She has hired the dancers. The costumes are ready. A performance venue has been secured. This week, Pamela Vail will let her choreography do the rest.
Vail, artist in residence and instructor in dance at Franklin & Marshall, will present three pieces of original choreography at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival Sept. 11 and 12. Her work is part of a show titled Something Striking, a shared concert with another Pennsylvania-based artist, Sarah Carlson of Muhlenberg College.
“I’m excited, really excited,” says Vail, who has shown her choreography professionally in the past but will be producing choreography for the first time in her own (half) concert. “But I have some anxiety, too. Even when I show my own work at F&M, I’m sitting there in the audience holding the arms on my chair.”
Something Striking began to take shape in March, when Vail and Carlson struck up a conversation at the American College Dance Festival. “We started talking and realized we had been in the same circles in New York City,” says Vail, who spent eight years dancing in the Big Apple. “We just connected. A few weeks later, (Carlson) e-mailed me and asked to share a show at the Philly Fringe. I jumped at the chance.”
Vail applied to the College’s Committee on Grants to help with the costs of producing her work. The grant enabled her to hire two graduates of F&M, Lyndsey Vader ’06 and Cristin Van Horn ’06, who will perform a duet.
In addition to a new solo, Vail will present a selection titled Pulse/Apology, which features text written by Brian Silberman, associate professor of theater at the College.
“Choreography brings out a different aspect of myself, almost another language,” says Vail, a co-founding member of The Architects, an ensemble with whom she teaches and performs across the country. “You can say things through choreography you can’t in words. It’s another kind of intelligence, from your gut.
“I’d worry if choreography became easy and I loved everything I ever made. It always presents me with new challenges, and always makes me grow. When you push yourself, you become a more complete person.”
As Vail has discovered, you might even produce something striking.
Something Striking appears at The Performance Garage, 1515 Brandywine Street, Philadelphia, Friday Sept. 11 at 8 p.m., and Saturday Sept. 12 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Admission is $15.
For advance tickets, call The Fringe Box office at 215-413-1318 or buy online.