We had the good fortune of connecting with Morgan Kulas and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Morgan, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Like many creatives, I have learned over time the value of taking risks. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron teaches her students to “leap” so the net can appear. There have been many moments throughout my life where I have lept without knowing where (or if) I might land on stable ground. Reflecting, I can see that any of the success I’ve experienced, has been a result of this faith and risk, as well as a sincere commitment to learning, continued growth, and craft.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For the past twelve years, I have been working full-time as a dance teacher, yoga teacher, and choreographer. Most of my concert dance choreography has been featured in medium-sized venues such as Tedx Vail, Colorado’s Art in Public Places, The Vilar Center for the Performing Arts in Beaver Creek Colorado, and L2 Arts and Culture Center in Denver.
Dancers are rigorous technicians, our work is edited scrupulously and presented ephemerally. This is why I have turned to the camera as a method of documenting my investigations. The way I see it, movement and photography are synergistic mediums that potentiate one another.
I choose to be an artist because, in this scarcity driven time, practically everything we download is selling us a narrative. It has been my experience that when we stop seeking outside of ourselves for remedies and assurances, and we tune into the body, the reverberation is a deep sense of embodiment and autonomy. Art is the instrument through which I can share complex questions and concerns, without wielding the weapon of persuasion. For me, it’s all in the questions.
Inquiries that might inform my creative process include and are not limited to…what am I defending? What am I resisting? What is my anger teaching me about boundaries? What is the intersection of pain and pleasure? Of attraction and aversion? The danger of indifference? And how does all of this influence my relationship with self, others, and nature?
I began my dance training like many, not too long after learning how to walk. Even that young, I believe I experienced shifts in consciousness through the techniques. At nineteen I was introduced to Yoga while receiving my BFA at Chicago College of Performing Arts and suddenly there were articulations for what I had been experiencing through dance practice. This sort of molting that happens when one connects the body to the breath to the mind and spirit. I was hooked.
Whether through creative work or teaching dance and yoga, the goal of everything I do is to transform suffering into wisdom and approach life with deep sincerity and curiosity.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Being a Denver native, some of my favorite city activities include going to the Denver Art Museum, vintage shopping on Broadway, seeing live music at one of Denver’s many amazing music venues, or spending countless hours at the Tattered Cover. It’s also enjoyable to take people for a drive into the mountains (where I live now) and I especially love the Buena Vista/Salida area. My partner and I do a lot of backpacking and rafting during the summers, and he’s a big skier and fly fisherman as well. Covid 19 has certainly changed what we are able to do, but under normal circumstances, these are some of the things I enjoy.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am one of those lucky human beings who has been blessed with many mentors and guides throughout my life. And I am certain that I would not be who I am today without them. Perhaps this is because at a young age I was absorbed in the arts, where mentorship is central to one’s development. Or perhaps it’s simply luck of the draw, I don’t know. My first mentor was Kim Kinnear who owns Parker Dance Academy in Douglas County Colorado. Movement is my life purpose. It is the vehicle through which I relate to the world most authentically. However, what makes Kim Kinnear’s influence pivotal to my maturation, is our spiritual connection. I suffered a lot growing up, and her office door was always open. I would stay late after dance classes talking with her, mostly about social concerns I had that my peers didn’t seem to lose sleep over. I’ve always been deeply concerned about the state of the world, about equality, non-violence, consumption, the environment. Kim shared my concerns and was the first adult in my life who witnessed the world with a similar sort of curiosity. From this sense of safety, I was able to be my true self. She would often say “I believe in you”, words I really needed to hear from an adult, and words that have echoed in my heart ever since.
All images I took myself. The first is an Art Piece titled “Rapacious” (Digital Collage by Morgan Kulas, 9″ x 6″, 2020)