Though we may be physically separated, we are still together at heart.
Nothing connects us more in this world than sharing our art.
Enjoy our dancers present this film “repeat” to show that #ArtIsNotCancelled.
My musical training:
I started learning how to play the piano at the age of 6 and have been playing ever since. I started writing my own music in 5th grade and entered my compositions into the Hunterdon County Young Composer contest every spring from 5th-9th grade. In 2013, I was selected to perform my original piece “Where the Rain Falls” at the Raritan River Music Festival, and in 2014 I was chosen as the winner of the high school age category with my composition “Nature’s Fantasy.” I am really grateful for my incredible teachers, Rebecca Burrell (of Main Street Musicking) and Tom DiGiovanni for their support over the years and for always encouraging me to continue writing!
What inspired the composition:
I wrote “repeat” my senior year of high school, after my Pop-Pop had passed away. He was an incredible person who meant a lot to me. We actually shared a love of dance; he taught me how to do the jitterbug and would always remind me to “keep on my toes.” It was my first time experiencing such a loss, so naturally, I turned to music to reflect and reminisce. So many little things would remind me of him that I felt like memories were just playing on repeat in my mind. That’s where the title came from. It is a very melancholy, bittersweet song for me, but writing it really helped me work through what I was feeling at the time. It has continued to bring me a sense of peace over the years and because of this, I thought it would be the right choice for this video project.
The recording and filming process:
To create the film, I first recorded my composition on my laptop using two directional mics and an audio interface. It was my first time recording one of my piano pieces, so I’m super thankful for all the help from my brother, Bryan. I sent the finished recording out to the production team, which included Andrea Marini, Ryoko Tanaka, Elisabeth White, and Journy Wilkes-Davis, fellow dancers with ARB. We decided that the held chords that occur several times throughout the piece would be group sections, and we wanted one piece of choreography that would be repeated each time these held chords are played. We each proposed our own choreography ideas to each other over a video conference call, and we were all especially drawn to Lizzie’s work. After seeing all of our choreography, she tweaked hers slightly to include some aspects of each of our ideas into the final group section you see in the film. Lizzie put together a step-by-step tutorial video for the choreography, which was sent out to all the dancers to learn via a shared Google Drive. To achieve the smooth flow between each dancer’s solo, every dancer was given a set part of the music to choreograph/improvise to, and whatever pose/step they finished their part with, the next person had to begin their choreography with. Some people also had to film directly into or from the group dance to achieve the flow between the group and solo sections. To film it all chronologically like this took quite a bit of organizing and communication, especially since we could only communicate through video calls, emails, and shared Google drives. The production team was responsible for the efficient process, and I couldn’t thank them enough for all that they did to help!
The editing process:
While dancing with ARB, I have been going to college part time majoring in Interactive Multimedia. This major encompasses a wide range of topics, including graphic design, photo and video editing, sound technology, and creative coding. A lot of what I have been learning in school was applicable to this project.
To complete the film as quickly as possible, I edited as the videos came in. It was really amazing to see the project come together before my eyes. Every time I added a new clip, my excitement built. It was definitely a challenge to edit though. I had to do a lot of tweaking, sometimes by only a frame or two, to get the videos as synced up as they are. It took a lot of hours, but I think all the time put in was definitely worth it.
Inspiration for the last words:
“Though we may be physically separated, we are still together at heart. Nothing connects us more in this world than sharing our art.” I was inspired by both Lizzie’s group choreography and all of my fellow dancer’s beautiful work for the film to write these final words for the piece. For us as dancers, the last few months have been incredibly difficult to work through. I am just so glad that this project could bring us together to dance as a group one last time before the season ends. Personally, it has meant so much to me. To dance alongside my friends, who are such beautiful artists, to my own music was absolutely amazing, and I’m very grateful for everyone’s support throughout the process.
What I’ve been doing in quarantine:
In addition to playing the piano, I also love to sing and play the ukulele. While in quarantine, I have been using my time to write more music. In fact, I’ve written at least ten new songs over the past two months. Some of these are instrumental compositions like “repeat” while others include lyrics. My goal is to record at least one EP by the end of the summer, hopefully to be released on Soundcloud and/or Spotify.
My dance bio:
Haley was born and raised in Flemington, NJ. She began taking ballet classes at the age of four under the direction of Elaine Sutula. She continued her dance training at Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and later joined Princeton Ballet School in her sophomore year of high school. She has attended summer intensives with Mark Morris Dance Group, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and PBS. Haley was a trainee with ARB for one year, and this is now her second season as a member of ARB2. She has recently appeared as Swanhilda in PBS’ Coppelia, as a Dryad in Kirk Peterson’s Beauty and the Beast, as lead Chinese and Sugar Doll in ARB’s Nutcracker, and as a Willi in ARB’s Giselle.