INTERVIEW: Bigwig Broadway Producer, Jordan Roth and Acclaimed Choreographer, Michelle Dorrance

January 17, 2019 5:00 PM

A soul talk between the bigwig Broadway producer, Jordan Roth and the acclaimed choreographer Michelle Dorrance about the nature of kindness and how dance fixes the soul.

 

-------------JORDAN ROTH & MICHELLE DORRANCE-------------

Michelle: I'd imagine everyone thinks they're right, I would assume so. I guess we hope that --

Jordan: I do think everybody thinks they're right.

Michelle: I think that there's fear-driven right and there's hope-driven right. And I think the fear-driven right folks should open their minds a little more and wonder why they're so scared. Because usually you're scared of the other or someone is scared of an immigrant taking their job and often people are scared of things that are intangible.

Jordan: Aren't we all scared?

Michelle: Yeah. We're all scared to an extent. What I'm most scared of is masses of people being killed, compromised, jailed -- like those fears and the fact that we could see some totalitarian or really nasty possibilities ahead of us. It's also smart to acknowledge, I don't think we need to act out of fear, we should act out of what we can do to make this better. Yeah, I think we're all scared to some extent.

Jordan: I think a lot about doubt because I have a lot of doubt.

Michelle: How so?

Jordan: Just in that I -- the level to which somebody believes they are right is the inverse of the amount of doubt that they allow to creep into their heads.

Michelle: Could it be open-mindedness? Like can someone believe they're right, but still --

Jordan: Yes, that's probably a better spin than doubt. Yeah. But allowing for the possibility that you may not be right.

Michelle: Right.

Jordan: I guess that sort of doubt is the opposite of zeal, perhaps.

Michelle: Yeah.

Jordan: And, this is what I believe, this is what I know, but maybe there's more, maybe there's something I'm not seeing -- When that doesn't exist, that's when I get really scared.

Jordan: That's what scares me the most.

Michelle: The inability to reflect I think is, that's the end. I can 100 percent know how my heart feels so there's a true confidence in my passions and my feelings. I don't ever doubt what I'm feeling. But how I came to feel it is rooted in subconscious judgments, is rooted in my experience as a human being. And if we don't reflect on that like, I know why that angered me and it's because this used to happen to me when I was little -- You know what I mean? -- If we don't have a moment to go take a deep breath and know that you're being more sensitive than you usually would be -- this particular poke hits a little deeper because there's a bruise in there from an old poke or whatever it is -- If we don't take a look at that --

Jordan: Is that what you're doing in your work?

Michelle: Oh man. I don't know. There might be some elements of that inside larger pieces of work. That's interesting. Well, just exploring, reflecting. And one work in particular that I made most recently, I absolutely had to exorcise someone who was very manipulative – someone who was in my life very intimately, very quickly, and the havoc that was wreaked because of it, and because I made certain decisions in relation to it or was manipulated into. But I have to take responsibility and say you are a sucker so that's why you got --

Jordan: “You,” me?

Michelle: Me. Me looking at myself. You, Michelle Dorrance, are a sucker. You are so bent on care-taking that you couldn't see that that was the way you were pulled into this by someone who saw that in you -- they played the victim because they knew you would go for it. That's embarrassing. And also, the idea that practiced behavior becomes method, it becomes who you are. You can choose the wrong thing enough times for it to be your go-to even though you know it's wrong, and I observe that in this person.

Jordan: Okay, well, that has to take us to dance. Practiced behavior becomes who you are.

Michelle: Absolutely. Well, that's the other part of it. That's also how we become as proficient as possible. Masterful technicians. It's the only way.

Jordan: Repetition.

Michelle: Exactly. The piece is called Myelination, it's about the fatty tissue that builds around synapse fires in your brain -- all the nerve fibers. That's how we remember things. That's how we do anything we do -- that's how we walk. Everyone used to think that gray matter was the most important thing when really we're still learning, discovering elements of what's really happening in our brains. But this, it's insulating myelin, myelin is this fatty tissue and it's the white matter in the brain. It's insulating these pathways so that the more you do it, the more that builds around it and the faster it fires. So things that we don't have to think about — walking, talking, you know — we've practiced and it exists. But things we're learning how to do for the first time or innovating within something we've done before -- when I'm used to doing a shuffle heel and I want to do some weird toe stand before I do the heel, all these other things have to happen in order for, first of all, the heel not to engage first and then also for me to get off the ground and do this other thing before I land again. So just that idea, that's going to take some practice for it to build. That relationship has everything to do with building skill, building technical mastery, building the ability to make music, building the ability to communicate. All of those things intersect with the same practice that treats people with kindness or hatred.

Jordan: This is going to make me cry and I feel like this is a breakthrough.

Michelle: You know what I mean though?

Jordan: That's the book.

Michelle: That's the book, oh my gosh. You know what I'm saying.

Jordan: I do. I mean, whole world of business thinking, self-help thinking is around habit and how you build habit. So I think you're pointing us to a whole legacy of creation and work and creativity that is doing exactly that and telling us, pointing us in that direction, with that kind of repetition. Put this in your body so it lives in your body.

Michelle: And it must. It has to be embodied. Kindness is embodied, it's practice.

Jordan: Kindness is embodied, it's practice.

Michelle: But it is also from this other -- and I believe this and whether you want to call it spiritual or hippie or whatever -- I am a person who believes in the way our spirit engages and interacts in our physical being. And whether people want to quantify that as energy or something scientific, there are a lot of other ways we can think of it, that we are invested on this other plane in our physical body and that practice, that's what takes it to a level that changes hearts and changes spirit and can change. There can be someone who's practiced in another way that can change, that can be moved by something. When it reaches to the core of something and can change it from the inside. It's not that we can't pray for revolution for people who have been practicing hate, I think we can. But it means really getting to the heart of something.

Jordan: But I also think that it takes us to -- we've been talking in extremes.

Michelle: Yes, of course.

Jordan: And probably more useful or just as useful is all of those little things that are inside all of us that don't serve us individually and that don't serve us communally. Maybe if I could find my way out of that through the repetition of my body in the way that you would prepare your body to dance or prepare your dancers to move --

Michelle: Or perform.

Jordan: For you.

Michelle: To execute something that takes the kind of strength that you can only build through repetition, it's the same thing you're talking about. All those little decisions that you have to make on a given day, even if it's your own thinking. Like, I won't engage this negative thought because I know what it will do to me. I'll continue to do this and then I'll have this big part of me that does that. It's every little choice. Then you're building a muscle that's more resilient to indulging that pathway.

Jordan: Dance as a metaphor for fixing the soul.

Michelle: Because it does.

Jordan: Not metaphor. Instruction manual.

Michelle: It is. It's nuts.

 

related posts

MUN No.1 Aknari

Makeup artist and beauty expert Munemi Imai's organic nighttime youth serum, No.1 Aknari nourishes and repairs your...

November 28, 2012 2:30 PM  |  People
OSCAR DE LA RENTA

OSCAR DE LA RENTA: AN AMERICAN ICON

For decades now, Oscar de la Renta has been synonymous with pure American luxury, dressing the upper-east side’s ladies who lunch, Hollywood’s red carpet, and first ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy-...

November 01, 2012 3:02 PM  |  People
Photography Chek Wu.  Top, BOTTEGA VENETA. Ring,bracelet HOORSENBUHS.

Hunger Games Starlet, Isabelle Fuhrman

今月28(金)日本公開映画「ザ・ハンガー・ゲーム」で決死の殺し合いゲームに挑むクローブ役の15歳の少女、イザベル・ファーマンが本誌に演技や、恋愛について語ってくれた。

September 23, 2012 4:42 PM  |  People

What's Zombie Boy Like on the Inside?

Nicola Formichetti’s muse is a walking Mugler moodboard.  To Mugler, rare is remarkable.  And Genest is nothing if not a celebration of the rare.

September 21, 2012 1:35 PM  |  People
Wiz Khalifa

Blog Party: WILL PRINCE

Julia Lang is the 25 year old blogger behind www.geeksndfashion.com.

August 30, 2012 1:53 PM  |  People
From his latest collection titled, Atom

Noritaka Tatehana

Shoe designer Noritaka Tatehana harnesses his secret forces of shoe construction to snag the attention of international fashionistas like Lady Gaga and Daphne Guiness.

August 26, 2012 10:50 PM  |  People

Blog Party: Dreamland

We are all different with one distinguishing similarity; we all have that special place in the back of our minds, the “box” as we’d like to name it, in which we store our biggest dreams, greatest...

August 14, 2012 12:26 PM  |  People
Beau Dunn

LA BEAU DUNN

Hollywood it-girl, Beau Dunn, multi-talented model, actress, artist and philanthropist, was born and raised in Beverly Hills, the daughter of a...

August 07, 2012 1:20 PM  |  People

Blog Party: Ciao Summer

Joanne Hegarty is a London based blogger and journalist who writes daily posts on how to live stylishly through fashion, interiors and food.

July 13, 2012 1:39 PM  |  People
JFK in classic chinos and Wayfarers

Blog Party: Why I Love The Classics

It’s recently dawned on me how most things in life are cyclical - everything eventually comes back around for a second play; rock n’ roll bands had their day in the 60’s and again in the 90’s;...

June 30, 2012 12:15 PM  |  People

A Strong Man: Scott Lipps

As CEO and founder of one of the world’s most prestigious modeling agencies, the orchestrator behind a premier fashion blog, the star of an E reality TV show, and the drummer...

June 07, 2012 3:20 PM  |  People

Pro-Surfer Andres Carreras Makes a Splash with new Sponsor, Cloud Kicker

J. Andres Carreras was born in 1991 and is a pro surfer from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Though only 21 years of age, Carreras has been surfing for 9 years.

June 06, 2012 12:43 PM  |  People

Blog party: There is no such thing as your instinct

Julia Lang is the 25 year old blogger behind www.geeksndfashion.com.

May 28, 2012 11:55 PM  |  People

Blog party: Nautical but Nice

My name is Joanne Hegarty and I write the blog, Ballet Pumps And Roses, which has daily posts on living stylishly through...

May 08, 2012 3:55 PM  |  People
The Otic Ear Cuff by Robert Anthony www.robertanthonydesign.com

blog party: Hidden Treasures

Nayla , Noor and Rawdah Al Naimi are the three sisters behind the blogs Cocoa Butter, Celebrities Style and Unbreakable Diamond.

May 08, 2012 3:37 PM  |  People

Mischa Barton – The Full Interview with TWELV mag Issue: 001

Mischa Barton – The Full Interview.

Issue: 001

 

 

May 01, 2012 11:59 AM  |  People
Me wearing the CAMDEN Biker Jacket by THREE FLOOR

blog party: One, Two, THREE FLOOR!

Julia Lang is the 25 year old blogger behind www.geeksndfashion.com.

May 01, 2012 11:07 AM  |  People
Photo by Maria Karas

Good Ol’ Georgia Boy

Sean O’Pry, Fashion’s hottest male model get’s a dirty makeover and muses about the simple life. 

May 01, 2012 11:05 AM  |  People

DJ-ing his Way From England to L.A.: Zen Freeman Opens up to TWELV About his Latest Endeavors

“A celebrity in his own right, [Zen Freeman] DJs and promotes for the hottest events and venues worldwide.

May 01, 2012 10:08 AM  |  People

A Shining Example: Lauren Bush On the Noble Mission of Curing Hunger Through Fashion.

When it comes to using fashion as a force for profound humanitarian good, Lauren Bush has cornered the market.

May 01, 2012 8:31 AM  |  People
Eric Waroll wearing Rad by Rad Hourani © Jean du Sartel www.timeoftheassassins.com

blog party: Paris Gone Wild

Eric Waroll is the fashion editor and blogger of EricWaroll.com.  At just 21, he is quickly becoming a significant part of the young Paris fashion scene.

May 01, 2012 8:18 AM  |  People

Pages

SITE BY: monocomplex©Marbles & Marbles International Inc. Drupal Development by: DivDiv, NYC
▲ back to top ▲