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Michelle's Musings

A Unique Opportunity to Collaborate

A few months ago, a professional dancer and choreographer reached out to me at the behest of a member of one of my writing communities to inquire if I would be willing to participate in a project funded by the writers organization. The project entails collaboration between BIPOC choreographers and writers and need not be completed by the designated performance date, as the emphasis is more on the collaborative process.


Puzzled about what would be expected of me, I asked whether I was to watch a dance routine and then write something based on that performance, or write a piece that would provide inspiration for the show. To my surprise, the specifics of the collaboration were left entirely to the participants.


Given my unfamiliarity with this concept, I did a little research; I found nothing to inform me about what might be involved. Given that my writers organization funded this program, I considered that my writing might be the nidus for the collaboration. Intrigued by the idea of two distinct creative types working together, I agreed to a preliminary meeting with the artistic director of a dance theatre company. Initially, I feared that my lack of a complete understanding of what the proposal entailed might lead the director to shy away from working with me—a fear I attribute to the imposter syndrome. Within the first half-hour, however, it became clear that he and I share a lot of commonalities in our backgrounds.


The director wants my writing to form "the inspiration for the movement." He's fond of "the spoken word," and he says he has no intention of critiquing my writing (imagine that!). The subject matter and format would be my choice, and he'd even welcome my suggestions for accompanying music. Additionally, he wishes to see our project through to its final performance under the auspices of his production company.


It became clear during the meeting that the stipend does not cover a completed project, but I saw this opportunity as one to rework an incomplete piece I'd filed away for a future time. After what turned into a two hour meeting, the artistic director and I agreed to proceed with the collaboration and parted quite energized at the prospect of what we could develop together. Currently, he has reviewed my submission draft and is motivated to finalize the project. We will meet again to incorporate his contribution in anticipation of the performance date set for next month. So stay tuned for what I hope to be an exciting update!

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