Cocoon Central Dance Team is a New York-based comedy dance troupe made up of three talented women: Sunita Mani, Eleanore Pienta and Tallie Medel. They are each up-and-coming actors in their own right, landing roles in indie films, big music videos and on television. But their work as a trio, as Cocoon Central Dance Team, is what we focus on in this episode because they truly are a remarkably talented, gut-busting, thigh slapping, absurd outfit wearing, glitter throwing, dance-until-you-laugh-until-you-cry group of women. Cocoon has performed at Upright Citizen’s Brigade, MoMa PS1, The Pit, Showgasm with John Early and Cast Party. They’ve opened for Broad City Live, the 2013 New York City Marathon, have been back up dancers for HUSH HUSH and have a successful web series called Rehearsal. Cocoon Central Dance Team breaks rules and plays with the forms of dance and comedy, making them an undefinable act, which is one of the greatest things you can be in today’s comedy and dance landscape.
Name: Eleanore Pienta
Current City: New York City
What are you listening to now? James Booker - Sunny Side of the Street, Kendrick Lamar feat Anna Wise - Real
What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? Tamy Ben-Tor's video "Normal".
Who is your career role model? Drew Beattie
What is a tool you can't live without? Tiny spoons.
How do you drink your coffee/tea? Coffee with Cream, Tea straight up.
What's your spirit animal? African Elephant.
CLIPS FEATURED IN SHOW:
- Cast Party (Teaser)
- Uncertain Terms (Feature Film)
- Inside Amy Schumer - Doggy Daycare (Episode)
- DJ Snake, Lil Jon - Turn Down For What (Music Video)
- See You Next Tuesday (Feature Film)
- HAPPY a show by Eleanore Pienta (Teaser)
- Hounds of Love by Kate Bush (Song)
- Cocoon Live at the Moon - Baseball Dance
- REHEARSAL: Bloood (Episode)
- REHEARSAL: Talking and Dancing (Episode)
- REHEARSAL: Excerpt from the Motion Picture Bouncin' (Episode)
- 2013 NYC Marathon Opening Ceremony
- Produced by Elaine Sheldon & Sarah Ginsburg
- Sound design by Billy Wirasnik
- Sound recording by Henry Molofsky
- Illustration by Christine Cover
- Production Assistance by Alijah Case
Name: Sunita Mani
Current City: Brooklyn, NY
What are you listening to now? I'm sprung for Justin Beiber's "Sorry" and for Wye Oak's album "Shriek"
What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? Seeing Maya Rudolph on Saturday Night Live. I didn't realize until later that she was such a strong benchmark for me. I hadn't seen a woman of color on SNL yet with such a variety of talents--musical, comedic, and a strong stage presence. She also had the ability to represent many ethnicities which was a strength! I think I had only thought of ethnicity on TV as a limitation at that point? Or maybe I just didn't have the possibilities in mind until I saw her do it first, especially being associated with a comedic institution that I was obsessed with at a young age!
Started reading the new Ms. Marvel comic book series with Kamala Khan as the hero. It gives me hope and makes me feel strong.
Really want this piece of media to change me so I keep listening to it: Audre Lorde reading from her essay "Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power
Who is your career role model? Rihanna. She has such a coolness and almost laziness about her; she seems so comfortable with herself. I like how much she changes her look while still making THE HITZ.
What is a tool you can't live without? notebook and an ink pen
How do you drink your coffee/tea? with ceremony: strong black tea with milk, no sugar.
What's your spirit animal? Probably a tortoise who thinks she's a hare.
Name: Tallie Medel
Current City: Ridgewood, NY
What are you listening to now? Albums: TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY (Kendrick Lamar), A VISION (Seapony), HALF FREE (U.S. Girls), MULTI-LOVE (Unknown Mortal Orchestra) Songs: "Sorry" (Justin Bieber), "WTF" (Missy Elliott & Pharrell), "Fuck and Run" (Liz Phair), "Crowded Stranger" (Girlpool) Podcast: MYSTERY SHOW (Starlee Kine)
What film/book/show/piece of media changed you? FILM /// FIELD NIGGAS (dir. Khalik Allah). I don't want to try to explain it because it has to be seen, so go see it.
BOOK /// I've been reading a lot of Lydia Davis, and I'm re-reading FOUR FISH (Paul Greenberg) and A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES (Howard Zinn). BITCH PLANET (Kelly Sue DeConnick). You like comics? You'll read this and then your head will catch on fire.
SHOW /// STRANGERS WITH CANDY, FISHING WITH JOHN, SPACE GHOST COAST TO COAST, THE OFFICE (BBC), NATHAN FOR YOU, FARGO, BURNING LOVE, RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE, MONONOKE < that's a really gorgeous animated series you oughta know, I always think I dreamed it when I recall it later
MEDIA /// IN THE HEART OF AMERICA AND OTHER PLAYS by Naomi Wallace, choreography by Ashley Byler, psychedelic-Native Alaskan work by both Stephen Jackson and Donnie Varnell, watching Daniel Scheinert shoot comedy shorts in college, Reductress.com
Who is your career role model? Maya Rudolph, Justin Theroux, John Early, RuPaul, Britni West, Lizz Winstead
What is a tool you can't live without? Headphones, so I can live in a fantasy world; video chat so I can see my brother and his family. I have a nephew! Life goes on against all odds and I love it!
How do you drink your coffee/tea? I like black coffee, hot or iced. Iced makes me go crazy so I don't drink too much of it.
What's your spirit animal? Apes and monkeys. Those ladies and gentlemen are #1
MUSIC in this episode is by Kylie Slabby & Kylie Hastings of THE DADDYO'S. Listen and purchase their music on bandcamp!
Songs you heard: Beatles, Penclawwd Belles, Cat Piss Queen, Shakira, Dishes from the album Better // Crop Top, Damsels, Just A Girl (Daddyo’s Theme), Taco Spaceship from Smother Your Brother // Boring, Arizona from It’s a tough world out there for a lonely girl