Elise & Scott

This weekend I attended the wedding of one of my closest friends (and room-mate)  from college, Elise, and her high school sweetheart, Scott. The ceremony was simple, elegant, and personal. They were married by Elise's aunt on a bluff overlooking the beautiful Massachusetts countryside. Her brother and uncle played "forever young" and our close friend Christine read the Irish blessing. My favorite part... Scott took Elise's last name! 
Christine reading the Irish Blessing
Dinner was a delicious organic vegetarian meal including Swiss chard that Scott and Elise had grown themselves! And of course, we all danced until we dropped--the DJ was instructed to play the couple's favorite genre, 90's pop. 
Toby! Elise & Scott's lil munchkin in his wedding best. 

I'm a sucker for planning parties, but weddings have all these other factors involved that could be totally overwhleming (family, perhaps a spiritual or religious component, ETERNAL VOWS). Elise and Scott balanced all of these so beautifully, and their special day was absolutely stunning.


Robert Rauschenberg Residency, Captiva Island

Have I ever been this happy? Will I ever be this happy again?

                                       Outside my very own beach house. Photo by Laurie Lambrecht 2013. 

In creative residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation on Captiva Island, I ask myself this question daily. As an artist based in NYC it's a completely novel experience to have a team of people tell me that what I do is not only important but necessary.  For this team of people to then insist on arranging whatever it is that my collaborators and I need to be the most prolific artists we can be, whether it's special equipment, dietary preferences, or space to rehearse--well, this notion  has been blowing my mind on a regular basis since my arrival two weeks ago. Feeling so grateful for this time, this beautiful wild place, this residency set up by a man I never met, whose happiness came from the same heart space mine does: making art, collaborating, spending time in nature. Sigh.  

Dancing in the main studio.
My living room.
Paul as art.
Kira outside of Fish House.
Inside of Fish House (David Byrne stayed here).
Kira, Josh, and Paul
Kira Blazek, Charles Atlas, Me, Grazia Della-Terza, Douglas Dunn, Jin Ju Song-Begin, and Paul Singh
Photo by Laurie Lambrecht 2013


Improvising in Goa

In January I traveled to Goa with my cousin Devika. We spent a lot of time improvising in beautiful places, a way for us to connect to our environment and to each other. It was really special for me to be able to do something creative with Devika. Improvisation can be an intimate thing... it's hard to dance alone in front of someone for the first time!  We didn't grow up together, but being family, it didn't seem scary at all for us to improvise with total abandon--I actually felt encouraged to really let go. These clips are some of my favorites, strung together in imovie (I will eventually become a better editor, I promise). Enjoy :)

Say My Name

I've been bumping this jam since my trip to LA in February when Stine, Sam, Arne and I took a Sweaty Sundays class at the very awesome dance school, The Sweat Spot. Destiny's Child had it nailed the first time around, but this remix really appeals to my Euroclubdiva side.
"You have a Euroclubdiva side?"
"Yeah I know you never would have thought that about me."
"Well actually..."
"No, I know, it's so surprising, you're shocked it's fine!"
Can you (sweat) spot me?

*Elise Franklin, not pictured, was instrumental in teaching me the words to the original Say My Name, starting the conversation on what a simple but important concept "say my name" is,  and pointing out the lyrical flaws in the remix. 

From the Horse's Mouth

I can honestly say that I had no idea what I was getting into, literally, physically, or artistically when I submitted my resume and headshot to the Ailey School for Nick Cave's HEARD NY. The Ailey School was looking for a few more dancers for a collaboration with Creative Time and MTA Arts for Transit, two companies whose work I was familiar with, and Nick Cave, an artist I had read about. An opportunity to dance in Grand Central Station sounded like a great addition to my collage of performance experiences, so I went for it. 
At our first rehearsal we improvised across the room as William Gill, our jovial choreographer, decided who would be the horse heads and who would be the tails. Once in two groups, we were told to choose our partners. I approached a rosy-cheeked Ailey student, Molly Levy, to be my rear. "Sure!" she said gamely, and we spent the rest of rehearsal moving as one, Molly hinged forward at the hips, flat backed, holding my waist as I trotted us around the room. "What kind of horse are you gonna be?" asked William. He encouraged us to find a groove with our partners and to establish our identity among the herd. I imagined our horse leaping and bounding, a powerful little pony. 
This was all well and good, until we put on our Soundsuits (Nick's name for the costumes) for the first time, the day before our premier. The Soundsuits were heavy, hot, and I could hardly see out of my mesh wire horse head. Molly informed me she could neither see nor hear in the rear. My plan of communicating verbally was out, as were all the impressive leaps I had imagined us doing. I could hardly walk in the thing! While I began to hyperventilate in my suit though, I noticed the other horses around me. They were stunning! They were magnificent! And for the most part, they were just standing around. The Soundsuits, when inhabited, came to life without the help of years of technical training. In the end, the most useful tools were the practice I've had with improvisation, and simply, stamina.

The following day, the crowds came. I had initially been under the impression that, like so many other site specific performances I've been a part of, passersby would do just that. But as we walked out to take our places for our first run, there were mobs waiting. My first thoughts were "are they giving away Book of Mormon tickets today? Is Obama at Grand Central?" and then I realized. They are here for US! They came back in droves for each of the fourteen shows.
As a dancer, I have noticed that people tend to back away from public performances and leave a nice safe barrier between the audience and the spectacle. Not here. The suspension of disbelief was incredible. The viewers saw us walk out into the hall as people, watched as we put on our raffia Soundsuits and connected heads to tails. And yet, once we were inside the horse, the horse is all they saw, and they wanted to touch the animals.
The little kids went totally nuts, which I expected. What I DID NOT expect was to see the faces of men and women, young and old, light up when we got into costume. To see a silver-haired woman struggle to reach her hand through the crowd to pet my horse nose, to hear grown men giggle with joy at the sight of my pony trotting towards them! The weight of the suit fell away quickly once I saw the reactions of our audience. Their energy was contagious and the character of my horse came from them.  Everyday I felt I knew our horse more and more. I knew what we would do and how we would act in each situation, and Molly learned to feel out my cues so our movement was more fluid. I felt the audience needed a sweet, gentle horse, one who wandered over to them and stood there for a while. I let them pet me and pretend to feed me apples (this really happened on more than one occasion!). People were delighted when my horse stopped moving and laid down for a rest. It was the simple gestures that they seemed to love the most.
I loved being in the horse, being part of real magic taking place. Even out of the horse, Nick's team, Creative Time, MTA Arts for Transit, the whole group was so supportive and pumped for us, the performance high carried on throughout the day. Now that it's all over HEARD feels like it was just a dream. A really awesome dream, where magic exists in the most mundane circumstances and a girl gets to be a beautiful pony in a whimsical train station for a little while.
Molly and Me with Nick Cave

All photos by Jenny Bakshi and Tamara Clarke, except top photo (mine).

BAM's Amazing April Fools' Joke

I think.

Somehow, before going to see Einstein on The Beach at BAM this fall, I did not get the memo that it was five hours long with no intermission. Thankfully audience members could come and go as they pleased. Alex and I left after the first half of the show, had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Olea, and returned to see a section where a 30 foot rectangular fluorescent column moves from vertical to horizontal over the course of 45 minutes.  We stayed through the end of the show in spite of our 2013 attention spans (the original premiered in 1976), and left the theater walking in very very slow motion, trying not to giggle, until an usher asked if I was okay. Although I'm pretty sure this is a hilarious April Fools' joke,  I  wouldn't be surprised if Baby Einstein on The Beach at BAM gets young Brooklyners more jazzed than the original . If they dare to make it, I will come.

By Nightfall

I am a slow reader. I like to take my time, saying each word in my mind as my eyes pass over it, savoring the author's linguistic choices. I finished Michael Cunningham's By Nightfall in three days, and ironically, it's because I didn't want it to end. Cunningham gives every transient moment a life of its own. The story--about searching for true genius in art and finding it in real life instead-- was a resonant  New York portrait. I’m hoping one of you will read it, so we can have coffee and chat and re-read our favorite lines together.