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Laist Interview: Choreographer Kitty McNamee

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Kitty McNamee is the artistic director and founder of Hysterica Dance Company, which was founded in 1997. Her primary training is in modern dance, but Hysterica’s visceral, physical work draws on influences from cinema, music, and popular culture.

The LA Times wrote this about Hysterica in 2002: “Choreographer Kitty McNamee sees contemporary pop culture too clearly to be seduced by its lies. Probing it in a series of eerie, neo-Expressionist dance dramas for her Hysterica Dance Co., she’s found layers of alienation, fear, and desperate pretense.”

There are two opportunities coming up to see Hysterica’s work – a new work-in-progress premiere at REDCAT and a benefit to support the company.

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The benefit takes place this weekend, Sept. 23 and 24, 8pm at FOCUSfish performance space, 6121 Santa Monica Blvd., Studio B, Hollywood CA. Tickets are $20. The performance will feature dance from all genres by members and friends of Hysterica, including Ryan Heffington, Bubba Carr, Tovaris Wilson, Lisa K. Lock, Mandy Moore and more. Detailed info at

The new work in progress “reflex,” will be performed at REDCAT/studio, 631 West 2nd St, LA CA 90012, Oct. 2 and 3 at 8:30 pm. Tickets are $10. For reservations, call (213) 237-2800 or go online to

Age and Occupation:

How long have you lived in Los Angeles, and which neighborhood do you live in?
12 years, currently Mt. Washington, I lived in Hollywood for many years.

Why do you choose to live in Los Angeles?
My work is here, it is a great environment for the arts. A lot of unique, creative dancers gravitate to LA.

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What gave you the idea to start Hysterica Dance Company? How did the company come to exist?
I was getting some work as a commercial choreographer, but not enough to fulfill me creatively. my background was in concert dance and theater, so I decided to combine the two and make dance theater works.

How was the name Hysterica chosen for the company? Does it symbolize anything?
The name just came to me. It means many things, none of them easy to explain….it is more a feeling of intense creativity.

Why is Hysterica primarily focused on modern dance? What does “modern” dance mean to you?
Are you interested in other forms as well?

I feel that the work we do is more contemporary, really in the dance theater world. I am very interested in mixing all mediums of dance. The physical side of the work is actually ballet based. I am very interested in hip hop.