In the decades long career path as a choreographer, February has always been a fertile month for creative projects. The fact that it’s my birthday month invigorates me, and some deep push from the universe seems to happen without my need to coerce it into happening. This season, a new solo set to the incomparable Nicole Renaud’s music, as well as the creation of a new film short, are on the docket. I’m excited to share with you a little sneak preview of things to come.
I was lucky, yet again, to be given the permission to use the music of the exquisitely talented singer, composer, and accordion player, Nicole Renaud. Her pure soprano voice and deep passion for reaching into my heart with her melody, made her piece, Le Bleu, the perfect match to my new solo, Fall Away. Nicole’s French flair is highlighted by her elaborate costumes, often equipped with unique lighting that illuminates her statuesque elegance. I was able to see her perform live during a Christmas show some years ago, and I’ll never forget how she captivated the audience with her unique display of artistry.
Dancer, Mark Willis , gave a mature performance of his solo the day we did our shoot in Brooklyn at the Triskelion Arts Theater. He seemed to have found the core of what the music was expressing, and what I was relaying as we were creating the piece. He’s a natural mover, and has a sensibility to use his technique to the fullest extent of the movement. Fall Away is about the shedding and letting go of that which no longer serves us. With Nicole’s music and Mark’s dancing, it felt like a symbiotic telling of a familiar life theme.
Next up was our shoot for my new film short with James A. Pierce, III, and Mark, entitled, Solely United. This experiment, using spoken word, dance, and a dose of theatricality, was shot by longtime cameraman, and editor, Joel Stephen. He was quick to maneuver his way around the stage, and capture the fusion of activity that took place in just an about an hour and a half. James is not only a dancer, but such a physical actor, because of his dance background. He learned all his lines ahead of time, making my life easier, as it sped up the process of filming each scene. After a brief rehearsal with the two of them prior to our theater day, they ended up looking like they had been working together for years. They utilized improv within the framework of what I had choreographed, and had me standing back in awe of their genuine inclinations. James hit his marks and dug into the material as if the words were coming out of his body. My husband, Don, was acting line producer, and without his help, I’d be lost. The tech went well due to the artistry and talent of Anna Wotring. She rolled with all of my flying by the seat of my pants style! With all the production elements percolating on high, this Winter project went off without a hitch — down to the choice parking spot we got right in front of the theater! Stay tuned for our premieres coming soon. Now, back to the editing room!