Interview: Christina Sirmons
Luca Curci talks with Christina Sirmons during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2022, at THE ROOM – Contemporary Art Space
Christina Sirmons is a performance artist, yoga instructor, dance teacher, and corrective exercise specialist based in San Diego, CA. Christina grew up in Houston, Texas to a Honduran immigrant mother and an American father. She has been a dancer and mover her entire life. With training in Middle Eastern dance since 2007 and yoga since 2009, she fuses this with an interpretive dance to provide elegant and intriguing performances. She especially loves to play with characters with an emphasis on shadow work. In August 2011 she obtained her certification in American Tribal Style (ATS) belly dance from the indomitable Carolena Nericcio.
Christina is known for her elegance, fluidity, and groundedness. She has enchanted audiences across the United States with her performances utilizing a compilation of props including sword, fire, veil, zills, LED props, and her own snakes! In 2010, she began performing with Living World Entertainment. The characters this company produces are the finest in performance art, and clients know to expect only the most elegant and ethereal performances. Christina has spent long hours over the years with the Creative Director, Priscilla Stephen, learning how to craft epic and unforgettable performances. She has now performed at over 100 events and galas across the United States! In addition, she is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) in Ashtanga yoga in the lineage of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She is a yoga therapist and corrective exercise specialist at a chiropractic clinic in downtown San Diego under the direction of Dr. Peter Mackay. Her focus on movement has always included safety and longevity. Christina believes her role as a performer is in essence to be in service. Performance has the potential to provide inspiration and something they have never seen before, maybe even something they didn’t even think was possible. The directors of this film, Tara Adkins and Christina Sirmons, have been dance partners for over 10 years and have traveled the country performing in corporate and private events and galas. They have both been trained in Fusion Belly Dance by some of the same world-renown instructors while developing their respective, unique dance and performance skill sets. They both have a love of dark, quirky, and odd artistic expressions, so their collaboration was a natural fit. This is Christina’s second dance film and Tara’s first.
Statement on “Ash”
This dance film was created as a tool for the directors to express the intense emotions they were feeling and witnessing around them throughout the time of this pandemic. Many have lost loved ones, lost careers, experienced hatred, and seen devastation. The directors themselves have endured trying and maddening times. Feelings of grief, confusion, isolation, anger, frustration, and anguish permeate the interaction between the two dancers in the film. From its inception, the Salton Sea was identified as the perfect backdrop to house these emotions with its post-apocalyptic seaside desolation. Our location consultant, a former resident of El Centro, provided valuable guidance for this film. The Salton Sea is a sparkling body of water surrounded by majestic mountains and a hauntingly beautiful desert. A closer look reveals the ecological trauma to the lake itself and the devastation to the communities surrounding the sea. The State of California and the US Department of Agriculture have spent millions of dollars to rehabilitate the poisoned lake, however, it remains a public health crisis. Despite all of this, people still live there. They create art, haul in majestic art installations, and have fashioned a unique and fascinating place they call Home. From the devastation comes new life just as a fire’s ash feeds the earth nourishing new growth. There is something here everyone can relate to. The human experience is portrayed here at the Salton Sea.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Christina Sirmons – I have noticed what I do comes from intensely pursuing my passions which typically then become my obsessions. I dedicate much focus and discipline to that which sparks my interest. It becomes part of my artistic expression and then my career as well. Artistic movement and therapeutic movement is part of my entire career. It is also how I move emotions through my body. Whenever I feel stuck, I know that breath, movement, and dance is always the answer.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
CS – I believe the role of the artist in society can never be stressed enough. The artist is a synthesizer of feeling, raw materials, research, physical abilities, and the environment. An artist assists in our understanding of ourselves and the world around us creating works that inform, encourage, inspire, and perhaps even keep us from losing ourselves completely. In contemporary art, the artist is a reflection of the current times, not stuck rehashing methods of the past. The contemporary artist is always looking forward, challenging ideas, pressing boundaries back, and creating ever newer definitions of what art can be.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
CS – These days I think an artist must be a multi-disciplinarian. In order to compete with rapidly advancing technology and globalism, the artist not only has to continually work to perfect their craft, but they must also learn IT, software, social media, marketing, promoting, photo editing, video editing, and the list go on. It is a daunting task and some people have been able to find a way through the maze and show what makes them unique among the vast amount of content out there. It takes constant foresight and re-imagining. I think it is also important for any artist to note that this does not have to be done solo! It is crucial to bring in other artists to work synergistically so that everyone’s portfolio has the opportunity to benefit from the symbiotic relationship. This can create an ecosystem with a much farther reach.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
CS – I think the concept of Body Language was an essential reminder of the importance of ritual. As an artist of traditional Middle Eastern dance as well as interpretive dance, I attempt to show the connection between the past, present, and future through ritual performances.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
CS – I think It’s Liquid has discovered a brilliant way to gather diverse, striking, and unique works of art from artists around the world for display and interaction.