FBP’s 37th season is quickly drawing to a close (only 3 working days left!), and I’d be lying if I said I weren’t feeling ready for a little break. This year has been a bit polarizing, with euphoric highs and tumultuous lows, and I can’t wait to step away from the studio for a bit, refocus my energies and return refreshed and ready to work. I thought I’d continue my little tradition of sharing a small photo diary of this year’s most memorable moments. Check it out below, if you’d like…
Happy Saturday! Technically this is FBP’s “Friday” and I could not be more thrilled it has finally arrived. Here’s a beautiful little illustration, set to one of my favorite songs by The Weepies, to start your day off right. It’s a very snowy morning in Providence, and I’d love nothing more than to snuggle on the couch with my best friend, a cup of tea and banana oat cookies watching this video on repeat, but the studio awaits…have a wonderful weekend!
PS, if you’re in the RI/MA area and want to check out Time vs. Money on a big screen, you’re in luck. It’s been nominated for an award and is enjoying its big screen debut this Sunday:
Time vs. Money – Shaun Clarke | Music by The Bynars
Time and money rule our lives, but what is actually holding things together? Time and money don’t hold things together… those are concepts created by man. What is actually holding things together is love. The video features dancers, Kirsten Evans & Alex Lantz, with choreography by Viktor Plotnikov.
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.
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.
“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
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.