My First Show at Dance Theater Workshop
The first time I caught a break in New York was in 2003 when Craig Peterson saw me dance a solo I’d just made called Approach and Retreat at WAX in Williamsburg. He came up afterwards to talk about an opportunity to show my work at Dance Theater Workshop. A newbie to the city, I impulsively hugged him when I realized what he meant! He invited me to his office the next day and I remember being terribly nervous, scared actually, to go meet with him. But he offered me a fully produced half-evening (shared with Karl Anderson) in 2004 with a commission fee, and I thought, “This is it! I've made it, I'm being presented at DTW!!!”
In that early meeting, Craig warned me not to relax at this point - that I needed to work to promote this opportunity to presenters, and while it was a first step, there was still a long road ahead. He wanted me to know that I’d be responsible for getting influential people in the door, and that, ultimately, everything depended on that. I think he recognized that I didn't have a clue about the scene, and he was right. I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to pursue his advice!
After that series of performances, Cathy Edwards offered me a split-bill at DTW again (shared with Ivy Baldwin) for 2006. It was then I formed the first iteration of a dance company (though I wasn't yet aware I was doing it) to create a 50-minute quintet called Wet Road. I had three marvelous dancer/friends on board committed to undertake the research I was obsessed with.
Painstakingly and with no small amount of shame, I wrote my first fundraising letter to friends and family. I was thrilled to raise $7,000 along with so much genuine encouragement. I will always be so grateful for my first wave of supporters - they launched my first and fragile stepping-out-dreaming-big moment!
Consequently, Wet Road cost $7,000 which was a vast fortune to me then. I was in night school at Swedish Insititute for massage and working during the day in the wonderful Stephen Petronio's office as an administrative assistant. I’m really not sure when we managed to fit in all those endless rehearsals - maybe weekends? It’s a beautiful thing to look back and see what can be accomplished when you don’t know any better.