Friday RIOT: ZOE RAPPAPORT
Zoe Rappaport is a Choreographer, Creative Director + Body-Artist who moved from New York City to Los Angeles. Her work spans many related fields, including dance, casting, movement direction, makeup and hair, and styling; as well as platforms, such as stills, motion, and live performance/stage. She was mentored from a young age and performed works of world-renowned choreographers by the time she was 18 years old. Since then, she has choreographed for artists + companies such as Grammy award-winning musical artist ZHU to hair shows for Vidal Sassoon. She's also had the privilege of working under legendary makeup artist Linda Mason in Soho, NY which gave her the foundation to work with an amazing team on So You Think You Can Dance.
Tell us about your latest project.
My latest project has been a dance film I choreographed & directed entitled “Unspoken Words" with incredible dancers Micah Moch + Zen Waterford, and Director of Photography Sam Gostnell. This was the first project I created since my family lost our home in the Santa Rosa, CA fires last year. The film has been featured in Dance Magazine, screened in Washington D.C. and performed live here in Los Angeles. I am excited for wherever it goes next.
Are you currently working on something else?
I am currently getting ready to release my second dance film from this past year, “10 Laws,” featuring a beautiful cast of female dancers. We also recently released “Born To Love,” a collaborative project spearheaded by So You Think You Can Dance’s Comfort Fedoke, including Mixed-Media artist Laurie Shapiro and Musical Artist Londrelle. There are other projects in the works, but I can’t discuss them quite yet..!
What’s your absolute favorite project?
Wow…that is a tough one. I’ve been so grateful for all of the experiences I’ve had, I can't choose just one.
What advice would you give to others wanting to pursue a similar career?
Trust your instincts. Surround yourself with people who love, support and understand you and your path. Listen to others’ advice, but don’t lose connection with your own innate wisdom and sense of self. There is no one way, no one path to living a creative life. Every single person’s journey is different. Dream Big.
If you follow your passion and dive into the unknown, it will without a doubt lead you to places you couldn’t imagine.
Who/what is your inspiration?
I am inspired by so many people, places and things — one of those is my grandmother, Renee Rappaport. My grandmother grew up in Brooklyn, and was an amazing Latin Ballroom dancer herself. She and my grandfather raised three incredible children, who I am blessed every day to call family. However, in her fifties my grandmother moved back to New York City on her own and went to work while many other women at that time remained housewives. She became a bookkeeper, got involved in politics and eventually bought a building on City Island — that just so happened to have a diner in it. My grandmother ran the City Island Diner for 10 years, working 6 days a week through her seventies. According to many, she became known as "The Mayor Of The Town." She instilled in all of us resilience, strength, honesty, boldness, love, and the ancient wisdom: "Nothing stays the same, everything changes."
What is the best/worst thing you have experienced as a creative freelancer?
The best thing as a creative freelancer is the freedom and ability to create your life, the amazing people and experiences you meet on your journey.
The worst is battling societal norms and staying true to what you believe in regardless.
What does the word RIOT means to you?
RIOT signifies rebellion to me. It represents taking life into your own hands...and making some noise while you’re at it.
If you could have changed something about how the creative industry works, what would you have changed?
I would love for there to be more sustainable opportunities for artists, broadened accessibility, a platform to connect artists with socially-engaged opportunities and for artists to experience the value they so deeply deserve.