Relay Dance Collective presents SHOWCASE Sept. 25, 2016 Dance Fremont! 4015 Stone Way N, Seattle, WA 98103
All tickets include performance and food. Cost: General $20.00; Admission + 1 free beverage $25; Patron (unlimited beverages, and preferred seating) $40.
By Gabrielle Gainor As a nurse and hospice volunteer, Jerene Aldinger is passionate about honoring elders. As a choreographer, it's no different. The new work she's creating for Relay Dance Collective's Showcase will shed light on issues such as Alzheimer's through a performance that's bittersweet, yet hopeful. Brought to life by dancers, Alex Cann, Katherine Freeman, Austin Sexton and Diadra Smith, the work will also be performed at Frye Museum. The museum approached Jerene (who has created dances about end-of-life issues previously) for their annual conference on arts and dementia. "This year's theme is legacy, so I said, 'Sure! I can do that!' I spent a half-day going from crying to smiling to laughing (and back again) listening to StoryCorps' archives on dementia," Jerene says. To create a score, she paired one of these audio stories with a song she'd been saving for the right occasion. "The dancers and I spent our first rehearsal mostly just sharing our experiences with loved ones with dementia. We were young women in our twenties talking about aging and illness. How often does that happen?" Each dancer created a movement phrase based on the group's conversation. Since then, the choreographer/nurse has continued to draw on the dancers' observations and phrases during her creative process.
Who or what are you?! A caring and thoughtful person, prone to anxiety and cynicism, whose therapy is nature, movement, playing and creating.
Top three loves outside of dance. Go! Swimming in sun-soaked lakes (and hiking through trees to get there), learning (favorite method: the podcast), talking and laughing with friends (board games being my favorite form of socializing).
Why did you select the dancers in your piece? There's a benefit to setting a new piece on dancers you've already moved with. I choreograph to the styles, abilities and personalities of my dancers (or at least try to), so with only five rehearsals to work with, I expedited the process by selecting women I've worked with these past two seasons with RDC. I also saw these dancers moving well together -- this piece is quite fluid. On top of that, my four dancers are sharing one voice -- and not my voice or our humanity's voice... They're honoring the legacy of a specific individual and the group he represents. That's new for me. I keep struggling-- wondering if I am allowed to tell another's story through dance.
As an artist, what are your favorite things about living in Seattle? Easy. Where else can I work as a full-time nurse AND keep dancing? I was shocked when I moved here four years ago how accessible the dance community is. It's not like that in most places I've lived. Instead of competition and barriers there is so much community and support. I love it!
What lessons did you learn from the last dance you made that you've taken with you into this current process? I asked my dancers for feedback following the last dance that I created. One of the comments that stood out most to me was encouragement to provide more feedback/critique to my dancers. If I'm not seeing what I want to see, say so because they want the opportunity to make my vision happen. I recognize how 'carefree' I've been with a lot of my pieces, enjoying what each dancer contributes in their natural way. But as a dancer I can see how a lack of clarity can be frustrating, so I'm trying to let go of feeling 'mean' about offering corrections, and see it as offering clarification so we can all be on the same page for the vision of the dance. We all deserve and benefit from that!
What's your coffee order? To my husband's dismay, I'm not a huge coffee drinker. I'm waaayyyy too sensitive! My go-to is an Earl Grey tea with a splash of milk and tiny bit of sugar. Every. Single. Day.
Sidenote: Brendan does make a mean batch of coffee! I first described coffee as burnt tea, then over-steeped tea (thus requiring a healthy dose of milk and sugar), but now I can drink his cold brew black and actually enjoy it! (Until I get the sweats and heart palpitations that follow...)
What local artists/troupes are inspiring you right now? I was pleasantly surprised to hear more about The Frye Museum when I met with the Mary Jane, the conference coordinator. I admire their emphasis on community relevance and accessibility, plus all the amazing incorporation of other artists and art forms!
What's the biggest challenge you face as a dancer/choreographer in Seattle? Probably the same challenge I have in my other walks of life. I tend to question my abilities. You could just say I'm a pretty content person, lacking the motivation to really 'go for it' and make bigger things happen (for example, producing my own evening-length work, or starting my dream nursing home to change the face of aging in our culture. But I think there's a fire I'm not allowing to really blaze. I've always been pretty risk-averse.
What are your goals for yourself? Take more risks with an intention to learn from failure, which implies accepting that failure is an option, and a beneficial one at that!
What's next for you? I have one year left at my current hospital before moving on to who-knows-what! The hubby gets out of the Army this November and is looking for a new job in the Seattle area. I'm trying to start part-time Hospice nursing in the meantime. We love Washington (if it were up to me, we'd live here forever), but we're considering going back to school. Him to business or law, and me to business (that nursing home dream!) or nurse practitioner or psychology or ..... ;) But dancing and creating all the while!