session #3 with Tré Smith
I met Tré almost a year ago at Bates Dance Festival. He was there performing with the amazing Camile A. Brown & Dancers and I was teaching jazz dance at the Young Dancers Festival. Before we met we each got the opportunity to see the other perform. The first and last time we spoke was the day before he was scheduled to leave the festival. I remember our conversation being quick but super easy. We had mutual friends, like for real, not just "oh yea I danced with him/her" but actual mutual friends. And even though we hadn't met before, it felt familiar. After the festival we kept in contact loosely through social media, sharing "likes" and the occasional comment to show support. But when I found out he would be in Houston teaching at the Houston Academy of Dance Summer Intensive the same week I would be there, I began plotting on how I would convince him to do a session. The problem was I wasn't sure if he had remembered what I thought was this great conversation standing on the sidewalk in Maine, or if he'd think I was slightly cra for asking someone I'd never really gotten to know, to meet in a studio and play.
Fortunately, he one: remembered and two: is just as cra as I am. So when I proposed a session via text his response was "I'm down." We planned for Friday June 19th, and met back up at the Houston Academy of Dance after he'd been there all day teaching and rehearsing. I wasn't sure he'd still want to go through with the session after being in the studio all day. Turns out, he needed the session just as much as I did. What you see in the video is the first time we ever danced together. Those of us who understand how particular contact improvisation can be, understand that finding an immediate connection with someone is rare. I chose, Roméo et Juliette Op. 17: Premier transports (Strophes) by Jessye Norman to begin. We started improvising, and although I suspected there would be a moment of awkwardness, there was none. Some amazing moments happened during that first round but we'll never see it. I had forgotten to press play on my camera. We tried again, you know, to make sure the first wasn't a fluke. This time we found even more colors AND I remembered to hit record, but I accidentally deleted the video. I didn't tell him this, but I was beginning to feel like the universe didn't want these moments to be shared which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Now that we were becoming more acquainted with each others breath and choices we decided we'd continue improvising without structure. I put my playlist on shuffle, pressed record on my camera and over 45 minutes later we were completely lost in the best way possible. Above, you'll see some of my favorite moments-though it was difficult to choose. This is a conversation between two artists with different training backgrounds, who took different journeys, yet arrived at the same place at the right time. This "could" have been a train wreck. You never know if you're going to get along with another dancer. Even though we both agreed going into this that we would "see what happens" I would have never predicted such a seamless connection but I am so glad this happened and I look forward to dancing with Tré again and again and again. Who got next?
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Tré Smith is a graduate of The University of the Arts and was a member of Eleone Dance Theatre and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. He is currently a member of Camille A. Brown & Dancers.