Updated: Jan 9, 2022
This story is about the conflict between the desire to be seen and fear of what can happen when you are. You have this passion, this unique voice that you desperately want to share, but you keep it hidden because life has told you that it's better to be invisible than to suffer the pain of other people's criticism and rejection....right? What's the cost of connecting? What's the cost of vulnerability? What's the cost of being who you are? What's the cost of watching life pass you by? What's the cost of keeping your distance, not just from others, but from yourself? What's the cost of being so careful that you disappear?
I first heard this song 3 years ago. I was working on a show at Denver School of the Arts, the arts high school in Denver Colorado, and after hearing several of the students talk about it decided to give it a listen. This song crawled inside of me. I felt deep resonance with the lyrics, with the character, an individual that's heart is screaming "HERE I AM!!! LOOK OVER HERE!", but is terrified of what happens if someone actually looks. I can relate to the desire to play it safe, to stay quiet, to hope for meaningful connection, but be paralyzed by the prospect of taking steps to connect. 6 months ago I built the first 90 seconds of this choreography and taught it in my On The Base Choreo class at Tease Studio. I had just started working on the first On-Camera Pole Choreography and put this one down as my favored second.
In Stefanie Chow and Alice Zheng I found collaborators who were interested, not only in taking Broadway to the pole, but investigating the deeper wounds of younger years, the search for belonging, and our continuing exploration of what we have to share with the world. We worked HARD on this piece. Stefanie and I, my original Broadway and DEH collaborator, met for over a month to refresh the original choreography. She would do the first section while I messed around with the second section and began to build out all the remaining pieces. This took weeks.
I would often work at home, trying and re-trying sections of choreography, until I had something that felt like it lived in the world of the piece. I'd record it and send the video along so we could work it the next time.
Alice joined us in the beginning of February and we spent another 10 hours putting everything together and polishing. These ladies showed up ready to work every time. The focus and drive in the room carried this piece from start to finish through the usual frustrations and 2 rescheduled shoot dates. We had the piece long before we filmed- the rehearsal video below from February 22, almost 3 weeks before we filmed, illustrates the joy of being able to rehearse. We already had the shape of it, from there we could work on polishing and taking care of all the little moments that really bring a story to life.
George V.K joined us on the last evening and offered his incredible skill in capturing what had been created. He is a true professional and master of this craft- in 2 hours he was able to step into a space, learn the movements, and contribute his eye to filling out the visual world of this piece. I am so grateful for his collaboration and willingness to go on the ride.
Tease Studio provides the background for this whole endeavor. Thank you to Ashlee Renee for keeping this space running through the insanity of the last year. I'm grateful to have a place to dance and create projects like this one.
This is the kind of project that changes you. You pour yourself into something and the universe replies with lessons, evolution. Here's what I learned, not through abstraction, but through feeling and the experience of creating this piece- hiding is an option. Watching instead of participating is an option. Longing for connection, without taking the risks to connect is an option. Staying out of the sun instead of getting burned is an option. But that's what sunscreen and big hats are for. We all have something unique to offer this world. We all belong here. You are worth sharing.
Interested in participating in On-Camera Pole Choreography? Visit www.greyceskinner.com for upcoming workshops!
"Waving Through A Window"
Dear Evan Hansen
Produced, Directed, Choreographed by
Filmed by George V.K
Dancers and Choreography Contributors
Stefanie Chow and Alice Zheng
Location provided by
Tease Studio Denver
The Pole Pod
Special thanks to RLK for reminding me to "enjoy it."