Imagine sitting in the audience before a show listening to typical pre-show audience chatter amongst viewers. Surrounded by empty seats since opening night is on a Thursday, but it’s better this way… nobody to notice your shaking and shallow breathing. The house lights dim, the universal signal the show is about to begin, and suddenly your body has been depleted all of all oxygen. Even though your piece isn’t until the end of the second act, from the moment the show begins you’re holding your breath… tonight is your coming out.
In November, a simple in-class assignment turned into my first exclusive choreographic project to be put on a stage. As a member of the dance team in high school I choreographed pep rally dances and even choreographed my first group piece on myself and my other classmates my senior year. In my early competition days I co-created a few works and an extremely premature solo for myself but here at OSU, this was my first time choreographing something I could sit in the audience and experience. This new territory was marked with a lot of rough terrain, but before I knew it, all that hard work was being displayed for everyone to see.
Four months of creating, imagining, discarding, screaming, stressing, laughing, and producing with three of my good friends was hard but so rewarding in the end. By the end of March, Affinity III had the creative traces of myself, Heidi, Lily, and Callie running all up and through it. A collaborative masterpiece.
It feels like I blinked in November and it was suddenly opening night and the piece was no longer in my hands. As I sat in the audience during intermission and the lights dimmed to cue viewers to return to their seats, the excited looks from my peers in the row below me gave me comfort but not enough to release the tension in all of my muscles. Then I heard the beginning of Pendulum by FKA twigs begin to play and saw my beautiful dancers hit everything with their whole hearts. I became overwhelmed with emotions within the first 30 seconds as I saw everything we worked on come together just as I had hoped.
Then it was over.
Four performances and that’s it. Four performances and the piece dies. Four perfect performances.
I am in disbelief of how well my piece was received. Affinity III wasn’t a story for the audience as much as it was for the minds involved in creation. It was an experiment full of trial and error that people loved. It was everything.
I want to say thank you again to Heidi Murr, Callie Lacinski, and Lily Friedman for agreeing to embark on this journey with me so blindly. We created something great, and you all made my first time with my big girl choreographer pants on worth the stress. Without you all, the piece would not have been what it was. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I will cherish the first time I teared up over my ideas from the audience. I will cherish the first time I saw a picture I took of my dancers on the front page of the school newspaper. I will cherish the first time I stood in a studio and created for others, grew with others, and hoped to inspire change within others.
It’s over now, but this experience was nothing short of life-changing, eye opening, and priceless.
Bring on the next endeavor.