In order to connect with an audience when performing on stage, a dancer must open up to the vulnerability of allowing every part of themselves to be on display. The nude sports bras of Kelsey Bartman’s “This” in last weekend’s Shades of Light brought a whole new meaning to my philosophical idea of hiding nothing from the audience. The piece (which opened the show) started with five dancers along the back of the stage walking slowly forward while staring down the audience… no room for self-consciousness here!
As a bunhead, dancing with Texture has forced me out of my ballerina shell and it’s been a wonderful, horrible, frustrating, fun, exciting, challenging, painful experience to push my limits every day in the studio. Kelsey’s choreography requires grounded, earthy movements and I had been struggling in rehearsal to get the right quality in the steps. But as soon as I donned that costume I felt like a different dancer. Just as wearing a romantic tutu inspires the floating feeling of a “wili” in Giselle, so does a nude sports bra inspire – no, require – daring, reckless abandon.
There’s no satisfaction like running offstage, breathless, and feeling the overwhelming sense of accomplishment that comes with doing something you never thought you could. Alan and Kelsey have created a safe environment in which dancers are free to experiment and (I believe) it shows. My fellow dancers constantly inspire me to work harder and rise to every challenge while simultaneously accepting me for who I am as a person and artist. Texture breeds creativity and we’re blessed to be able to share that with others every time we step on stage.