CAST MEMBER: Nichelle Strzepek

Nichelle Strzepek by Lorie Garcia, Studio 4d4

Lift arm, pull hip, touch shoulder, push ankle. Actions and body parts. Words of common understanding suddenly require new analysis, especially when the task is to apply them to another person. Lift her arm. Touch his shoulder. But how? With what? Faced with the choices, they can seem either impossibly vast or stiflingly limiting.

Dancers become well-practiced at these kinds of ‘assignments’. So the analysis is short, committing doesn’t feel as final. The choices are still vast or limiting but, oh well. We know it will all work out. If not, it’ll be changed, cut, rearranged. No “right” path, just decision. No moment but this one. Dancer Zen.

For this particular exercise, the choices we make with our partner aren’t even lasting (though they are filed away for possible use). Lydia asks us to take what once was a partnership and without changing it (much), let it be a solo. But not for long…

Cut and paste. A new partner. Two solos become a duet. More choices. A new energy. Different points of contact. A fresh addition to the file.

The choreography file fattens. Each week, variations and options multiply before our eyes. Words on the page add to the realm of possibilities.

I’ve been on the choreographer side. Zen can be much harder to achieve when sitting in the director’s chair, whether for the stage or for film. I’m feeling glad not to be responsible for the final slice, dice, mix, and stir, though all that possibility is as much a rush as it is daunting.

I get to just enjoy the process. Be surprised. Be fascinated. Be present.

But I look forward to the finish, to seeing the choices Lydia makes. What she creates from all the puzzle pieces.

I look forward to looking back. To how these pieces were carved and created. To remember the spark, the inspiration, the task, and to marvel how each and every time, magically, things travel from Point A to Point B. To the memory even of a moment in time before my child (still within) becomes an individual, a reality, a relationship I can’t live without.

Nichelle Strzepek by Lorie Garcia, Studio 4d4


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Lydia Hance is a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant Award. This grant is funded by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.  Frame Dance Productions’ Framing Bodies is  funded in part by the Puffin Foundation.  Frame Dance Productions is a recipient of a Rice University Dance Program Space Grant.


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