also performed in support of various community organizations such as Vital Link, Helping Hearts, the Community Foundation of Orange County, the Orange County Museum of Art and the Moving Hearts Foundation.
It is a goal of Watson Dance to give emerging artists a place for creative collaboration and experimentation in movement which then culminate in performances. Watson Dance also strives to expose young dancers to contemporary dance techniques through workshops, collaborations, master classes and public performances.
The story of Watson Dance is being written by the world it comes in contact with. Daily interactions provide a constant source of inspiration and the company is dedicated to solving, answering and rationalizing human connection by means of kinetic thought.
Irene Watson – Artistic Director
Irene Watson is a dancer, costume designer, and contemporary choreographer based in Orange County, Calif. She has performed nationally with the Disney company and regionally with modern choreographers including Ashley Dragon, Amythyst Fritzler and Estela McNaughton. Watson’s choreography has been set on every type of mover from professional to novice, including children, adults and the occasional puppet.
Inspired by interactions she observes in the world around her, Watson’s choreography showcases a variety of human emotions whether it be through dramatic modern technique or comedic ballet variations.
Watson has training in ballet, modern, tap, jazz and improvisation from teachers such as Nanette Brodie, Shana Menaker, Teresa Avina, Christine Baltes, Laurie Hirschl, Amelie Hunter and Linda Sohl-Ellison. Watson has taken several modern workshops from artists such as Keith Johnson of Keith Johnson/Dancers, Holly Johnston of Ledges and Bones, Maria Gillespie of Oni Dance, and Jones Welsh of Not a Man Apart. She has also taken Countertechnique workshops with master teacher Nina Wolney, Philipe Freck, and Kira Blazek.
Watson’s collection of dance works is vast and varied and has been featured in several venues in Southern California. Watson has showcased her company at the Muckenthaller Cultural Center in Fullerton, the Friends/Family Dance Festival in Pasadena, MixMatch Dance Festival in Santa Monica, the OC Market Place in Santa Ana, Dance Bistro at the Carpenter Center in Long Beach and HH11 in Santa Barbara.
Watson’s choreographic goal is to make her pieces something the audience can relate to, whether it be absurd or humbling. Without over-analyzing the meaning behind the movement, Watson hopes for the audience to simply respond to the dance they observe, whether the movement generates confusion, joy, terror or questions.
Por Que No? 2010, DePietrio’s Performance Center, Santa Ana, CA
End of Summer Dance Concert 2009, Muckenthaller Cultural Center, Fullerton, CA
- Tell me a Story -or- Let’s Chat, Interactive improvisation, MixMatch Dance Festival 2016, HH11 Dance Festival 2017
- Lights Out, Contemporary, MixMatch Dance Festival 2015, Buzz (Santa Barbara) 2015, Friends/Family/Dance/Festival 2015, Awakenings and Beginnings 2016, HH11 Dance Festival 2016,
- Form and Function, Contemporary, MixMatch Dance Festival 2015
- Forces Unseen, Contemporary, The Hive presents Buzz 2014
- The I in Team, Contemporary, MixMatch Dance Festival 2014
- Ladies In Waiting, Contemporary, MixMatch Dance Festival 2013, Minty (Santa Barbara) 2013, HH11 Dance Festival 2015, Friends/Family/Dance/Festival 2015
- Forces Unseen, Contemporary/ Modern, MixMatch Dance Festival 2013
- Live Painting, Modern/Painting, in collaboration with artist Jamie Kough, Pacific Symphony’s Re-Rite of Spring 2013
- Spontaneous Motation, Contemporary, Dance Bistro 2013, Carpenter Center for Performing Arts
- Not So Still Life, Contemporary/Modern/live painting, Helping Hearts Gala 2013
- Not So Still Life, Contemporary/Modern, Community Foundation of Orange 2013
- Friends, Acquaintances, Beloved, Contemporary, Friends/Family/Dance/Festival 2012
- Ooohdalollie, Contemporary, MixMatch Dance Festival 2012
- Elvis Flash Mob- Main Place Mall, Musical Theater, Elvis Festival, OC Market Place
- Sketchy Characters, Contemporary Film
- Friends, Acquaintances, Beloved, Contemporary (video integration), MixMatch Dance Festival 2011
- Just Dance-Hard Core Edition, Contemporary (video integration), MixMatch Dance Festival 2011
- Vital Link- Flash Mob, Jazz/hip hop, Vital Link Benefactors Lunch
- Frog Belly Ratbone, Children’s theater, Rogue Artists Ensemble
- Spontaneous Motation, Contemporary (audience integration), Watson Dance, Por Que No?
- Commiseration Over a Stupid Boy, Contemporary, Watson Dance, Por Que No?
- Lippers, Improvisation, Watson Dance, Por Que No?
- Danc A150, Improvisation, Watson Dance, Por Que No?
- Excerpts From The Sleeping Beauty, Ballet comedy, Watson Dance, End of Summer Dance Concert
- Rebound, Modern, Sunrise Ballet, in collaboration with Laurie Hirschl
- Geometry, Contemporary ballet, Sunrise Ballet
- Mammas a GoGo, Modern, Sunrise Ballet
- Family Lullaby, Contemporary ballet, Golden West College
- Kitri’s Variation-many years later, Comical ballet en point, Sunrise Ballet
- Nutcracker, 2006, Battle Soloists, Russian Variation, Sunrise Ballet Theater
- Nutcracker, 2007, Battle Scene, Arabian Variation, Sunrise Ballet Theater
- Nutcracker, 2008, Battle Scene, Russian Variation, Sunrise Ballet Theater
- 76 Trombones, Ballet en point, Hirschl School of Dance Arts
- A Pretty Waltz, Ballet, Hirschl School of Dance Arts
- Pizzicatos and Piques, Ballet, Hirschl School of Dance Arts
- Mr. Zoot Suit, Jazz, Hirschl School of Dance Arts
- Keep On, Musical Theater, Hirschl School of Dance Arts
- Ladies in Waiting, Contemporary, Minty (Santa Barbara) 2013
- Spontaneous Motation, Contemporary, Dance Bistro 2013, Carpenter Center for Performing Arts
- Friends, Acquaintances, Beloved, Contemporary, Nancy Evans Dance Theater Friends/Family Dance Festival 2012
- Ooohdalollie, Contemporary, Mix Match Dance Festival 2011
- Knot, Ashley Dragoon, Modern, Orange Coast College 2010, LA Movement Artists, Momentum 2011
- Just Dance-Hard Core Edition, Contemporary, Mix Match Dance Festival 2011
- Friend or Foe, Amythyst Fritzler, Contemporary, ACDF (Informal) 2012,
Orange Coast College Faculty Concert 2011
- Chesty as a Peacock, Amythyst Fritzler, Modern,Orange Coast College Faculty Concert 2011,
Santa Barbara Dance Alliance, Kinesis 2011
- Birth of Resemblance, Shana Menaker, Modern, Orange Coast College Faculty Concert
- Lippers, Irene Watson, Improvisation, Watson Dance, Por Que No?
- Danc A150, Irene Watson, Improvisation, Watson Dance, Por Que No?
- Rhumba Dogs, Ashley Dragon, Improvisation, Kimora Quartet and Movement Artists
- Always go Up, Ashley Dragon,Improvisation, Kimora Quartet and Movement Artists
- Strauss, Ashley Dragon,Improvisation, Kimora Quartet and Movement Artists
- Halfdome, Ashley Dragon, Improvisation, Kimora Quartet and Movement Artists
- Bass and Sax, Improvisation, Kimora Quartet and Movement Artists
- This is not a Crosswalk, Ashley Dragon, Modern,Watson Dance, End of Summer Dance Concert
- Rain Dances, Jeff Raschatory, Modern, Watson Dance, End of Summer Dance Concert
- Excerpts From The Sleeping Beauty, Irene Watson, Ballet comedy, Watson Dance,
End of Summer Dance Concert
- Disney’s float in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
- Industrial Productions, Disneyland
- Disney Mobil Launch, Disneyland
- A Year of a Million Dreams Tour, Disneyland
- Disneyland Band Concert, Disneyland
- Music in the Park, Award Ceremonies, Disneyland
- Heritage Festival, Award Ceremonies, Disneyland
- The Nutcracker, Rat Queen, Irene Watson, Ballet, Sunrise Ballet Theater
- Indigenous Call, Estella McNaughton, Modern, Orange Coast College 2010
- Nannette Brodie, Shana Menaker, Linda Sohl-Ellison,
- Kieth Johnson (Keith Johnson/Dancers), Holly Johnston (Ledges and Bones), Maria Gillespie (Oni Dance), Phillip Freck and Nina Wollny (Countertechnique), Jones Welsh (Not A Man Apart)
- Teresa Avina, Christine Baltes, Linda Sohl-Ellison
- Shana Menaker, Jones Welsh
- Nannette Brodie, Caroline Crumly, Laurie Hirschl, Amelie Hunter
- Donna Place
- Linda Sohl-Ellison
Young Choreographers Project, Los Angeles, CA
choreography (intensives, master classes, workshops)
Momentum Dance Center, Yorba Linda, CA
Contemporary, jazz, improvisation, choreography, kid dance
Ages 4- teen
Nicholas Junior High, Anaheim, CA, Guest Artist
Hirschl School of Dance Arts, Anaheim, CA
ballet, jazz, modern
Ages 3- adult
- Ladies in Waiting, Irene Watson
- Forces Unseen, Irene Watson
- Live Painting, Irene Watson/Jamie Kough
- Ooohdalollie, Irene Watson
- Friends, Acquaintances, Beloved, Irene Watson
- Just Dance -Hard Core Edition, Irene Watson
- Spontaneous Motation, Irene Watson
- Commiseration Over a Stupid Boy, Irene Watson
- Excerpts From Sleeping Beauty, Irene Watson
- Danc A150, Irene Watson
- Raindances, Jeff Raschatory
- Friend or Foe, Amythyst Fritzler
- Sounds Inside, Estella McNaughton
- Chesty as a Peacock, Amythest Fritzler
- Remembering the Unremembered, Nickerson Rossi Dance
- Hirschl School of Dance Arts Spring Production 2008
- Sunrise Ballet Theater’s Nutcracker 2008
- Kitri’s Variation-many years later, Hirschl School of Dance Arts
- Measure of Play, Orange Coast College student choreography
- Family Lullaby, Golden West College Student Dance Concert
- Mammas a GoGo, Hirschl School of Dance Arts’ Aim High
- Board of Directors, Program Development, Young Choreographers Project
- Assistant Choreographer, Man of no Importance, Chance Theater
- Dance Instructor, Momentum Dance Center
- Entertainment, Character Events, Disneyland
- Fine Arts Liaison, Meet the Masters Coordinator,Van Buren Elementary
- Dance Instructor, Hirschl School of Dance Arts