How hard is it to collaborate with someone who can read your mind?  Well, I can tell you that it’s tougher than you think!

I have been collaborating with my sister my whole life. Before we worked together professionally, we used to share clothes, fight for who was first in the bathroom, and cry together about being apart. The bond of our sisterhood has sustained us throughout the years. No matter how far apart we are, our shared passion for art keeps us close and collaborating.

Although Monica and I approach a project in different ways, after years of effort we truly  complement each other. We start with different visions, but we trust each other enough to know that we can travel far, and still meet on the other side. We have learned that empathy and Intellect can work together, and in that process we grow as artists.

In our collaborating process we bring ideas and themes to the table. Once the theme of the choreography has been decided, I research the facts that support the idea. Then I investigate the symbolic meaning of important elements.  The combination of facts and symbols creates images in my mind, like in a tableau.  Monica sees ideas in a story structure; she needs to organize them, before she can communicate them with clarity.

In other words, her ideas are outside, and mine are inside.  Collaboration gives us the opportunity to get out of our heads and peek into each others’ thoughts. We make art by bringing imagery and external logistics together to produce an accessible performance for the viewer.

Collaboration requires trust, respect and patience.  You need a clear map that leads you and your team to your goal. Once we start working with dancers, their different skills and abilities permeate the work. Our dancers help us turn script into poetry, not only bringing the story to life but making it beautiful to watch. Collaboration not only teaches you a lot but gives you the opportunity to become the  best version of yourself.

1 Comment

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Morgan Smith
December 13, 2015 at 1:15 am

I agree on all of the points made about collaboration. I have also collaborated with other artists before and it can be very hard to find that balance between the two artists. Trust is earned not expected from the beginning and gaining that trust makes the end product have that much more value. Creating with others can be very challenging and rewarding.

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