Guest Post: A Dancer’s Perspective

Read about dancer Carey Newmark’s experience creating the promotional video for Stretch Dance Company’s newest production,  I Have Lived a Thousand Years.  Haven’t seen the promo yet?  Click here to check it out!

Carey Newmark as Elli Friedmann
Carey Newmark as Elli Friedmann

My experience making this video was one of both happiness and sadness.

Happiness because I was honored, excited, and hopeful with the project. I am honored to be a part of a project that has such large potential of a long-term successful show; especially portraying the central figure, Elli Friedmann. I am always excited to work with Lyndell Higgins on projects because she is so organized, detail-oriented, and talented in her direction. I am always happy with projects as long as I am dancing; it is my happy place. Lyndell provides me with opportunities for my passion in dance. I am also beyond hopeful that the message of this show brings more awareness to the community and hopefully the world. The Holocaust is a very important time to never forget.  Our world today is a reminder of how far humanity has grown in acceptance of different religions and faith, but we still have a far way to go and this production will only keep that message alive!

The video also was a piece of sadness for me. I feel very attached to the message because I come from a Jewish bloodline and family background. My honor to my family who passed in the concentration camps allowed me to dive deeper into my feelings and emotion to bring the piece/video alive. Everything felt real for me.

On set with Lyndell, Chris Higgins, and Carey.
On set with Lyndell, Chris Higgins, and Carey.

Therefore, the acting process was easy to connect to. I have never worked on a dancing role with this large amount of acting before. It was a lot of work to add a more exaggerated emotion while dancing. Moments where I felt I was expressing the correct emotion, Lyndell had wanted something different. So it was those moments I really had to work on mentally imagining how to change and focus my attention differently to portray Elli Friedmann more accurately.

The choreography was easy to dive into emotionally because Lyndell’s musicality is spot on. The happy soft moments were graceful and carefree in my body and the angry, sad moments were filled with sharp and explosive choreography. Lyndell definitely sees her work specifically and makes sure the choreography is done just that way…. Even if you are a right dominant dancer and she has left choreography… you make it happen! I was willing to have as many takes needed to get the choreography perfect on film. Talk about multiple blisters on the feet!
Again, I was more than honored to be asked to portray Elli and worked hard to bring her alive within me and make her proud. I’m very excited to see the potential of this show to come!