Nashville, Tenn. — I’m a composer, and I’m in the midst of working very closely with a choreographer to create a new dance for the Nashville Ballet‘s Emergence program. Emergence is an experimental lab that offers choreographers and musicians the opportunity to try out new ideas.
Luckily, I have a dance background. My path to becoming a composer began with dance lessons. I studied at the Stamford City Ballet under former Balanchine ballerina Allegra Kent. For three years, I happily jetéd, relevéd and pliéd my way towards my dream of becoming a prima ballerina. At some point, I realized I wanted to study and play the music that I had been dancing to.
So I traded in my ballet shoes for piano lessons and took my knowledge of movement with me when I started composing. Movement has become an essential part of my process. I studied composition at the Juilliard School and have been writing music for dance ever since.
I am so thankful to Paul Vasterling, the artistic director and CEO of the Nashville Ballet, for having me involved with Emergence. For this project, Paul encouraged me to compose the piece that I have always wanted to write. I’ve decided to be a little adventurous and use violin, cello, piano, and…electric bass!
Three choreographers are paired with three musicians, and I have been matched with the incredible Jennifer Archibald of Arch Dance. I am so thrilled to be working with Jennifer. I feel like our aesthetics will go together well. She’s based in New York, and I’m in Nashville so we’ll be collaborating long-distance before she comes to town in May. It is such a luxury to be able to workshop ideas and experiment without the pressure of creating a finished product. We’ll be showing our work-in-progress to the public at the end of our two-week collaboration.
This is the perfect project to experiment with new sounds, and I think I’ll get some interesting colors from this combination of instruments. I’ll be bringing you behind-the-scenes during the creation of our new work.
Here you can listen to “From,” a composition for string quartet — along with choreography by Kathleen Dyer for the KDNY Dance Company, originally created in 2009.