Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers
Hatched, BAM Fisher, Hillman Studio

Friday, July 27, 2012

Syncopated Music: The Role of An Artistic Director

I love when I am with a group of parents and inevitably someone asks, "What do you do?" I usually chuckle. Which sometimes has the questioner quickly rephrase, "Are you a stay at home?" To which I reply, "I am the Artistic Director of a dance and theater company."
"So, you are a dancer?" Usually, the same.
"Nope, actor by trade. I run a dance and theater company. We currently have five shows on a rotating tour."
"Oh." And silence. I then quickly hustle the conversation to the other parent.
Because in all honesty, it is a difficult question to answer.
It happened to me at least three times last week in the playground, at a bookstore, on a play date. Even some of my closest friends seem lost in the mystery. What is it that I do?

When I was younger I wanted to be a jazz musician. I listened to John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald. They were my soul sculptors. I named my favorite blue bellied lizards in their honor. By the time I reached High School I may have been immersed in theater, in writing, but my thoughts were like ragtime itself. Syncopated. Ragged. I was envisioning the rhythm of my future.

Myself and my mom, by the river. Close to where I used to catch lizards.

Myself in High School.
Treehouse Shakers is home to my writing. A place for me to act and say those words out loud. A home to give reverence to the music that raised me. My words broken down like rhythmic poetry, sometimes trading fours with the dance.

My job as an artistic director is as a composer for the bigger song. I wear different hats, my leadership hat, my development hat, my artistic hat, I riff and descend through my tasks and back to the through line again. I never let the company linger too far from my thoughts. I am always organizing the key notes, alternating between instruments.

And this, this job is sometimes, like the music, too complicated to explain.

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