“Wow! That was sexy. That was hot. That was just…amazing.” These were the phrases and words that echoed behind me as I sat and watched my first solo work for another dancer come to life on stage this past October. While “sexy” and “hot” were not quite the descriptive adjectives I had in mind while creating this piece, I found it fascinating that, to this viewer, these were the words that immediately came to his mind and popped out of his mouth. I imagined a billboard with my dancer’s picture and the words “sexy” and “hot” being used to describe my work and my company. I wonder what type of fans I would have? I wonder what my life would be like? I then imagined a cheap, dirty room, and the soundtrack to Burlesque playing in the background. It only took me a about a second before I came back to reality for this picture was definitely not the direction I wanted my work to head.
For me, Awakening, a piece about the physical and the spiritual rebirth of the body and the mind to movement and rhythm, was a creative experience like none other. I had been working with Janesta Edmonds, the dancer for this piece, for many months, and knew that she had the skills to fiercely take ownership of a stage on her own. I wanted to create a piece for her to explode on stage and this was it. I went into this piece with this idea, the concept of awakening and the music. That’s it and that was a little scary for me, as the creative process is a vulnerable experience, where one has to be completely honest with oneself in order to create great art. It was hard enough alone, never mind with another human being in the room with you, awaiting direction. But, that is how this piece had to come to be as I needed to work with her in person to not only see what movement looked good on her, but also to showcase her unique gifts and talents as a dancer and performer.
In all, Awakening was an awakening for me as a choreographer. I learned to trust this possibly less traditional creative dance making process. I also learned that this process is critical in the making of powerful, engaging and visually appealing dance works. This is not to lessen the integrity of my last works. However, as a choreographer, I have found that by stepping out of my pieces, I am able to direct, create and relish in the luscious beauty of the dance making process like I never was able to before. Janesta, I have you, your enthusiasm, dedication and amazing talents to thank for this awakening.
At the moment, I am working to expand Awakening into a 2-3 part work, to bring in additional characters and dance forms, and to explore their interactions. I am ready to get back at it, to keep creating and to keep trusting that this path I am now on is the right one. Right now, right here and right at this moment, wrapped in movement, is where I am supposed to be for a long time to come. And, to the gentleman in the audience that night, thank you for calling my work “sexy” and reminding me that my work, in the end, is a performing art, to be viewed and interpreted by others. Janesta may have brought “Sexy back” for him, but I think, at least for now, B-Boogie Dance is going to let that one go.