The Invitation Situation: Sarasota premiere, Dec. 2023

This is a project I have been working on since the zoom-days of the pandemic – late 2020-ish. In the great pandemic shifting of life from 3-D to 2-D, moving from the studio to the zoom room, there was a huge opportunity to re-think how things work in my field. Yes, we couldn’t do things the way they had been done before, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t do them. And it sometimes meant that we could do things we hadn’t been able to do before – things we wouldn’t necessarily have considered if we hadn’t been forced to look at things in a different way.

One of my weekly zoom happy hours was with a small group of close friends – educators and dance artists – all of whom I’ve done projects with in the past, but who all live in different states – TX, MI, NY, and FL. We were burning out on moving to remote teaching, being responsible for re-imagining our art form for a different generation, audience, and also ourselves. So we decided to make a new project together and put someone else in charge – haha, but really. We invited another friend here in FL to join us, and we commissioned a new dance work from Alpert-award winning choreographer Jeanine Durning, who was working in Stockholm, Sweden at the time.

In the pre-pandemic days, it would be ridiculous to start a new dance with people in four different states (and two countries!) because the whole premise is that to make a new dance, everyone – every body – needs to be in the same room at the same time. Well we weren’t and we couldn’t, but we were seeing each other every week, so something seemed possible.

Jeanine was on board, and though she expressed clearly that zoom was definitely not her preferred way to create a new dance, we all began this process together to figure it out. Jeanine’s work is grounded in improvisation, so for the first year or so, we met on zoom and engaged in guided solo improv practices with Jeanine and each other via zoom. Together-alone. Or alone-together? This was actually fortuitous – we had months and years even to “train” in these improv practices, so that when we were finally able to be in a studio with each other, we had really done our homework.

We have met a few times in person for short residencies – here in St. Pete, Texas, NYC, even Joshua Tree. The process has been longer than any of us ever imagined, but we are finally nearing our premiere in Sarasota, FL in December 2023 as part of Sarasota Contemporary Dance’s In-Studio Series. I hope you can join us!

Become a Creative Pinellas Supporter