Collaboration is at the core of what it means to be a theatre artist. This is not a business of egos despite what it may seem. The greatest work being performed is that born out of a collective group of ideas from numerous people over many weeks, sometimes months, even years. The greatest producers and directors are those that have an idea, something wholly original that they are willing to share, not only so that they may see it brought to life; but often times so it can evolve into something even more extraordinary than they imagined as other creative minds invest and contribute.

I recently had the opportunity to get involved in a project that epitomized this collaborative concept. Having only been back in Kentucky a short while, I have been blessed to reconnect with a network of friends, many of whom were present at the beginning of my professional career. Over the past ten years, we have been off doing our own thing, growing into artists and educators of all kinds and returning home for various reasons to continue our work.

One such friend and fellow artist, Jenny Fitzpatrick, is at the helm of a great number of new and exciting projects in central Kentucky including the inaugural performance of her company, the Blackbird Dance Theatre. This evening of original dance is the result of a collection of Sunday afternoon rehearsals over the course of a couple of months, 9 dancers and original music from numerous regional bands and musicians.

As an actress, dancer, and choreographer; Jenny has always demonstrated an affinity for fighting onstage. As a physical storyteller, she felt that one piece would be best represented with a bit of particularly violent dance fighting. It was at this point that she invited me into the studio to help to choreograph this moment. I of course happily accepted and am proud to be able to claim even the slightest involvement in such a magical evening of theatre. Be sure to keep an eye and ear out for the Blackbird Dance Theatre as it will continue to redefine what constitutes great theatre in the region.

Blackbird Dance Theatre’s The Great Gray performed March 2nd, 2013 to a sold out house at the Downtown Arts Center in Lexington, Kentucky for one night only. Stay tuned for more information on future projects.