Sunday, July 24, 2011

Coming Full Circle - The Dislocation Express: V-blog #9, Nils Jorgensen

I first met Nils Jorgensen in 2008, when Dandelion Dancetheater and AXIS Dance Company were sharing a program in the San Francisco International Arts Festival.

I just happened to sit next to him in the audience to watch the AXIS piece and somehow we got to talking. There was something there right away. I guess we could call it chemistry. And I fell in love with the sound of his voice. I told him that we should put him in a piece sometime, as his deep, rich voice could be perfect for the stage. He was mildly interested. I think lots of people had told him great things about his voice, so my idea might not have registered strongly on his radar.

A little while after that I decided to track him down. When I have a strong gut feeling about someone being right for Dandelion work, I tend to follow it. In these instances I rarely know how the person will fit into any particular project, but my intuition tells me that she/he is somehow in alignment with the values that guide my work. This almost always ends up taking me somewhere new and expanding the work.

Through friends in AXIS I found Nils' contact info and started pursuing him to join the cast of a piece I was starting, Tongues. I guess I became his "stalker." As usual I could only get this prospective performer to commit to coming to one rehearsal to check it out and see what he thought. Also as usual, once he was there he jumped right into the mix.

Nils became a crucial member of the cast, both as a performer and as a contributor of ideas, props, questions, and contexts. He performed with us in the Bay Area, in Southern California and in Washington D.C. when the piece went to the Kennedy Center.

Since then I have asked Nils to come in as an artistic consultant on a number of projects. Nils is a wheelchair rugby player, and now teaches and coaches rugby and fitness at the Embarcadero YMCA in SF. He has a mind that easily moves "outside the box" and he has taught me a lot about merging performance with design and aspects of athletics.

We brought him aboard The Dislocation Express in our final stages of creation, and as I had hoped, he's propelled the piece forward with new ideas, acting, gadgets, props, and that fabulous voice.


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