Tucker, a native of the District’s Maryland suburbs and a graduate of Atlanta’s Spelman College, is becoming a regular fixture on Washington area stages. She has appeared with Synetic Theater about a half-dozen times, most recently in “The Three Musketeers.” She has also acted at Ford’s Theatre in the recent “Our Town” and with Forum and Constellation theaters.
Tucker briefly refers to body issues as underlying “Dancing Naked” but it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be an especially heavy show.
“I just wanted to share this,” she explains over coffee in Mount Pleasant. “It’s about self-acceptance, actively accepting yourself as opposed to just looking in the mirror and saying, ‘I love myself.’ When you move comfortably in your body, it’s a different kind of acceptance.”
She studied theater at Spelman and started taking dance there. She also worked with an improvisational troupe in Atlanta, where the company was a mix of actors and dancers. When Tucker came back to the Washington area after school, someone told her about Synetic. The demanding movement-based troupe, filled with muscular, acrobatic performers, sounded “right up my alley.”
“I’ve always been very athletic,” Tucker says. “And working for Synetic also takes a certain kind of personality, a creative, competitive but unselfish drive. You see somebody and you go, ‘Wow, look what they’re doing! I want to do that. What do I need to do to do that?’ ”
So doing a solo show at Fringe is a way to get Washington to see her in a different light, right? Nope. She’s moving to California next spring, after gigs with Forum Theatre and Bethesda’s Imagination Stage. Tucker has friends who are working in Los Angeles, and she wants to take her shot at film.
“If I push enough buttons, something will happen,” she says optimistically. And if she’s turned down a lot at first, at least she’ll have her solo show to work on as solace.
“There could be a lot of naked dancing,” Tucker says with a laugh.
Jaster’s “To Know a Veil” came about when she went to Morocco two years ago because her French visa had expired. She was in Paris for a four-month workshop in the kind of dance-movement-theater style that’s more European than American, and as she worked out her travel issues she spent three weeks in Morocco.
One long day in the desert, Jaster lifted a scarf over her head for some shade. It cooled her right away. She let it fall over her face. It was sheer enough to see through. She felt protected, even “like a princess.”
“I am a Western woman, I grew up with [a] very feminist mother, and I’m a dancer, so my body is one of my primary tools for expression,” Jaster explains over coffee in Bloomingdale. Even though she had also spent time in rural India dressing as the locals dress, “Morocco was so much more overwhelming than I had expected. The covering was just way more extreme, and more consistent.”