Multi-Passionate Artists Podcast
Episode #75 – Colleen Snell is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Frog in Hand. She works with a broad range of dance and movement organizations in a variety of roles including educator, choreographer, collaborator, outside eye, fight director, and performer.
Colleen’s choreographic tendencies lean toward large-scale ensemble work and stories inspired by science fiction. Her collaborative choreographic process and work are highly regarded, as is her work in improvisation and site-specific production.
Multi-Passionate Artists Podcast with Artistic Director, Dancer, Choreographer, Educator & Fight Director Colleen Snell
[00:00:00.850] – Diane Foy
Welcome to Multipassionate Artists, featuring conversations with visual and performing artists along with other creative souls on their journey, process and entrepreneurship. I am your host, Diane Foy. My purpose is to help multi passionate artists embrace their values, ambitions, and story so that they can slide into the spotlight with the impact and income to match.
[00:00:32.030] – Diane Foy
Hello and welcome to Episode 75 of Multi Passionate Artists. I’m so excited about all the upcoming episodes I have in the works for you, along with interviews with a variety of multipassionate artists. I’m going to try out a new format with real live coaching sessions. An artist just like you will volunteer to be in the hot seat to be coached to a solution by me. Topics will include how to choose, what to focus on when you have so many interests, how to set achievable goals, how to break through creative blocks and limiting beliefs, and how to show up authentically in everything that you do.
[00:01:18.050] – Diane Foy
Of course, PR marketing strategies will come up. However, I believe that you can’t really be successful in promotion without first building a solid foundation with authentic personal branding. Shoot me an email podcast at dianfoy.Com.
[00:01:36.040] – Diane Foy
If you’re interested in volunteering to get a coaching session for the show, I want to shout out a new review for the podcast and the first for multipassionate artists. Rena, A. M. Says love this podcast, and I’m excited about the new name and focus. I’ve heard you do too much more often than I can count. Thanks to Diane for not only encouraging us to embrace all parts of ourselves, but to love these parts of ourselves. I can’t wait to learn more. Thank you so much. Rina
[00:02:13.790] – Diane Foy
today, my guest is Colleen Snell, the artistic director and cofounder of Frog in Hand. She works with a broad range of dance and movement organizations in a variety of roles, including educator, choreographer, collaborator, outside eye, fight director and performer. Colleen’s choreographic tendencies lean towards large scale ensemble work and stories inspired by science fiction. Her collaborative choreographic process and work is highly regarded as is her work in improvisational and site specific production. Colleen devises and performs collaborative work with musicians, spoken word poets, actors, fight directors, and visual and martial artists. She holds a master’s degree in dance from England’s London Contemporary Dance School and regularly choreographs and dances with a variety of dance theater companies.
[00:03:23.090] – Diane Foy
Colleen frequently acts as fight choreographer with a specialty in site specific dance based movement sequences. I’m not sure I totally understand everything that she does, but our conversation was fascinating and I hope you enjoy it. I also want to apologize for my side of the conversation. The sound is horrible. For some reason. It wasn’t taking sound from my microphone and was taking from the laptop.
[00:04:00.110] – Diane Foy
Well, welcome to the newly rebranded show.
[00:04:06.170] – Colleen Snell
Thank you so much for having me.
[00:04:08.870] – Diane Foy
So you have a dance theater group in Mississauga, Ontario? Is that right?
[00:04:15.310] – Colleen Snell
Yeah, that’s right. We’re right by the Lake. We’re out in Port credit, Mississauga Cool.
[00:04:21.170] – Diane Foy
So, as you know, we’re focusing on multidisciplinary artists, multi, passionate. We all have a million different creative ideas going on our head. And we want to celebrate that instead of listening to the pick one thing, stick with it. Focus, niche, niche.
[00:04:44.090] – Colleen Snell
[00:04:44.830] – Diane Foy
So I think Frog in Hand is pretty much on the same wavelength of celebrating the many different types of art and creativity.
[00:04:56.450] – Colleen Snell
Yes, we are. Yeah. Frog in Hand started with a cast of frogs performing circus tricks. That’s the story that we like to tell. That’s where our name came from. It’s two sisters myself, Colleen Snell and Noelle. And we were playing in the backyard with frogs. I was about one, and my sister was five. So from this sort of humble debut, Springs are firm belief that art can happen in humble places just like our backyard. And so we’re now trained professionally. We’ve come a long way since the backyard circus of frogs.
[00:05:38.250] – Colleen Snell
And we’ve worked with many diverse artists and people. Dancers, choreographers, musicians, actors, spoken word poets, designers of all kinds, visual designers, but also sound designers, lighting designers, interactive projection designers. And we’re still inspired by where we find ourselves because we’re still working actively in our home neighborhood. And we are ambassadors for the arts here in Mississauga. And I would say we are storytellers above all. So that’s kind of where the junction of disciplines happens. It’s all about telling a good story. Yeah.
[00:06:25.830] – Diane Foy
I think we’re all coming from that place. When we are expressing ourselves, we’re expressing our own story experiences. And then when you can collaborate with other artists and get other ideas, it all just sparks from there. So what are some of the productions that you’ve done? And how do all these creative minds come together to form a certain production?
[00:06:54.290] – Colleen Snell
Yeah. This is a great question. So some of the pieces that we have done are the most recent one was called Stories in the Woods. That was a show that we did this August. And it’s a science fiction dance theater piece, essentially an outdoor performance that imagines the future of our local neighborhood. And it’s inspired by feelings of climate anxiety. When you think about the future and you’re not really sure what it holds in terms of what’s our environment going to look like in 50 or 100 years from now.
[00:07:32.590] – Colleen Snell
And things came together in an interesting way because we started crafting creatures and thinking about how they would move and what they would wear. And the multidisciplinary aspect almost became. You could think of it like transdisciplinary, because to create one character, we had glowing paint, which was activated by black light. There was a lighting element in a lot of the costumes, but in particular, one character and then how they danced, how they moved, and then the story of their character, how they were acting and how they were dressed.
[00:08:09.740] – Colleen Snell
All of this sort of came together. We’ve done a number of science fiction works. We did another piece called Creature, which Happened, took place in 2016 in an abandoned warehouse called the Small Arms Inspection Building. And that one was just imagining what happened in the past here during World War II. That place was, I guess, a gun factory, like a small arms, meaning they made leanfield rifles. And so we were sort of imagining what would happen if the past came to life and had an impact on present day.
[00:08:49.950] – Colleen Snell
We’ve done performances involving 2000 blocks. It’s called block Party, little blocks and medium blocks and large blocks that we made ourselves. We’ve done a piece called Fountain. Fountain was just a straight up dance, but it was in an unusual location. So it was in a fountain, a water fountain outside. Happily, it was great weather. So it felt really good to dance in a cold fountain. So we’ve done all kinds of pieces from sort of jazz. We did a jazz piece once inspired by Mayor Hazel McCallion
[00:09:27.820] – Colleen Snell
We called it Cafe and Rosette, and that was a Commission from a local festival. So we’ve done pieces that are very abstract and more contemporary. And then we’ve done pieces that are, I would say, more kind of using more mainstream stories and themes and dance movement styles.
[00:09:55.090] – Diane Foy
Right. And are these performances pieces? Are they meant for you invite an audience to watch, or is it for film or for both?
[00:10:08.470] – Colleen Snell
Well, in code. At times, we have done dance films, and we’ve made a radio play. But most of the pieces that I described, like the 2021 Stories in the Woods, was live and outdoors. And we have had pieces that are mostly live and intended for general audiences. Some of them are something that would happen at a local festival. So we pop up kind of wherever people are. We meet them where they’re at. So we will throw together a contemporary dance in a local festival. We’ve done the Toronto Fringe Festival a number of times.
[00:10:45.820] – Colleen Snell
We also self produce our works, and we work with kind of the local culture division and Bia. We love doing stuff in public places, which means sometimes it’s ticketed, but sometimes it’s in conjunction with another larger event, like the Mississauga Waterfront Festival. So that means that a lot of our shows are low cost or free, and we just really want to make the arts accessible to people, right?
[00:11:11.250] – Diane Foy
Yeah. That’s amazing. Fight director, advanced actor combatant. I need to know all about that.
[00:11:23.150] – Colleen Snell
Yeah. Oh, my gosh. It’s so wonderful. You bring that up because I was at the place where I trained earlier today. So what that means is that I trained as a you could think of it as someone who does fight choreography for film and for stage. So I’ve trained in a lot of different kinds of movement and weapon forms. So quarter staff, small sword, long sword, rapier and dagger, which is like two weapons and then things like found weapon and unarmed. So these are just more tools in the toolbox for me.
[00:12:05.840] – Colleen Snell
I got drawn into stage combat because who doesn’t like feeling epic and it’s also really fun to act. I had done martial arts when I was in London, England, and I wanted to continue kind of exploring martial arts as a movement practice. And then stage combat is a hybrid form because it brings martial arts together with acting to tell a story. And it’s important to think about your audience in stage combat, right. When you’ve watched a really great action movie, you know exactly what the characters want and exactly what’s happening to them in each moment.
[00:12:43.480] – Colleen Snell
And usually the fighting happens when words fail. So it’s been a really cool way of expressing myself or finding other ways to tell stories and build characters. And Interestingly. I find that stage combat is also really great. It improves your acting because you have to find clarity of movement and intent and partner somebody.
[00:13:09.510] – Diane Foy
[00:13:10.950] – Colleen Snell
[00:13:11.930] – Diane Foy
And so I get how you could probably mix that into your performances. But also have you done, like, work with actors on this on film or stage things like that?
[00:13:24.570] – Colleen Snell
Yeah. So I certified with Fight Directors Canada, which is a larger umbrella organization, and it is a really broad group of people who do lots of different things. And so I’ve worked on, for instance, I choreographed Romeo and Juliet just a very classic sword fight. I’ve worked with a lot of contemporary dancers who are similar skill sets to me, but want to bring fight into their work, in particular, in site specific or Immersive theater. And I’m really excited. I haven’t done a lot of film, but I would be really interested in branching out from live performance into film and even things like the technology is so amazing.
[00:14:10.430] – Colleen Snell
I would love to in the future do stuff like motion capture, although I haven’t been able to do that yet. I know lots of folks in the community are getting into video game work, and it’s surprisingly transferable skill. It has lots of different applications to many different kinds of media.
[00:14:26.550] – Diane Foy
Yeah. That’s really cool. So how did you get into all this? You mentioned your sister frog shows.
[00:14:37.110] – Colleen Snell
[00:14:37.700] – Diane Foy
What direction did that go in? Did you study dance first or what was your kind of creativity as a kid?
[00:14:46.650] – Colleen Snell
I definitely came into it from a dance perspective. I started training in a lot of different styles, like, you know, Diane, you must have spoken with loads of dancers who started at a competitive dance studio. Right. Right. You start out with the jazz tap ballet, which is like sort of the bread and butter. When you grow up in a suburban neighborhood, the dance studio is often what is available. So I began there and then I started doing more ballet, and I got really heavily into that. And then I discovered contemporary dance when I was in high school.
[00:15:22.210] – Colleen Snell
And so contemporary dance. I joined the Canadian Contemporary Dance theater CCDT, and I used to tour and perform with them at a pretty professional level when I was a young person. And those professional experiences made me want more. So I went to Montreal, and that’s when I became bilingual. That was a cool experience. Training at La Cul de Dance Contemporary de Morial, which is called EDCM. And then I went to London, England, so that I got to kind of branch out and go beyond, first of all, beyond Ontario and then beyond Canada to get a sense of what the big world is like out there.
[00:16:03.150] – Diane Foy
Yeah. And so master’s degree in dance from England’s, London Contemporary Dance School. What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned? And how long was the program and just tell me about that experience?
[00:16:16.650] – Colleen Snell
Yeah. So the master’s degree was in two phases. The first phase was to do a postgraduate diploma, which was kind of like a buffet of classes. There were a couple of pillar courses that everyone had to take, and then you got to select things based on your interest. So that was a very multidisciplinary program because I was able to train in martial arts as part of my course material. So I chose Aikido, which is a wonderful Japanese martial art. And that’s what started the whole kind of fighting sting.
[00:16:53.670] – Colleen Snell
And I got to do choreography and lots of different forms of dance that at the time hadn’t quite made their way to Canada yet. Things like Gaga technique, which is an improvisational methodology that comes through Israel, and it hadn’t really made it to North America. Or, I should say, I hadn’t found it in North America yet. And like, different kinds of improvisational, partnering techniques and even somatic approaches and stuff like seeing a lot of work when you go out and you just immerse yourself in, well, when you’re in Europe at the time, there was so much cultural mobility that we were able to see as a class, we were able to see dance companies from all over Europe who just didn’t really come to Canada.
[00:17:49.590] – Colleen Snell
And so just being able to see, like, the Acraman company performing or kind of go to see the paintings and even the British Museum like to see these ancient artifacts and those kinds of things. I think that had an influence on me just because it was really terrific to see stories that are beyond the Canadian stories or cultural experiences in exchange with colleagues, too. It’s so much about people you learn from the teachers. But you also really learn from the people around you. And I learned a lot.
[00:18:27.490] – Colleen Snell
I met people from really all over the world. Greece, Italy. I lived in a household of people who were each of them was from a different country. And so all languages were being spoken around me. And it was a very rich experience yeah.
[00:18:48.320] – Diane Foy
Sounds really cool. And how long were you there?
[00:18:51.050] – Colleen Snell
I was there for two and a half years.
[00:18:54.510] – Diane Foy
And then you came back to Canada, Ontario. I did.
[00:18:58.500] – Colleen Snell
I came back to Ontario, and I got a really stable teaching gig over at the Living Arts Center in Mississauga. And that was the first of a couple of gigs that came together. And then Frog in Hand happened. And we just started getting work. I came back originally to Canada because I needed to renew my visa. My student visa expired. But when I came back, I got work. And then London is a super expensive place to live. So I ended up staying here because there were lots of things going for it.
[00:19:34.950] – Diane Foy
Yeah. And so then what inspired you guys to form your own company with the two of you? And also, what was she trained in?
[00:19:46.120] – Colleen Snell
So my sister, yeah. She has trained in a lot of different things.
[00:19:50.870] – Diane Foy
She had your board.
[00:19:53.670] – Colleen Snell
Yeah. Well, another time or she can come on and talk because her practice is really interesting. She started off as a contemporary textiles. So that means she trained at Sheridan College, and she did things like felting and even paper making anything to do with texture lace work, trying to think of other things that are textile related. And from there, she went away to the school of the Art Institute of Chicago. So when she was at Sheridan, she really learned how to make things. When she went to Chicago, they really took that contemporary that textile practice and pushed it.
[00:20:35.380] – Colleen Snell
So she was thinking about abstract ideas and how to take the technique that she knew and really make it push it to make it convey ideas. And then when she started working with Frog in Hand, we didn’t set out to make a company. We started getting work together, and it was such a great vehicle for both of us that she started making costumes. But she had trained in textiles. She didn’t really know at the time how to draft a pattern or do those kinds of specific costume related things.
[00:21:11.960] – Colleen Snell
So she went back to school to Fanshaw. And that’s when she got her technical costume training. So now she knows all about how to gloss shoes. And she’s been specializing in making hats and all of these kinds of cool things that have now brought her into the film industry. So she’s with IoT, so she’s able to work on set and apply her costume knowledge. So she has an independent textile practice. She works with Frog in hand as our director of visual design. And she’s doing these still, these abstract installation projects.
[00:21:47.460] – Colleen Snell
So it’s lots of different work that she’s up to.
[00:21:50.670] – Diane Foy
That’s really cool. That’s what I love. It’s like there’s no need to separate all the different art forms because magic happens when we all get together and share our unique little skills and create something amazing. And how long has Frog and hand has been around.
[00:22:19.310] – Colleen Snell
Well, we established ourselves in 2012, so that’s ten years now almost. But we incorporated as a not for profit. So we kind of coalesced into a legal entity in 2016. So it’s been a little while now, and it’s pretty cool because we’re considered established, which is a bit of a recent thing, and I’m still not really used to it.
[00:22:42.430] – Diane Foy
Yeah. Because that’s another thing with creatives. We have so many ambitions that we’ve never done right.
[00:22:50.960] – Colleen Snell
And it’s one of those things like, I bet you when you introduce yourself at a party, it takes a moment, right. Because we are so much more than we’re more than the sum of the parts, right. That’s why I love working collaboratively, because even if, for instance, I’m a dance artist, I might have some ideas about lighting design or about connecting lighting to movement. And I feel the same way about the collaborators that as people, we have so much to offer. Right. And it’s really exciting when you approach work and even approach conversations, understanding that people are whole, right.
[00:23:34.830] – Colleen Snell
They’re not just like where they trained or what they specialized in. I think that’s a part of it. But you can definitely go beyond that. And that’s when it gets exciting.
[00:23:45.770] – Diane Foy
How do you introduce yourself at parties? Hey, How’s it going? This is so. And so what do you do?
[00:23:54.390] – Colleen Snell
I don’t know how to do it because it depends on the party, right. Like, if it’s a dance party, I could say site specific dance theater and people would understand site specific means in unusual places, like outside of a traditional theater and dance theater means that we’re dancing. But we’re telling stories sometimes. I also like to throw in stuff that’s about me. I really like exploring flavor over the pandemic. I was doing lots of cooking and exploring cocktails and flavor really interests me. So that’s one of those things where it’s kind of good to have the personal and the professional in a party setting.
[00:24:38.770] – Colleen Snell
I go back and forth, right. I think it’s one of those things where it really depends on your audience or the person you’re meeting the context.
[00:24:48.790] – Diane Foy
Yeah. And it’s good to add in those personality things and having something different instead of what do you do, right? Anything else?
[00:25:05.450] – Colleen Snell
A friend of mine recently said, if you ask someone how they are, they tell you what they’re doing. And if you ask someone what they’re doing, they tell you how they are. And I think that’s very true when it comes to creative people.
[00:25:19.070] – Diane Foy
Yeah. I’m all about personal branding and that’s kind of the direction I’m going in now because when you are multi, passionate, you have all these different things. People think society, they’re like you’re flaky. You have to pick one thing. You’re doing so many different things.
[00:25:42.830] – Colleen Snell
[00:25:43.420] – Diane Foy
But if you develop your personal brand, it’s all about you and celebrate all your different interests and passions and skills that you can kind of go anywhere with it and putting in that personality and making that personal connection. I always joke that cats, red wine and my love of Jackson, they’re part of my personal brand, right?
[00:26:10.440] – Colleen Snell
[00:26:11.110] – Diane Foy
I can go on forever about all my interests and what I actually do for a living. But this is those quirky little things, but it’s just like cats and wine and Jane Jackson.
[00:26:20.940] – Colleen Snell
Well, I listened to episode four of Singh Dance Act Thrive, and I was really taken by just how many things you are doing, as well as a practice and all of the commitment to education and to conversation and to promotion. And I think all of those things are really clearly connected as well. It seems, by a drive to meet people and to support folks.
[00:26:46.630] – Diane Foy
Yes. In my mind, it’s all connected, but it’s just other people that tell you you can’t. Yes. I haven’t listened to that in a while. I have to redo it for the new one. And I think I’m just going in that direction of well, don’t call me a Jack of all trades, master of none because I got stuff to back up. Absolutely. I was a makeup artist for ten plus years. I was a senior, and I’ve done stuff that back up. And now I’m kind of taking all of that in coaching artists of all forms.
[00:27:26.800] – Diane Foy
Performers, dancers, actors, musicians and painters and jewelry design. I do that, too.
[00:27:34.830] – Colleen Snell
[00:27:36.060] – Diane Foy
And saying, let’s celebrate everything that you want to do. And I can help you focus on because sometimes we have trouble focusing because we like to do so many different things. So I help my clients kind of focus in on. Okay. But what are the priority ones? Now let’s build that. And then you can always add in these other things later. I’m excited.
[00:28:03.750] – Colleen Snell
That’s terrific. Yes. That’s really wonderful. When you speak to a lot of creative people, there is a sense that the more you can do, almost the more marketable you become because as an example, being a highly specialized contemporary dance, unless you get a really great opportunity to be in a contemporary dance company, you might need a couple of other things that are going to help make the rent. So I don’t know, maybe I was just brought up with an attitude that was like if you speak multiple languages, if you’re interested in lots of different things, if you are able to do lots of different stuff, then you’ll have more opportunities and more doors will open.
[00:28:52.800] – Colleen Snell
So I feel like it comes from a place of just being curious about the world, this multidisciplinary attitude. But then you have this other side that sort of says and isn’t that pragmatic, too? Like it has a kind of marketability or professional outcomes that are also really positive.
[00:29:12.490] – Diane Foy
Yeah. And my many years as a publicist, I think about the media, too. And I just got tired of okay. Here’s yet another singer songwriter, musician. She does this kind of music, and she was born here and it’s like, okay, it’s boring.
[00:29:33.890] – Colleen Snell
[00:29:34.340] – Diane Foy
So let’s bring in what else do you do? What else are you interested in? And sometimes when I ask them these things, then you buried at the bottom of the bio is something that’s really cool that I think media would be interested. And I’m like, let’s put that right up the front.
[00:29:54.130] – Diane Foy
But you’ve been trained so much to just focus your bio on that one thing. But it’s all the other things that make you stand out and make you unique from many other singer songs, many other dancers. But any other actors you have to kind of bring in what makes you unique. So I think it’s exciting and inspiring. I’m curious about one thing. A million different words for multi. Passionate. I use multi passionate, and I do find some visual artists, and I guess dance as well. You use multidisciplinary, and then there’s multi-hyphen it.
[00:30:39.790] – Diane Foy
And then there’s Sunny Mass and Renaissance Sole. Which one do you identify the most with? And why.
[00:30:49.650] – Colleen Snell
That’S such a good question. I find it difficult to say that I am a multidisciplinary artist, even though on paper, I kind of am because so much of what I do is about collaboration. So I might not be an expert in all of these disciplines, but there are experts in the team that I brought together.
[00:31:15.780] – Diane Foy
[00:31:18.110] – Colleen Snell
Although I’m certainly capable of doing more than one thing and have been for a while. So I guess sometimes the word multidisciplinary works to describe my practice and collaborative works to describe my person, if that makes sense. Right.
[00:31:39.710] – Diane Foy
Yeah. And then sometimes I think multipassionate. Sometimes people take that as you’re interested in a lot of things, but you’re not actually good at any of them.
[00:31:49.670] – Colleen Snell
I’m just saying that you’re curious. I think that being interested often makes people interesting, too.
[00:32:02.450] – Diane Foy
Yeah. And then it’s interesting when I read about polymath, and the difference with that is I think that’s a little bit. What I am is that I have specialized in things for a long time. So I’m like a serial specialist. And then now I’m embracing it all, putting it into kind of one career, but cereal specialist. So it’s not like I changed careers every year. It was more 510 15 years.
[00:32:35.070] – Colleen Snell
[00:32:36.450] – Diane Foy
So that was interesting. Polymath and then Renaissance Soul.
[00:32:41.010] – Colleen Snell
I like those. I like those. And I know there are folks that I work with who work in also different kinds of disciplines, like often remarkably different disciplines. So on stories in the Woods, we had two aspiring and practicing arts therapists who work in different kinds of arts for healing purposes.
[00:33:06.150] – Diane Foy
I want to do that, too.
[00:33:07.840] – Colleen Snell
We have someone who is an actor but also a personal trainer professionally. We also have worked frequently with a dancer who’s also a professional scientist. So having people on the team who do lots of different things, just makes the work more interesting, I think, and then engages people in different ways. Right. And they’re always going to think of things that you never thought of. And that goes to diversity, too. Right. Like having folks who come from many different backgrounds that always makes the piece stronger and the collaboration deeper, because it just sort of enriches everything.
[00:33:54.690] – Colleen Snell
Mr. Saga is also a very diverse community. So I think it’s important as well that people can see themselves in the work, and that’s another kind of aspect or side to the collaborative practice. And I think it’s important when you travel, remember that that was the thing we used to do. And it’s like when you go somewhere where you don’t speak the language or you don’t really know what’s on the menu kind of just being open to experience. I think that’s sort of like a useful thing that you can bring into artistic creation, too, because that way you’re like, willing to try stuff out without necessarily having an outcome in mind from the start.
[00:34:40.730] – Colleen Snell
So kind of going at things with a playful attitude, like when you think of when children play, too, there’s this wonderful imaginative quality to it. And I think when you have literally that sandbox in front of you and you have lots of people making stuff, that’s the best environment for work, right. Like just the playful, open inspired, collaborative, multidisciplinary diverse. Right. Like those are all that I love to throw into the I had never heard this multi, passionate word, but I really love it. I think that a lot of people would want to add that to their list of descriptors because gone are the days when you could be working for a single company for 50 years.
[00:35:29.710] – Colleen Snell
Those were kind of my grandparents.
[00:35:32.860] – Colleen Snell
But I know that the gig economy is really kind of where we’re at right now. Many people need to do multiple jobs in order to make things work, but also because they have so many distinctive interests. So I think that it’s a useful thing to celebrate. But it’s also kind of where we’re at and there were pros and cons to the gig economy. Sort of take it or leave it. But I do think that that’s one of the things that the pandemic has taught us in terms of resiliency.
[00:36:05.610] – Colleen Snell
In order to be resilient, we do need to be able to celebrate maybe those other aspects of self or those other things that maybe we weren’t really focused on before. That can be really, for instance, as a dancer, I got an opportunity to work as a voice actor on Frog and Hands radio play. It’s called War of the Worlds Reimagined. And that’s the first time I’ve ever written a radio play. And it’s the first time I’ve ever done any voice acting. And we were recording this in our own little closet because that’s where your sound is supposed to be the best in a soundproofed environment and going from being present and dancing in front of people live to people can’t even see my face anymore.
[00:36:55.270] – Colleen Snell
And I’m acting just my voice. That’s so different. But we did it somehow, right. And that learning it has at times been empowering, right? Because it’s like, well, I can’t do that. So I’m going to try something different. I’m going to try something new. So I think there are many good things about trying something new.
[00:37:18.330] – Diane Foy
Yeah. I think those are the artists that have survived and thrived during COVID. And the Pandemic is because I think we’re used to change. We’re used to, but we can’t do that anymore. Okay, let’s figure something out.
[00:37:33.870] – Colleen Snell
Didn’t get the grant or you didn’t get the venue or you didn’t get the rights to that play or what have you artists live in a very fluid and changeable kind of situation anyway.
[00:37:52.790] – Diane Foy
So what have you yet to accomplish? What are your future dreams and goals and what’s next?
[00:38:02.610] – Colleen Snell
Well, so many things, really so many things on many different levels. I would love to see Frog and Hand grow as an organization. So that means in terms of capacity, just like a business, right? Having more employees, being able to offer people a really nice, stable job that’s, like year long. That’s one of my ambitions. I would also really love to see us grow so that, you know, these big companies, like Sleep No More. They have a show that’s just running all year round. I would like to get you I aspire to have a show that can run for a whole month because lots of dance artists will know that that’s not something that we get to do very much.
[00:38:50.560] – Colleen Snell
Our last stories in the Woods sold out and had a wait list, and people were actually really encouraging. They’re like, we want more, so hopefully we can bring that back. Hopefully we can have it run for a whole month because that would be a really great learning experience, just kind of increasing the scope and the scale because we already have ambition in terms of our artistic gestures. So it’s really getting the means to be able to produce those things. And of course, I hope to be able to continue to go into the next few months with the empathy and the listening that I think is necessary for the future.
[00:39:35.840] – Colleen Snell
We are coming out of such a hard time, not only from the Pandemic point of view, but also a lot of us are more aware than ever of systemic inequities and barriers, I hope, as a human being, but also as the artistic director of a company that our company, like The Frog in Hand, can continue to be a welcoming and inclusive place that can support and nurture and amplify diverse artists. I think that’s something that I also aspire to for the next little while. I mean, forever, but especially for the next few months with the pandemic kind of things opening up a little bit, I think we really need to focus on that more than ever.
[00:40:26.330] – Diane Foy
I always say that artists can change lives with their talent, and everyone has a different viewpoint. How you’re saying, like when you work with people from all over the world and everyone sees things a little bit differently, I think that’s just magic.
[00:40:44.270] – Colleen Snell
It really is. And I think that the arts have such capacity for healing and that they really are a powerful tool. They’re a force for good. And I just want to keep making cool stuff. I know that can sound a little bit silly, but that’s really why I do this. That’s why I’ve always done it. Even when I was a kid putting on shows in my backyard. It always comes from this just this drive to have fun, to tell stories, to make things that bring people together.
[00:41:23.090] – Colleen Snell
And I was speaking to my dad a little while ago and we were saying, kind of, Well, why do you do what you do? And I think it does come down to, well, both of us agreed and credited him with this idea. It comes down to kind of offering an experience. The arts can offer an experience because you can go and buy a product. But when you spend your time with someone that’s really meaningful. So when I think back to a lot of the wonderful times I’ve had with friends and those connections are often related to a moment in time where we were together, we were doing something.
[00:42:07.070] – Colleen Snell
So being able to offer experiences. And I think that’s what live performance in the arts is about. But also when you go to a class, like when you go to a dance class, you feel really connected to the people around you. When you’re learning the routine or you’re suggesting your creative ideas, being together is really important. That’s another thing. I think the arts can offer experiences.
[00:42:39.270] – Diane Foy
There you go. Well, I usually ask, what is your why? But you just knew it wonderful.
[00:42:48.040] – Colleen Snell
[00:42:50.430] – Diane Foy
So where can people find you and Frog in hand online?
[00:42:56.610] – Colleen Snell
Well, there are a number of different places. So Frogenhand has a link tree, and that’s a really great place to find everything that we do. But we are at frogandhand. Com. You can look for Frogenhand on coffee. That’s K-O-F-I. To listen to the War of the Worlds radio play that I was describing. You just go to our shop and it’s going to be up there. You pay $10 and you can listen as many times as you want to War of the Worlds Reimagined. And then we’re on Instagram.
[00:43:34.600] – Colleen Snell
We’re at Frog in hand, and that’s a cool place to find us, actually, because if you go to Instagram and you see the link in our bio, that’s our link tree, because we’re doing different classes and things as well in person. And online because the mandate of Frog in hand is to create, to perform and to teach. So we have different kinds of learning things online on YouTube too. We have a bunch of free content, so there are lots of ways. There are so many ways people can follow up with us.
[00:44:07.280] – Diane Foy
That’s cool because the office does this show or at least it was until now is very international.
[00:44:14.730] – Colleen Snell
[00:44:15.710] – Diane Foy
Definitely. There’s going to be like, a lot more Americans and Indians and Europe listen more even Canada. So that’ll be cool to check out the online content that you guys are offering up.
[00:44:29.470] – Colleen Snell
Absolutely. Yeah. Cool.
[00:44:31.620] – Diane Foy
Well, thank you so much. It was great chatting with you really appreciate the opportunity.
[00:44:36.760] – Colleen Snell
And I wish you all the best as you clearly are pursuing your own creative passions, your own multi, passionate, curious existence and with the rebrand, I wish you all the best. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:44:51.250] – Diane Foy