LORENA AND MANDY REFLECT ON THEIR SECOND STORY EXPERIENCES
I was excited when Jonathan invited me to join this group, to bring my baby to the studio, and possibly do some work – even though it wasn’t clear exactly what we would be doing! I ultimately turned down another opportunity – teaching in Manhattan– so I could be part of this new project with Jonathan. Teaching would have meant another day of daycare. I knew Jonathan’s project would allow me to be artistic, to create – AND have my son with me. I have found this combination to be very fulfilling. As a working new mom, I didn’t want to spend more time apart from him.
That said, the process can be hard. When I choreograph, I ride a wave of inspiration. It is difficult to continually interrupt my process to deal with child care issues. It is a challenge to figure out how to be a creator and caregiver at the same time. Still, this arrangement is more rewarding than work that separates me from my child. I can be creative and happy that my son is with me. Sebastian, in turn, is entertained by the environment and happy to be with me.
Jonathan, Mandy and I are like-minded; we all understand the process of what’s happening at our rehearsals. Since Mandy’s kids are older and not present, she can focus on the choreography and keep working when Jonathan and I step out to take care of the kids. And because she’s a mom, she can help us out with the kids when we need time – or even just a moment – to think or move freely.
Jonathan and Mandy are great dancers. The level of experience is so high, and we’re all on the same wavelength…we’ve all toured and worked with many choreographers. As mature dancers, we have the ability to be receptive to what the choreographer is giving without projecting our expectations onto him/her. This is different from typical scenarios in which the dancers have expectations of the choreographer – usually to have all the answers – which creates a lot of pressure. We really have a sense of freedom as both dancers and choreographers to not get it perfect the first time. Also, as a choreographer, I don’t have to worry about the number and timing of the changes I want to make; Jonathan and Mandy understand and expect that changes are part of the process.
In the past year or two, I have been missing dance terribly. When I retired, pregnant with my son Max, I thought I was done. I was satisfied with my performance career and had the chance to travel extensively. I was ready to take some down time to raise a family. Well, that only lasted so long!
In the spring, I reached out to Jonathan through Facebook. I saw that he was living up in Westchester with his family and wanted to catch up and see if we could get something going.
He was really great about organizing space and getting us together, and we had our first rehearsal earlier this summer.
Although I met Lorena for the first time, we discovered that we know an enormous number of the same people through the dance world, so it was pretty easy to feel comfortable as a group.
I have tried to explore other possibilities within the dance world, but I truly just love to dance. I love to learn, explore, and perfect new movement and share it with others. It works out great, because both Jonathan and Lorena want to choreograph – and I just want to dance!
I have been able to attend rehearsal without my kids, so I am happy to help out and go with the flow. I am not sure my kids would last through an entire rehearsal, but one of these days it might be interesting to find out.
It would be a dream come true for them to see me perform, and for them to see that I can do more than wait on their every need and desire!
Sherri Muroff Kalt, founder of Process Portraits, LLC and author of Portrait of an Artistic Journey: The Creative Process in Real Life Context, is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Duke University with a B.A. in psychology. She began her career in marketing and sales in New York City with L’Oréal, Monet Jewelers, and Givenchy. READ MORE