LoBrace DanceWorks Presents “Encounters” at Joy of Motion Dance Center's Dance Project

By Michelle LoBrace

The story behind, “Encounters” began with three different inspirations: Music, breaking social norms, and real life experience.

The Television

The music for this work really spoke to me when I heard it on a television show. I automatically used my “Shazam” app on my phone to find the music. The composer was Claude Lamothe who is a great classical artist! I love to use classical music when choreographing because you have a lot of freedom to create movement and have your own story. I rarely use “lyrics” or “text” but when I do it is very significant to the concept of the dance. I next searched more music by Lamothe, when I decided I would combine two of his musical pieces to make a new work. I use music visualization most of the time when I choreograph, so when I heard the first song, I pictured a duet with either two males or two females because of how the strings were being plucked and changed their key. I decided to go with the males, something new for me.

Michelle LoBrace (top photo) and Halle Schulman will perform "Encounters" at Dance Project this weekend. (Photo Credit: Rick Foster)
Michelle LoBrace (top photo) and Halle Schulman will perform “Encounters” at Dance Project this weekend. (Photo Credit: Rick Foster)

Why Go Ordinary?

My original performers for this work were males. I wanted to break the social norm of seeing two people of the same-sex dancing together. There is a stereotype that they are most likely in a romantic relationship and I wanted to create something that showed a friendship. Considering they were close friends in real life, I took the process more personal and took the time to carefully decide which movements or which gestures were appropriate when you are friends. The smallest details of whether you should hold a hand or wrist; touch a shoulder or back, it was a very interesting process of how to get the audience to perceive my message. I did a lot of online research about same-sex duets and there were a lot out there that I have never seen before and it opened my eyes to how you can choreograph.

The Inside Scoop

The work is about two individuals who are there for each other, whether they are physically there for each other, talk over the phone or stay in touch over the years. This was my last choreographic work I created before graduating college and the feeling of not seeing my friends hit me pretty hard. Now that I graduated, I do stay in touch with many friends and for this performance, I will be performing with a best friend from college, Halle Schulman. Although we are not the original cast we have a strong connection as friends and as dancers and we will be breaking a social stereotype of two females dancing with each other. The movements of this dance are personable to the dancers but strong and emotional.

“Encounters” was a very fun and personal work to create. I had the opportunity to challenge myself in the process of working with two people of the same-sex, using my personal experience to show the audience how I’m feeling and enjoying the project as whole when it was finished!

LoBrace DanceWorks will present “Encounters” at Joy of Motion Dance Center’s annual Dance Project. Dance Project takes place Saturday, November 9th, 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, November 10th at 7:00 p.m. at The Jack Guidone Theater. Tickets start at $12.