Dancer/Choreographer Lyndsey Arorash on Sharing New Stories

Dancing from a very early age, Lyndsey Arorash, originally from Bermuda, has been thriving as a professional dancer and choreographer here in the United States for years. 

Arorash was featured in the award-winning film Uprooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance, and just some of her notable performances include IMPERFECT at Lincoln Center, Choreographers Carnival, Dumbo Dance Festival, Harlem Arts Festival, and a performance at Street Spectrum, choreographed by Lauren Cox, where Arorash also performed a solo. 

Arorash has taught dance at the Joffrey Balley School and InMotion School of Dance. Her choreography has been featured at the Young Choreographers Festival and the Uptown Rising Performance Series. 

In our interview with Arorash, we focused mainly on her choreography work: what inspires the movement, how she works with dancers, and, most importantly, the kinds of stories she strives to tell through her choreography. 

You'll find our full interview with Arorash below. 

How long were you dancing before you started to get involved in choreography? 

Arorash: I remember having my choreography shown for the first time in 2014. This was for a works-in-progress showcase with my dance studio back in Bermuda, InMotion School of Dance. 

I started dancing at the age of 8, and for this showcase, I was 16. So it was 8 years of dancing while my passion for choreography grew.

lyndsey arorash choreographer

Dancer & Choreographer Lyndsey Arorash

Do you think all choreographers need to have extensive experience as dancers? 

Arorash: No, I don’t think all choreographers need to have extensive experience as dancers. I feel like great choreography comes from unique ideas and visions, as well as stories people have yet to put into dance form. 

Having a dance background could possibly help the choreographer be able to perform the movement ideas for the dancers, however, I feel like that still isn’t completely necessary for a successful choreographer. They could have an assistant or someone who understands their thoughts, ideas, and movement quality assist whenever needed.

What are your biggest priorities as a choreographer? 

Arorash: When choreographing, I often like to have my pieces be about something that I’ve personally been through. I try to make my dances relatable to the audience so that they can follow along with their own personal experience in mind. This allows the audience to become more vulnerable with the dancers and myself, while we go through the journey together. The idea of having the choreography be relatable also shows that you aren’t alone in what you go through in life.

Can you tell us about some of the stories you've been able to share through your choreography work? 

Arorash: My choreography was performed at Young Choreographers Festival, and I would say choreographing and watching it be performed was one of the most freeing experiences. This piece was based on an abusive relationship. It showed unconditional love from one person, and no acknowledgment and abusive tendencies from the other. All until there’s no more love to give due to the lack of reciprocation and lack of self-love. 

This is something that is relatable to audiences worldwide and it is something that I have come across personally as well. The name of this piece is Conflicted.

Another example of work that I have created was called Secure*. Stemming off the idea from my previous work about lack of self-love. It is about how we are all vulnerable and easily put down by others due to the negative way we can view ourselves. It also showcases how we often want to be like or look like the people around us. It’s called Secure* with the little star to illustrate how we use that word, putting up a front instead of acknowledging how we’re actually feeling and doing.

How long does it take you to develop a new piece? Are you typically on a deadline or is your process more freeform? 

Arorash: I usually find myself creating new pieces with deadlines. Somehow this also helps me be creative. I tend to randomly think of new movements in my head. I see a vision in my mind of me dancing, and I write it down to choreograph for other people later on. 

Other than that, I am someone who often choreographs in the moment, during rehearsals, mainly because I am able to see the choreography on the dancers' bodies and see how I can make seamless transitions. 

When developing a new piece, I feel like the time it takes to create it can vary. I once choreographed an 8-minute piece in four rehearsals, and for another, it took almost a year to perfect. It truly depends on when I find out about a show performance opportunity and how much time there is until then. It can also depend on how many choreographic ideas I have and the dancers' availability.

What are your feelings on the widespread return to live performances? Is there something special about performing in front of a live crowd? 

Arorash: It’s always special being able to perform in front of a live crowd. Being able to look at someone and bring them into the world you are creating and performing on stage is an exciting experience, even as an audience member. I feel like as long as the opening and return to live performance stays as safe as possible, then I'm happy and always look forward to performing in front of a live audience.

What has been the biggest source of challenge in your choreography work? 

Arorash: One of the many challenges I come across with choreography is being patient with the process. I have a tendency to be a perfectionist at times and this can cause me to want to have my choreography be flawless from the beginning. 

It can be difficult as a choreographer at times because you truly only want the best for your performers and the piece, and one of the main ways to make that happen is to be patient and trust the performers. I chose the dancers for a reason, so I need to not only trust them but also trust myself.

Are there any upcoming performances or projects that you'd like to mention? 

Arorash: I have been blessed with the opportunity to perform with the company The ChoreoJoey project. There is going to be a showcase the last weekend in June. The company was awarded a residency with Culture Lab LIC at the Plaxall Gallery in Queens, NY. 

I also have the opportunity to teach dance classes and choreograph at The Performing Arts Dance Studio and Acting School in Boston this summer and during the winter season. 

There is also a show called English With An Accent being showcased on April 1st, 2022 at The Gala Hispanic Theater in Washington, DC.

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