Juilliard Dancers (2021); photo by Christopher Duggan
How Live-Directing and Live-Streaming Reminds Me of Performing
When I was in 7th grade my grandmother told me about Juilliard.
I was a dancer, singer, and actor growing up, and I thought Juilliard sounded amazing. Years later, I remembered that conversation. When I moved to New York City and I walked by the school, I had this feeling of being starstruck. Juilliard — a place to nurture, train, mentor and shape young artists — seemed untouchable, magical, like so much was being created inside…
Fast forward almost 20 years, and here I am, sitting in the director’s video booth, directing my three videographers as we are live-streaming Juilliard’s New Dances performance.
The young dancers on stage are even more amazing than I could have ever imagined when I was talking to my grandmother in 7th grade.
My client/producer on this job, Elizabeth Svokos, was sitting behind me and captured this image. ☝️ (Read about Elizabeth’s efforts to expand livestream at Juilliard in 2021 here!)
I wish I could share the performance video with you (rights issues, sorry!!) but I did not stop moving while directing this video production. I flowed as I directed cameras, I felt each entrance and exit and execution of the movement in my own body. I teared up and got chills multiple times.
My videographers on this project — Ashli Bickford, Nate Reininga, and Caroline Haidet — are glorious, which makes my job easier.
I’m realizing now that there is also a sense of ease in this work, and a passion for it, because I get to inhabit my performer self.
I love live-streaming so much because it feels a lot like going on stage. The cameras are on, our work is broadcast live, we’re making decisions in the moment as people are watching. When we livestream a show, we feel that sense of: “It’s go time!”
I honestly cannot imagine performing on the stage anymore. It’s been so long! But I have found my new way of performing, and it is energizing!!
Thank you, Juilliard dancers, Alicia Graf Mack, Damian Woetzel, Elizabeth Svokos, the whole team at Juilliard, for trusting us to capture and share your beautiful work. It is such a pleasure, and I mean that.