We did it! Between: A Journey Through the Middle debuted last month to two very enthusiastic audiences. Thanks to my wonderful ensemble, my family, singer friends and students who helped with EVERYTHING and everyone who saw the shows. I could NOT have done this without each and every one of you!
The “Journey” was improvisational up to the final note sung. A few days before the shows, I was working on the program when Kenna called to tell me she was hurt and might not be able to dance the shows.
Okay. Deep breaths.
The important thing was if Kenna would be okay.
Fast forward about sixteen hours and we knew for sure that Kenna won’t be able to dance (but Kenna IS okay and she was definitely with us in spirit *smile*).
For me, the huge lesson (and work) of Between was in trusting the process. In trusting my process. In trusting that I even had a process to trust in.
I had to trust my vision, my ensemble and that I was meant to share this music with “the world.” That if I allowed and accepted obstacles I could learn something through how I responded to them. (Much the way I learn about a piece I’m improvising while I’m singing it.)
Upon getting the final word from Kenna, my instincts told me to call my friend and past collaborator Regina (Laroche) and ask her to dance.
I hesitated; Regina and I had met earlier in the week to talk about the show and listen to the some of the rehearsal recordings specifically because she wasn’t going to be able to attend the shows on the weekend.
I set the idea of calling her aside, but …
My instincts told me to call my friend and past collaborator Regina and ask her to dance. *smile*
As I composed Between, I strove to trust my artistic instincts. To know what to keep and develop and what to let “travel down the road.” I worked hard to avoid making decisions simply because they were practical or expedient. Again and again, I challenged myself to do what was right for the project artistically. (Even though there’s a part of me that still grapples with being artistic and make choices from that place.)
My artistic instincts told me I wanted a dancer on the stage to help interpret and present Between.
So I called Regina and left a message on her answering machine. (Have I talked about how singing makes me brave?)
About an hour later, Regina called me back.
She was on her way home from the Cities and saw she had missed my call.
I (very) sheepishly explained that I was calling to invite her to dance in my shows on the weekend. (You know, the shows she wasn’t going to be in town for? The ones in the Twin Cities, the cities from which she was just returning home?)
Long story short (and a lot of driving for Ms. Regina), she said yes. To Friday night.
And that was … perfect.
It truly made the shows what I wanted — improvised.
It allowed the two performances to be very different from each other and that let the work expand in ways I had only imagined.
It allowed the ensemble and the audience to explore the work as a piece with a dancer and as a “purely” musical work.
It let me put my trust in my ensemble (and let them generously put their trust in me).
And, it let one more artist take part in this Journey Through the Middle.