It’s amazing to me how quickly inspirations can come and go. As an artist, musician, educator and choreographer I’m constantly searching for inspirations to help me become the best teacher and performer I can. However, I find that if I don’t act on that inspiration at the moment it happens, it can disappear at a moment’s notice, leaving me in a frozen state of “wait, what I did get up to do?” When you get struck with a thought or a feeling, write it down the second it happens. You’ll want to remember it.
Take last night, for example. I went to see “Fela!” at the Majestic theatre. This was a great day for me because I was pretty sure I was never going to get the chance to see it again after seeing with Russ on Broadway a few years ago. But there I sat, surrounded by loud music, gorgeous dancers and colorful costumes, watching the extraordinary actor playing Fela hold the entire audience in the palm of his hand. It was like being at a concert, except for one thing- the dancing.
Oh. The dancing.
The energy and passion that radiated off that stage was unparalleled. These dancers were dancing for their lives, they were dancing to tell a story, to seduce, to celebrate, to grieve. And while I watched, I could literally feel my mind expanding and working, creating new moves for “Once On This Island” and thinking about my middle schoolers.It was a great collaboration.
My philosophy as an educator and choreographer is simple: I believe in treating everyone like professionals. I hold my students to the same standards as any college age or professional actor. And they always meet my standards, and they feel proud to be a part of something important. Just like I do. To me, it doesn’t matter if we are in school or not- you will learn how to act professionally and be treated professionally. It’s as simple as that.
I’m heading to rehearsal in a few mins to teach my choreography to “Mama Will Provide”- I can’t wait to see what Fele-esque ideas come to the surface!