Questions I've Been Asked
How did you first get interested in the flute?
When I was in the second grade, my dad (a high school music teacher in northern California) got a call from my elementary school band director. Mr. Alfree said he had a third grader who was very interested in starting the flute, but since our school didn't start band students until the 5th grade, he didn't want her to be by herself with all those big fifth graders. That's when he remembered that my dad had a little girl who was about the same height as this third grader (I was tall back then!), so he asked him if I might be interested in playing the flute. Well, my mom still had her flute from high school and it sounded like a good idea to me! And as they say... the rest was history...
When did you first get interested in dance?
Actually, I started dancing before I played flute. I started taking ballet lessons when I was five years old and continued for five years. When I was seven, I started taking flute lessons and when I was ten I had the opportunity to join a local youth orchestra. However, the youth orchestra met on Tuesday nights- the same night as ballet. So I had to make a choice between flute and ballet. Obviously, I chose the former.
However, I continued dancing even though I wasn't taking lessons. I learned swing dancing in middle school, and salsa and middle eastern dance in college. I still take lessons on occasion and have been a member of the Windfall Dancers collective in Bloomington, IN.
What are the "hybrid arts"?
The term "hybrid arts" refers to combining all three of the performing arts - music, theater and dance - to create a new medium. I am a musician who loves to act and dance, so why not do all three? To make it more challenging, why not do all three at the same time?
How did you get interested in the hybrid arts?
It all started when I learned Oliver Knussen's solo flute piece, "Masks." In this work, the flutist is required to follow specific stage directions including wander aimlessly, face to the right or left and even violent head jerks. When I first performed the piece, I felt a window open up inside of me. This was where I felt most at home.
After "Masks" came "L'Histoire du Soldat de Jouet" written by Brett Abigaña (my brother!). In this piece, the performer is given the challenge of dancing three different roles - the toy soldier, the mechanical ballerina and the evil Jack-in-the-box. This piece not only opened the window further, but blasted the wall from the building. This solidified my desire to be a hybrid artist.
What do audiences like about a hybrid arts performance?
There's something for everyone in a hybrid arts performance. Personally, I go to concerts to not only listen, but to see as well. Some of my most memorable musical experiences involved an incredible visual experience in addition to the aural aspect. There are people who go to concerts to listen and may sit with their eyes closed the entire time. There are also those who prefer plays or theatre to a musical concert, because of the speaking aspect. Then there are those who love to watch dance. In a hybrid arts performance, everyone is equally engaged and entertained.
What is the craziest thing you've ever done during a hybrid arts performance?
Playing flute while dancing "en pointe" (a form of ballet presented on the tips of the toes, made possible by specialized shoes) is definitely one of the crazier things I've attempted! I've also been picked up and turned upside down while playing (picture coming soon!) and sat on someone's back while they walked.
The more difficult things include running in circles, participating in a "battle," spinning on my back on the floor and rolling on the floor - all while playing!
It sounds pretty tough, but the more hybrid arts elements you attempt, the easier it gets!
That sounds like you could get hurt...
Well, I must admit that I've had my share of bumps, bruises and blood, but for the sake of my mother (who might read this), I won't go into to great of detail. Mothers hate when you talk about that time when you got hurt...
That looks like fun. Can you teach me how to do that?
Absolutely! Click the "Education" link at the top for more information!
(And it is fun!)