Dayton Unknown Spotlight: Laurana Wong

Back in October, we hosted the Dayton Unknown Fall Scavenger Hunt at Wegerzyn Gardens. It was a beautiful fall day, and we had some great submissions from our participants. We awarded two prizes, one of which is a feature story here on the blog. Our winner of this prize is Laurana Wong – an incredibly fascinating character.

We came up with fifteen questions we thought would truly showcase Laurana’s personality and told her that she could pick and choose which questions to answer. In true Laurana form, she decided to answer all of them! We hope you enjoy learning about her as much as we did!

  1. How did you decide to start exploring your artistic side?
  2. For me, exploration starts with inspiration and strengthens with collaboration. The thought of doing something fills me with life, and I shift my path to explore it. Often times, I’ll meet someone who is travelling a similar or related path, and the synergy between us adds fire to the creative process.

  3. How did you get the idea for Sideshow?
  4. A friend introduced me to a Miamisburg artist named Leigh Waltz, and I became a performer in one of his shows. At the close of the show, Leigh suggested I host my own art event. Feeling inspired by his mentorship, I accepted the challenge and dove into the Dayton scene to gather artists. I knew I wanted to create new worlds for Sideshow, giving people space to bring their complete, immersive visions to life.

  5. Your resume is impressive and diverse, what kind of work do you normally attract with it?
  6. What I attract seems to change as I change. Lately, I’ve been working with the Bach Society of Dayton, a choral performing arts nonprofit who was looking to expand their audience base and shift the direction of their organization.

  7. What type of dancing do you do?
  8. I have trained in many forms, from ballet to Irish to modern. I also absorb moves from movies, pop culture, and live performances. My personal style is a combination of everything I’ve ingested, and my dancing changes as the music changes. Probably the best way to describe what I do is improvisational, interpretive dance.

  9. At which events have you done performance art?
  10. The most well-known events at which I’ve performed are Sideshow, PechaKucha Dayton, Party Arty, the Indie Memphis Film Festival, Art on Fire, Dia de Muertos Dayton, and Galoka. The most well-known venues are The Dayton Art Institute, Gilly’s, Wright State University, University of Dayton, Pearl Niteclub, Hobart Arena, and Dixon Gallery and Gardens.

  11. What is your favorite way to express yourself?
  12. My main mode of expression migrates and shifts according to my current life story. I like to express myself in any way that brings forth feelings of openness, connection, and inspiration. Recently, I’ve been creating with nature – – with plants, wood, stone, weather. Conversing with life through the ever-changing outdoors. I’ve also been creating relationship.

  13. How hard was it to transition from the rigid atmosphere of engineering, to the free and relaxed atmosphere of art?
  14. I find that creating art, especially transformative art, is a deeply personal and passion-filled act requiring the discipline of science and the surrender of spirituality. So, for me, making art can sometimes feel tense. There’s more at stake.

  15. What do you hope to see in the Dayton art scene in the future?
  16. More performance art. More interactive art. Weirder. Wonderful-er.

  17. With how often you’ve been interviewed, what is something our readers would be surprised to find out about you?
  18. I can be shy and downright reclusive.

  19. What’s your favorite performance you’ve ever done?

    Right now, I think it’s the performance ritual of interconnection. The one where I wrapped people up at a party in a string and a song, connecting us in visceral and heartfelt way. If you were to ask me this question on a different day, I’d probably give you a different answer.

  20. How does your technical background help you in your art?
  21. It might help with problem solving. Seeing solutions. Much of what I create is new to me and requires research, discovery, and maybe even faith to manifest. Engineering may give me the mindset to imagine an outcome and know that the steps exist to achieve it, even if the steps don’t yet exist.

  22. If you were unable to dance anymore, what would you do with your life?
  23. I’ve often considered life and relating as grand dances. Dances that take 10 or 50 years to complete. Dances that contain lulls, exciting periods, complete stops. Dances that bring divinity earthbound. When I inhabit this perspective, I think any creative form can be imbued with dance. From partnership to communication to daily movement.

  24. If you ever moved away from the Dayton area, where would you live, and why?
  25. I’d probably live in the woods somewhere, closer to the earth. Further away from the city. To explore the subtleties of nature, energy, being. To become more aligned.

  26. What is your inspiration for your art?
  27. My inspiration is typically my joy. A blissful feeling that follows a thought. A feeling of increased energy, a smile, a laugh, a feeling of desire. A delicious and light-full/heart-full want to see a thing born into the world.

  28. What kind of advice would you give to struggling artists and performers?
  29. If the work is too much of a struggle, the path may be a wayward one.

    You can read more about Laurana on her website and in this article on The Abundant Bohemian.

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