A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to work with Wayne State University’s Dance Department. During the process I was in a bit of disbelief. Setting a work on the collegiate level was eye opening. I knew I was on the right track of developing a career on what I enjoyed doing most. WSU being my first training grounds of being a professional dancer- it was such an honor. The offer came days before I was depart Detroit for Seattle. I had so many thoughts about this project. After spending a portion of the summer in Detroit I was gaining a new perspective not only about the city but the idea of investing into a city that is need of Arts & Culture. This is not to say that if doesn’t already have a rich culture and Art scene-it’s just not exposed enough. During my stay I kept pondering the idea of a dance company being apart of a vehicle to further present dance work in the city of Detroit. I knew things were going fast when I held the very first audition for Jeffrey & The Artists. Held in the beautiful WSU Dance Studios, I thought-this can happen. It will take alot of work, but this could happen. Nontheless the support was already there. It was then too the dancers that let this imprint on me.
The WSU Dance Majors were a vast group of artists at the disposal of a new work being created. I enjoyed them taking risks and keeping such an open mind during the process. The process itself seem to be an ease as the creativity of the dancers began to flourish under direction. I created 3 sections for the new work. Originally it was only going to be 2 sections. Somehow before I began with the dancers I thought, how can I sum everything up to perhaps tell a story. Indeed everything has a beginning, middle, and end. I had this sense of “company” in my head as I merged the thoughts of the audition and the residency itself together. I began to look at them as a company. Placing thoughts on every dancer as what their role signified to them. Let alont it was my own message that I drafted upon creation. So is this Artistic Directing? I began to ponder on this more as I realized what was best for what dancer and why. A few tweeks here and there but that’s the artistry of it. A choreographer is also like a director. They have to be open to changes in a very fast pace environment. Then comes the revisitation and sometimes as a choreographer you want to change this or that. However in the long run I have learned to let it go. Once the work has been set then it’s set. This allows me to pinpoint the inspiration that was derived during that particular time. I can also recount the emotions I was dealing with at that particular time as well. Somehow it being a reflection but still being present in one’s own mind. I can admit to basing personal present emotions toward my work. It may not be understood by all or any. I think as choreographers we all tend to have this phase we are going through and somehow it shows through the work we present. The interpretation is then left to the audience. Further explanation is at times required or requested. Being an Artist one has to know how to speak about the subject matter he or she has just presented. I credit this art form to making connections with people on a intellectual level. The further curiosity of dance from audience members is always a good thing. I titled the work “the message”. Its a three part ballet that explores the state of mind being in bliss, broken reality, and consciousness. The work is set to premiere December 2011.
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