March Madness

Life feels like a full court press.

Now that spring has sprung, life is getting more hectic for a lot of people. While pressures and deadlines are spawning out of virtually everywhere, time and the weather has changed, inspiring everyone to take a break and indulge in some much needed recreational activity. Our social calendars are exploding, we’re going on trips, we’re meeting up with friends we haven’t seen all winter. There is so much to do, so much to get ready for.

I am loathe to say that my return to the stage is in limbo. In a way it is a blessing, not knowing whether or not I will be playing the role of Jesus in an upcoming dance theater production in Baltimore. The production has gone on hiatus as the director would like more time to develop the show in order to make sure that it is absolute perfection. I know that I was not the sole cause for his postponement, but my nightmares tell me otherwise.

It was supposed to be a great experience builder for me, for I rarely work for other directors and choreographers. I can’t even think of one off the top of my head. The innovative and demanding choreography did prove to be a little daunting and intimidating for me, and I kind of choked during rehearsals so insecure in my abilities as a dancer. I am the same way with my own work, but work that I compose for myself is usually based on my capacities and strengths as a dancer, so I need not worry if I’m too out of shape to do something at the request of another.

I was waiting to hear back from some other artists regarding the Fringe Festival. After taking two years off, I decided to jump back into the beast as not to fall into oblivion as a choreographer. I was also invited to present a full length production at this year’s LGBT Arts Festival that goes up in early June, just 3 months before Fringe. The latter would be a tremendous opportunity for me to expand my audience, ironically enough, I don’t have a lot of contacts on my roster that are from the gay community.

For the Fringe I will be presenting a two act play entitled “The Ending or Beginning” that incorporates dance into the work. There is supposed to also be an interesting but subtle use of video work in the piece, but I don’t think I will have the fiscal resources to pull it off. Fringe costs a lot of money; there is a participation fee, marketing fee, venue rental fee and all the advertising you have to do on your own. Then there is the studio rental for rehearsals and if you can, you really need to pay the performers or offer them a cut of the door revenue that usually is barely enough to cover the expenses. Let us not forget the A/V equipment and labor expenses, the costumes, the materials to make set pieces, the props, etc. It is an exhausting process, in more ways than one. Oh yeah, and transportation and food costs.

I turned the original script for “The Ending or Beginning” into a screenplay and I had hoped to one day produce a film version of it. I have only submitted it to one competition to no success. The opening monologue was performed at an interdisciplinary show I produced and directed in 2006, and it went over very, very, very well.

I’m thinking I will do whatever it takes to streamline the work and my goal is to have everything I need for the show be able to fit in a cab with me, even if I need to get a ride otherwise (the arts is all about Plan B). I am very proud of this work. It was one of the first full length pieces I wrote during that dark time when Bush got re-elected, and I feel as though it speaks to my style the most.

It is a dramadey, half comedy, half drama, that centers around one character, Jodi, who is an art school drop out with a lot of talent. The story follows her through and after her first art exhibit and a love quadrilateral ensues between her and several other motley characters in the story. The dialog is rich with wit and subtext, and the characters are all unique and cruise at different levels.

I am doing a historical ballet for the LGBT Festival that will primarily center around Lili St. Cyr, the famous burlesque dancer, and her alleged homosexual tendencies (w/ Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe). The ballet itself will depict a time line of strip tease in America from the 30s to present. I am hoping that this won’t be too hard to do and that I will keep the cast pretty small. The stage sets won’t be that demanding, but the costumes will take up a lot of my time, but really, I am very much looking forward to designing again.

For these two lovelies, I will be having a dual audition, something totally new and totally DeVo. I will have to pick actors and dancers for two very different productions at the same time. I am looking for strong personalities and committed artists. I will know it when I see it. While a look is very important, and I always have in mind a look for my characters, what really draws me in is seeing someone that can bring something new to what I’ve created and make it their own. I like works that progress and while much of the idea of both of these pieces is pretty concrete in my head, I am looking for a muse or two to help me develop as an artist. I am constantly in need of inspiration, it is my life force.

Speaking of inspiration, my recent trip to Barcelona, Spain was remarkably inspiring. While I had plenty of time to relax and clear my head, I used that time in a totally different way. I came back to the states manic with ideas, simply mad about wanting to create more. I wanted to write, I wanted to paint, I wanted to start designing clothes again. Such a wonderful, colorful city. It made me feel my love of art again. For a while I was so overwhelmed with my ideas that I got depressed. I want to do it all…but I can only do a few things at a time.

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