In August of 2001 I had my first professional gig as a dancer. Freshly minted from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Program, I felt a 50/50 mix of apprehension/excitement about life in dance. The choreographer and employer was my dear friend and regular collaborator (to this day!) Lindsay Zier-Vogel. [ASIDE: you should check her out, her writing and crafting and sheer verve are intoxicating. I’m sure she’ll come up on this blog often! Her Love Letter Project is particularly awesome.] The piece was called Cedar Stories.
I costumed Cedar Stories, resulting in some of my favourite original costume work to date. Lindsay actually still wears one of the dresses around socially!
We found some fantastic fabric that stretched in all directions but was somehow not spandexy. It was dark green on one side and light on the underside, which was fun design-wise. I measured and drew and patterned up a storm. And the costume-faeries were with me because they worked like a charm, timeless.
Cedar Stories was performed in fFIDA (aka the now defunct Fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists). I shared the stage with 2 fellow students from The School of TDT, Jennifer-Lynn Crawford and Kate Holden (centre and left respectively in the above shot) — both women who have gone onto active, inspiring careers as dance artists. The music was live, a cellist named Rachel McBride. Her skills were remarkable and haunting, it was magic working in studio and on stage with her.
Lindsay and I got to know each other at The School of TDT. I actually remember her choreography at a student coffee house before I really remember her. It may or may not have been to Ani DiFranco! She’s got a rare choreographic sensibility. I still remember running backwards in a big arc in this work, feeling rather kamikaze, imagery — such as a hand gesture mimicking the way Chestnut leaves fold down. A pair of my Fluevog shoes also featured in Cedar Stories, I think I had to toss one behind my back, and I may or may not have clocked another dancer at some point *ahem*.
I’m not sure if there is video footage of Cedar Stories available, 2001 being the dark ages before little digital gadgets with more memory than I can conceive of were readily available. I don’t even think we have photos from the actual performance. But I do have these backstage pics. And great memories.
Oh, 2001 was also the summer I met and fell in love with a boy named Adam. Now I’m married to him. Still in love, actually way more than I was at first blush. ‘Twas a good summer!