Creative Work, Dance, El Anatsui, Finding Place, Guest Dancers

Rehearsal 6: Hair Braiding & Caramel Pie

Finally we get to start on the first story section of Finding Place! The story sections are where we really get to point out the meaning behind some of our movement to the audience and share personal memories about family, community, and objects that trigger those memories.

For our first section, I decided on three stories: a brief “introductory” story (my own) to give some context to the Coca-Cola bottles seen in the trunk onstage, a slightly longer story from Kirsten about spending time in Jamaica visiting family, and (our longest story) Danni’s explanation of her trouble making a very special caramel pie one Thanksgiving. From Kirsten’s story:

This one day an older woman passed by asking for food, so I gave her some of the dried plantains I’d been eating. After she ate them, she took my hair and braided it into this beautiful, intricate pattern.

Right away Kirsten’s memory set up a relationship between two women, and it gave us ample inspiration for movement – all the patterns of braiding. While the swish of a leg behind the body or the arc of an arm overhead may occur in your typical hair-braiding session, once you imagine the dancers not only as the people but also as the hair itself, I believe you will see the images quite clearly. See the rehearsal image below: Jill and Kristina dance as the braiding hair while Kelley and Euijin are braiding in a more traditional context.

rehearsal image

Danni’s caramel pie story was similar in that parts of the text translated to movement quite easily – topping the pie with Cool Whip, caramel melting and splattering on the ceiling, a dog sticking his paw right into the pie… as you can tell, this is quite a story! There are many of these humorous antics but the story also has a very touching message as Danni remembers her grandmother who originally made the recipe for this special pie.


Hear more about Kirsten’s time in Jamaica and find out what happens to this disastrous pie at the Finding Place premiere!

(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)


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