Dancing for Donald

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Yep, that’s me bottom left hand corner, pretty cool!

So, what was this all about? Well The first question for many people is, who is Donald Byrd? Outside of the choreography of the Tony Award winning show “The Color Purple,” let’s do a quick little bio:

Donald Byrd became Artistic Director of Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater in December 2002.  From 1978 – 2002, he was Artistic Director of Donald Byrd/The Group, a critically acclaimed contemporary dance company, founded in Los Angeles and later based in New York, that toured extensively, both nationally and internationally.  He has created over 80 modern dance works for his own groups as well as the Alvin Ailey Company, the Day­ton Contemporary Dance Company, and Philadel­phia Dance Company (Philadanco), among others.  He has choreographed for classical companies, including Pacific North­west Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Aterballetto, MaggioDanza diFirenze, and Oregon Ballet Theater.  He has worked with some of the most prestigious theater and opera companies in the U.S., including New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, the Intiman Theater, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera and New York City Opera. Mr. Byrd has served on the faculty of the California Institute for the Arts and taught at Wesleyan University, the School of Visual Arts, Harvard Summer Dance Center, California State University Long Beach, and the Universityof Cali­fornia at Santa Cruz, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Dance Theater Workshop in New York. He was a fellow at The Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard for three years.  Byrd also served for three terms on the Seattle Arts Commis­sion.  In 2006, he received a TONY nomination for his choreography for The Color Purple.

So, he is kind of a big deal.

Anyway through Seattle’s Central District Forum I was awarded a mentorship with Donald where he curated a show to showcase up and coming black choreographers in Seattle. I rehearsed like crazy and thought, this is the perfect platform for me to work on choreography for my one womyn show, “Kink.” I decided to work from the very beginning, literally, the chemical reaction of of arousal. I called it “Slide.” The beginning felt organic and beautiful, because I had the story, I wrote the moment, I could embody the wetness, “the moment before the drip,” as I referred to it in the piece.

Then I got lost, completely caught up in the glory of working with such a high caliber choreographer and began to overwork the piece. I was throwing in tricks,jumps and turns that I would never use under normal circumstances. The performance was a success, but I felt like crap afterwards for not staying true to what I thought I should have done.

Not to fret, the following week I came home and had an opportunity to rework “Slide” with the beautiful talented, Alia Kache, also known as my sister lol.

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Knowing me and how I work, she was able to take my choreography and direct me back to myself. I am so grateful to have the most beautiful, talented, loving, supportive sister in the world. Time to get “Kink” back on track.

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