Growing up in rural California, I desperately wanted dance lessons but no dance teachers taught in our small town. I saw dances on TV and made up ballets wearing plastic tumblers for toe shoes and convinced my older sister to sew me a kilt for a Scottish dance that I performed on top of the family picnic table.
In high school, I was elated to sign up in PE class for modern dance every semester for three years but still no dance lessons. My friends and I were left to make up dances while the gym teacher took donut breaks. Our audience-pleasing specialty became “Green Slime” dances, dancer-protoplasm rising out of the green slime to seek the sun, seeing each other, conking each other over the head, then one-by-one sinking back into the…yeah… green slime.
At twenty I finally took my first dance technique class at UC Santa Cruz and fell hard in belated love, studying composition and improvisation with Tandy Beal, Ruth Solomon, and Marcia Esposito. My end-of-term choreography was frequently voted for the quarterly open showings.
With my BA degree in Aesthetic Studies, Performance in hand, I moved to Berkeley with my composer husband and started a contemporary dance/music company called “Dancing Ear, Inc.” We did six seasons and received three grants from the Zellerbach Foundation. A highlight was structuring an entirely improvised concert with pianist Art Lande, oboist, Paul McCandless, and four dancers.
More recently I was awarded a grant from ODC/SF and won a Take Five competition for my choreography. In Berkeley I’ve studied with Leonard Pitt (mime), Dana Lawton (modern dance), and David Ford (solo performance). Since April 2018, I’ve finally taken the ballet classes at BBT I longed for when, as a child, I stared endlessly at my ballerina wallpaper.
To this mentorship project, I bring my creative ideas and humor. I hope to gain help counting my steps, conveying the steps and counts to the dancers, and bringing the piece up to performance quality.
Dance Genre: Classical, Contemporary, and Comedy
Dance Title: “Almost Late”
Music Choice: An original jazz piece, “Almost There” by Victor Spiegel. Hear it on SoundCloud:
Dance Concept: Dancers drop off their dance bags and coats and begin an Intro Ballet class with treading, cat/cow, tendus, pliés, etc. during the A section in the music (think Five Minute Hamlet, only this is a One Minute Intro Ballet Class with an imaginary barre). Eight bars in, a dancer hops late into class unsuccessfully putting on her ballet slipper, dancing with one foot bare. During improvised music sections, a line of dancers do simple pony steps, “comping” to support dancers who step out to do solos, duets, trios with the one barefooted dancer always verging on being musically late. When the A section repeats dancers peel off leaving class. The late dancer is alone when the music finishes. She looks around. The A section fades up. She dances a marvelous solo. When she finishes, a dancer brings the missing ballet slipper and puts it on her foot ala Cinderella.