We had the good fortune of connecting with Phannie Haver and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Phannie, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I am from Denver originally which is the reason I’m back living in Denver now. In my opinion, really in my experience, each moment of life, each chapter is a building block for the next. Neurologically speaking this is also true, we build the template of how we perceive in early development and that is our foundation for experience. My upbringing made me very observant, a trait that I believe has been a significant contributor to who I am today. I was exposed to a lot of different experiences and people through my entire family life. Spending time at music festivals, traveling to different countries, being in many different environments made me both independent and respectful of who or where ever I was. Since my early teenage years I’ve been observing myself and my experience and always asking why. This skill is now what I rely on for being both present and continually transforming into who I want to become.
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.
The journey to finding my particular artistic expression has not been one of ease. Starting out as a dancer there wasn’t really a model or pathway to take other than going to dance for someone else. I’ve always struggled with the culture and politics of dance; the body shaming, the peer comparison, the hierarchy, the lack of self agency. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of gifts in dance training but the culture in which these sit, never sat right with me. I knew I didn’t want to be a part of the ‘classical dance world’ but I couldn’t see what was left for me outside of that. Lots of weird dance gigs and creating of things myself helped to cultivate the direction I wanted to head but I still felt as though I was walking an unlit path, just blinding stepping forward hoping there was something there to meet my foot. Fast forward several years to teaching dance back in Denver I had a lot of people around me saying I should have my own dance company. Again I was faced with not wanting to fall into the mold that was already there; stage performance, seasons, non-profit, auditions. I could feel I wanted to start making work in that way but wasn’t sure how I wanted to express it. RLM (Radical Love Movement) was born from circumstance. I was recommended to ArtGym to do a piece for their Ephemeral showing. After creating that piece and performing it with my good friend and dancer Les Martin I realized that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to created meaningful movement pieces that I put out in front of people. Reminding them of their own bodies, their own rhythms. In creating RLM I didn’t want to just choreograph abstract pieces to perform around. I wanted our work to be process oriented, to personally and as group dive into the lived experience of the body, the day to day experience of being human and share that with our audience. We work very backwards in the sense that as a group we come together in a practice inspired by and evolved from Authentic Movement, see the common themes that we are all expressing, create the concept container and allow our movement to create the show. It is a real unfolding process. One full of uncertainty and trust. This evolution has brought us to creating a dance for film with Mnemocine Pictures, using our process of creating as the storyline for the film. We are currently in the crowd funding phase of this project, which brings me to another big hurtle in being an ‘off-the-beaten-path’ artistic endeavor, funding. It is so hard to find funding for the arts, especially ones that people don’t understand yet. It’s near impossible to get granted if you never have been before, or if you don’t have personal relationships with those doing the granting. I feel like arts funding falls into the ‘bystander theory’ everyone assumes someone else will do it, but the arts need your help as large or as little as you’re willing to give. It’s extremely hard to monetize the work I do, especially through this last year. So if you love art, support it, whatever form it comes in. Anyways, the biggest lesson I’ve learned from my journey with RLM is to keep showing up just as you are, be honest with yourself and those you’re with, and trust the process. I’ve learned my heart will never lead me astray, and if I’m courageous enough to follow it my fulfillment is with me in each moment, not dependent on whatever outcome may arise. I’ve found I’m way more interested in my artistic expression being one in support of healing, reminding those who cross our path that you are a body, natural, of nature. That you are the maker of your experience and with some willingness and awareness you can become exactly what you feel is true in your heart.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This question is hard after the last year of little to no social engagement. So instead I think I’ll list the things I’m really looking forward to doing. Just sitting at my favorite neighborhood bar El Camino in the Highlands. Going to FT Greene by myself and people watching. Seeing a concert at red rocks.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This is never an easy question, but the person that I would like to shout out is Kaila June and her SomaKinese school. There is a huge paradigm shift happening at the moment in terms of how we model and understand the body and approaches to teaching about the body and movement. Kaila is masterful at both the re-educating of how the body works as well as creating a phenomenal movement practice Somatic Groundwork to support any-body into the most ideal and functional pattern. I am currently a student of hers and am continuously impressed and inspired by her genius and want more people to know about all she contributes to this world.