Alice Klock & Florian Lochner
Alice Klock & Florian Lochner
Interviewing Alice Klock and Florian Lochner, the artistic duo behind FLOCK, is like being with fraternal twins - they may look different and have unique voices, but they are clearly cast from the same mold.
“We basically have the same brain,” remarked Alice. “Only now we have each become more sure about certain things, which has been helpful to the growth of our work.”
Whether finishing each other’s sentences or moving together effortlessly in the studio, there is something organic about the way Alice and Florian relate to one another - an intangible bond that informs their dancing and choreography, which until recently, they took for granted.
Before the pandemic, Alice was unsure about whether she wanted to continue performing. Exhausted after years of full-time work with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and then the constant hustle of freelancing with FLOCK, she contemplated stepping away from the stage and only choreographing for others. But the year and a half respite forced by the pandemic changed her mind.
“I feel like I have this second dance life, where I’m going to dance for at least another ten years,” said Alice. ”And, I have a whole new love for dancing with Florian. During the year we had to spend apart due to the travel bans (Florian in Germany and Alice in the US) I realized that my soul needs this experience.”
Florian had his own internal struggle last summer. Unsure whether the arts really held any importance for people, he contemplated doing something else with his life. “It was very painful to go through that process and forget about my passion for dance,” explained Florian.
Seeing a show last August jolted Florian out of this difficult place and rekindled his desire. “I thought to myself ‘this is what I love - we have to be back together!’. Being apart for a year made me realize that Alice was lifting me up every day. With many things in my life, doing them on my own is not as fulfilling as when I do them with Alice. Like if I go on a hike, I prefer to have Alice there with me because it is double joy.”
Although classically trained in different corners of the world, Alice and Florian found their true calling in the contemporary realm and eventually met as dancers and Choreographic Fellows at Hubbard Street, where the ever-changing repertory gave them exposure to a variety of choreographers. “It was like conducting research as we looked for our own language,” observed Florian.
Inspired by each other’s movement and choreographic sensibilities, Alice and Florian founded FLOCK in 2017, and have been teaching, choreographing and dancing as partners ever since.
Being apart for a year made me realize that Alice was lifting me up every day.
When asked how their work has evolved over the years, they say that since it is always inspired by who they are at the time, who they are working with and what’s going on around them, the work is constantly changing. So, It is no surprise that the self-reflection Alice and Florian both experienced just prior to and during the height of the pandemic has added new depth.
“Our choreography is now more multi-dimensional and complex,” said Alice. “Through the pandemic we figured out more of what we care about individually and what we want to create. This has led to some difficult conversations, which has helped to make the work more layered.”
One of the first things you notice when watching a FLOCK piece is how the movement is simultaneously intricate and seamless, rooted in fluid body weight exchange and near-constant contact between dancers. The fact that FLOCK does not typically choreograph with counts in mind makes it all the more wondrous.
”We never count if we’re doing a duet together,” said Florian. “But we end up being very musical,” added Alice.
For many dancers, the absence of counting during the learning process can be disconcerting, but Alice and Florian believe this achieves precisely what they are after.
“We feel that if a dancer is focused on counting, they’re just running a track in their head and not as hyper-aware,” explained Alice. “We like the intense community feeling of needing to be super aware of everyone else all the time. It’s a little bit of anxiety that we put them through, but it adds something that you feel in the air.”
And when it comes to music, it is often added after the movement has been worked out, setting it to the choreography in what Alice describes as “an emotional landscape”, to help achieve a certain mood.
FLOCK’s latest piece created for SDC during the summer residency is set on six dancers, weaving together duets and ensemble work. Recognizing the overwhelming challenges of the last year, Alice and Florian asked each dancer and the composer to answer questions beforehand and identify five favorite things about themselves. These “nuggets of personal positivity” were used as a starting point for the choreography, and were eventually woven together into a theme of community, trust and support.
“Through complex times and in complex ways, we can build beautiful things,” offered Alice, providing not only a description of this particular work, but also an apt illustration of FLOCK’s enduring partnership.