Bending Over Backward to Make a New Solo

Ryan Schmidt always bends over backward to get the job done whenever I work with her.  In our new solo, she displays a little from column A and a little from column B– the Chinese Food menu of dance movement, minus the fortune cookie! Before knowing of the horrendous aftermath of the Oklahoma tornadoes, I had chosen this piece, I Saw a Dust Devil This Morning, from Maria Schneider’s, Winter Morning Walks, to choreograph a new solo. With Maria’s composition based on the poetry of Ted Kooser, and featuring Dawn Upshaw’s sweet soprano voice, and the The Australian Chamber Orchestra, I embarked upon this rhythmically challenging gem from this masterpiece album, with complete serendipity.

As with most projects I do, there’s a feeling that something is totally meant to be. I am honored to be dedicating this new work to those that have survived, and those who have fallen from the great tragedies  of the tornadoes this Spring. With this expertly written score, I was blessed to have been able to create movement based on the poem, which paints imagery about the plains, and the little dust devils that swirled around the fields. It was with Ted Kooser’s words that Maria created a musical tapestry that so related to the author’s imagery from his roots of Nebraska.

I felt a bit of Agnes de Mille come out in me while making this, fittingly from the musical, Oklahoma! Maybe she was channeling through me in my rehearsals. When the winds came sweepin down the plains, unfortunately an enormous draft was felt by many. Thank goodness we have our art to keep us bending over backward to tell our stories. Come join us at Baryshnikov Arts Center this Tuesday where Ryan will be in the spotlight in her studio performance of Dust Devil.