“Who, Two” by Joan Nicholas-Walker

Immensely proud of how this commissioned duet turned out. Originally drafted as a solo called “Who” presented by BlueShift & SylviDances at Baltimore Theater Project March 2018. “Who, Two” took on new life as sage choreographer Joan Nicholas-Walker expertly reframed the original thematic material and crafted a challenging new dance. It strengthened our companies’ ability to harmony out of discordance even if only for that fleeting moment when she has my weight suspended in air or I look to her to see what the future may hold.

Looking at these photos I’m reminded how brave and empowering Maggie Lockhart is as a dancer. Her strength and bold commitment to dance is humbling to say the least. She is currently recovering from a hip replacement and with that we said goodbye to Brunhilda a hip that served her well even to the bitter end.

Commit to It!

This fall I am committing to a 9 month program called Dance ICONS to take a deep dive into the process of creating a work of art.

During my early dance training at North Potomac Ballet Academy later Metropolitan Ballet Theater I developed this insatiable love for choreography. Understanding the nuances of being a choreographer will undoubtedly help focus my career in dance an audience member, performer and teacher.

Back then my teacher and classmates were like mirrors. I look forward to having that dynamic and specific focus on my art. I have gained so much information crafting dances with many directors, artists and community members. Shifts that once seemed small now seem huge with each reworking or starting anew.

To the sharpening of tools for carving and shaping a well thought out dance with meaning and intent!

Icons Smart Interview

Sat down with Vlad Angelov at Compass Coffee today and posited my future as a member of his organization’s 2019-2020 Cohort of Choreographers which he trains extensively for 9 months at Dance Loft on 14.

I’m excited to be pushed in ways that will make me a stronger more refined choreographer. Now my challenge is to imagine how this venture might fit with my life as I approach 39.

To be continued.

“Who, Two” at HCC Gala

Maggie Lockhart and I performed Joan Nicholas-Walker’s introspective piece “Who, Two” at The Howard Community College Feb 9th, 2019 at The Horowitz Performing Arts Center a large venue for dance.

My dance partner Maggie bravely gave Brunhilda one last hurrah. Her plan all along was to ‘dance the shit out of it’ before replacing with a new hip. Cue: Tronhilda. This piece challenged us as performers greatly. It allowed us to fine tune our partnering skills while working to develop intent through a non-narrative dance. Couched as a chance encounter that can leave one forever changed we examined those moments in our own lives and relationships where we were effected by others for short or long periods of time. Joan shaped this piece from a solo “Who” which I danced at Baltimore Theater Project March 2018 alongside BlueShift and LucidBeings. We then presented the first draft of ” Who, Two” at SylviDances 5by5 at Dance Place Sept 13, 2018. 5by5 is our passion project in which we present other artists specifically 5 dances by 5 choreographers plus musicians in an informal setting. Hoping to celebrate more artists with whom we have made personal connections with in the Washington, DC area.

Inside Joan’s process one must remain fluid and adaptable. She always came to rehearsal with something exact to work on whether it was spacing, emotion, timing or particular lift. We changed the music three times! We worked it until it was just right painting a proximity in time and space and yet a distance from one another that remains.

We are forever grateful to Joan for this beautiful piece of art and hope to perform it again soon!

Photos by Hank Wang.

Lighting by Ben Levine.

Costumes by Maggie Lockhart & Joan Nicholas-Walker.

The life of a teaching artist

Today I served as teaching assistant to The American Ballet on behalf of The Kennedy Center and spoke on a panel for a Dance Colloquy hosted by Sarah Beth Oppenheim at Dance Place. Whew and the day isn’t over! In an hour, I witness dances made by college students participating in the dance colloquy and offer mentorship to those in need.

This morning was an amazing experience in that about 18 volunteers assembled in The Millennium Stage all with an interest and or professional experience in dance education for families. The volunteers and teaching artists were given an orientation. It was a giant team of go-getter women with one Kennedy Center staff member highlighting best practices to make the experience of dance inclusive for families with children with disabilities.

Sidenote: Ran into fellow dancer named Elizabeth Terscher whom I performed with at City Dance while dancing for a choreographer named Nancy Mapother, a Julliard graduate who had schizophrenia. The piece was called “One and Two” I believe – it was very clever and also a great mind teaser involving text and the counting of numbers in a round.

Back to the Family Dance Workshop – ABT teaching artists Robert and a woman whose name I am not remembering perhaps because she didn’t give us her short bio as to how she became a part of the organization as did the man. We focused on steps from “Harlequinade” which they are performing this week which sadly I will not see this time around.

The parents of these children were heros in my eyes finding opportunities for their children to have these direct experiences with the Ballet Company in The Kennedy Center halls. I met a petite dancer-in-the-making who looked about 2.5 years of age named Peregrina Wolz. She was the sweetest little dancer.. shy yet willing to try the steps whether in her mother or father’s arms and the acting involved in playing the two roles from the Harlequinade ballet. I also danced with a boy Max whose mother was super encouraging of him. It was a good experience and I was paid for it so that’s a plus. Hats off to Joy of Motion for sending my name to the KC Dance Education department for this opportunity. Looking forward to assisting New York City Ballet in April!

Now onto the Dance Colloquy – I was able to speak from my own experience about the DMV Dance Community to college seniors looking to find more opportunities and solve some of the issues systemic with in our field locally. The dancer, Olivia, who facilitated the panel seemed very optimistic and energized to make change. One of her questions specifically asked how we feel about making art in “45’s America”. I revealed that in the SylviDances commission with Sarah Beth Oppenheim of Heart Stuck Bernie we were able to talk openly before and during rehearsal about our disgust, anger and frustration at society and in response to the Kavannaugh trial and #metoo movement. Oppenheim’s “F O’K” performed at Michelle Ava’s “Turiya 2” was a healing release for some pent up anger and an honest not always knowing how to respond to the ridiculousness of the present in which we are living. I see my company able to contribute to the conversation about equal women’s rights with this piece in a way that models self-preservation and female solidarity.

Now onto the evening performance! Hope to meet a future SylviDance intern or performer:)