the fading of light and love


We enter the back of a sublimely bare church, the void of prayers sated only by a rich wash of morning light.  Soothing acoustic plucks guide a white dress through satisfyingly simple, narrative movement.  Intimate perspectives drift over pews, peeking their way down into a dreamy scene.  The videographic rendering of indie rocker Rob Drabkin‘s Stay (The Morning Light Fades) is refreshingly elegant.

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Featuring clean choreography by Amanda Copple of Denver’s Michelle Latimer Dance Company, the music video is indulgently fluid in all of its facets.  Copple, partnered by charming fellow MLDC dancer Luke Kamppila, weaves the melody into each step, chords rolling over shoulders like a third dancer, visible only through the expression of its creator.  As our trio of dancers spill out from the pews of Colorado Springs’ Shove Chapel, we follow their “catch and release” love story, desperate movements shadowing the beauty and pain of an endangered relationship.  Copple and Kamppila float in and out of each others arms, the discord in their energies demonstrated by opposing directional focuses and out of sync turns.  They swim through the open air into feathery lifts and gentle connections, then combust into an irreparable dissonance.  Director Dillon Novak reflects on the result of a “once in a lifetime” videoshoot, offering,

 “Partitions of stained glass and countless rows of outstretching pews and columns become the physical bounds of a relationship. Beginning in the back of the sanctuary, a history of love unfolds into a dance. Their story travels through radiant light and crushing darkness, fighting their way towards the front of the church.”

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The composer and musician Rob Drabkin himself, who chose the video’s venue not for any religious or nuptial semblance but for the pure enchantment of its natural light and stained-glass windows, sheds perhaps the most insightful light on the collaboration.  Drabkin’s soulful singing reflects his own experience with the ache and relief which shadow the ultimate expiring of a faded relationship.  Stay‘s delicate chord progressions materialized as movement in Drabkin’s mind from the moment he conceived them, and when the song was complete, a need for choreographic accompaniment became impossible to ignore.  “It was time to take a risk and put the idea into motion.”  And we’re so glad you did, Mr. Drabkin.

Catch the full music video on vevo.


ballet with a bend

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Today is the day!  I’m very excited to finally share the music video for The Bynar’s Time vs. Money.  We worked so hard to create this, and I think the final product tells that story itself.  I am beyond proud to have been a part of this project, and hope you all enjoy watching.

stay tuned


Remember that music video A and I began working on just one day after Peter Pan?  Welp, folks, it’s been edited, cut, stretched, snipped, nipped, pasted, fluffed and smoothed, and it’s all ready for the big premiere next Monday, July 21st.  I just saw the final version this morning and guys, it’s good.  Between Viktor Plotnikov’s choreography, the genius of the film crew and the charged music of The Bynars, this video is a true collaboration of artists.

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That’s what I’ve loved most about this summer, so far; It’s been a summer of artistic collaboration.  I’ve taken every opportunity that has come my way, even the ones that have always scared me (hello, teaching!), without trepidation.  It’s like I’ve broken through this barrier that’s held me captive in my own skin for so long.  I’m not sure exactly when it happened (did something dissolve while I was hovering above the stage the first time that harness lifted me up to Neverland?), but what really matters here is that something did happen.  Something changed in me.  And isn’t that what your twenties are all about anyway?  Trying new things and saying “yes” even when it seems like the worst thing to say?  This new mantra has lead me to so many places I never thought I’d be this summer, one of which I visited just last week, with yet another photoshoot…stay tuned.

first photo via Shaun Clarke. second photo via my instagram.

lights, camera

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“What time is it?”

“You know what, I have absolutely no idea.  We’ve been in this black hole for so many hours…is it still Wednesday?”

-A and I at 3:30 pm 3 Wednesdays ago, volleying exhausted sentiments at the end of a 6-hour dance day.  The studio that we spend our lives in had been completely blacked out for our viedo shoot.  Dark curtains covered the big windows, the fluorescent lights were extinguished- there would be nothing for the strangely live dust bunnies to cling to but the fierce lights that spotted us, most times from behind.  With the free Seven Stars lunch (possibly the highlight of an already exceptionally interesting day) still fresh in our gracious mouths, A and I pondered the allusive hour, realized what a long time we had been working for, and exchanged an unplanned nod of pride towards each other.  We had one segment left to shoot, and it was, without a conference, our favorite.

Stepping back into the center of the studio, we took our positions for the “spinny sequence”, between a backpack-sized camera and one blinding spotlight.  As we danced our last section, the two objects moved on human legs, slowly circling around us, mimicking our revolution.  Now this is a real black hole, A and I agreed with our eyes.  Just keep spinning, one more take, and we might be released from it’s spiraling suction.

“That’s a wrap!”, the director led our celebratory applause before embarking on his round of handshakes and high fives.  It was the second week of summer and already we’d filmed a music video- talk about starting off the new season with a bang.

Stay tuned for updates as the music video for Boston’s own, The Bynars, “Time vs. Money”, progresses through editing and into it’s final cut.  Can’t wait until the launch and premiere, so I can finally share the full project!

photo stills from Time vs. Money, via Shaun Clarke

i’ll spend the time, you spend the money

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Hello, lovelies!  Sorry for abandoning you a bit, there.

After finishing Peter Pan, things slowed down only slightly.  I took one day of rest before heading back into the studio to begin work on a project with Alex and Viktor Plotnikov (hint: we are filming a music video!).  Viktor is one of my favorite choreographers, not only for the beautiful language of movement his body seems to have effortlessly created as if writing an entire alphabet of steps is just a natural thing to do, but for the coolness he exudes.  And I don’t mean the obvious type of cool that makes you jealous, or nervous, or perplexed.  I mean a cool so genuinely easy-going and real that you might not believe it comes from the same man whose brilliant mind made dying orchids dance and instruments inhabit their musicians.

Today Viktor started rehearsal by asking me how old I am.  After responding, “22”, my mind wandered back through the years, running its fingers through every strangely beautiful ballet of his creation I had ever danced.  I remembered Carmen, and Kinetic 2, and The Widow’s Broom, which I jumped into the day before the performance, back in my senior year of high school.  I remembered the time we worked together at Jacob’s Pillow, where he set a 3-movement piece in one week, on a 22-person company who had all just met for the first time that day.  I remembered Untitled, a solo in which I attempted to unwind a mentally unstable brain, and Blue Canary, where my classmates and I danced like hobos to a Russian song sang by an Italian man in (mostly) English.  Then my mind landed on Alone.  Set to the soothing strum of a guitar and dressed in simplicity, this piece remained hauntingly true to its title.  When I was 16 and performing Alone for YAGP, its eerie mood didn’t quite occur to me; At that age, dancing onstage in a biketard for a hundred strangers and a panel of stiff judges makes it a little tough to feel alone.  But when I think of this dance now, I realized how utterly fitting the sad appellation was.  It was my first time ever working solo with Viktor, 5 years that feel like 15 ago.

Tugging me from my memories, I hear Viktor say, “I know some people think it’s hell to do this, but I would live for 5,000 years if I could, just to see what will happen to us”, with a laugh.  I look up to see him beaming towards no one in particular, a smile as big as the cheshire cat spread across his face and his signature eye twinkle catching the mid-morning light.  I’m convinced that’s the secret to his creativity.  When children grow into teenagers and then young adults, every day that little twinkle behind their pupils fades a bit, only to be replaced by the cloudy onset of jaded realities.  Every day that special light where imagination sprouts becomes duller and duller as we begin to understand the limits that life presents.  But the difference with Viktor is, he never lost his sparkle.  He has the boundless imagination of a child backed by the brain of a smart, detail-oriented man, and that’s what makes him brilliant.