Autumn in Leavenworth, WA

We came to Leavenworth, Washington to see this popular biking and climbing area and take a look at a local bridge. We had seen photos of a trestle bridge near Leavenworth and thought it might be riggable. As it turned out, the bridge was possible, but not ideal due to too many center beams.

Still, we knew that our friend and outdoor photographer Freya Fennwood was going to be in the area, so we decided to go find a place to camp for the night. (We did get to have lunch with her and her boyfriend Leif a few days later.) We were pleasantly surprised to find a spot back in the trees next to Nason Creek. After a look around, we decided that we could and would rig between two trees across the stream from each other.

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For the first time in a while, we had the opportunity to rig at our campsite! This meant that we could shoot a video as well as photos… which meant that I had one night to think about choreography and a few hours the day of to get in the fabric and iron it out. Luckily, I had been playing with the idea of choreographing a silks/hammock hybrid piece for a while.

With my previous play sessions in mind, I was able to flow from move to move and set it to a lovely violin tune we found by Dream City Orchestra. There was a bit of frustration involved, as I had not been able to get in my fabric very consistently lately. I originally planned several more moves for the video, many of which were more difficult for me to transition to smoothly. As I practiced with these moves, I realized that I was wholly unprepared in the short notice.

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Oh, how I would love to be able to practice daily in a studio! Very rarely am I frustrated at our nomadic lifestyle and how it changes my training. I love being able to do what we’re doing. I love taking my fabric into new and unique places, and I don’t mind that it’s inconsistent. Until I feel put on the spot to create something beautiful out of my inconsistent practice and fairly inexperienced eye for choreography and dance.

In those moments, I have to fight the voices in my head. The ones that say, “Who do you think you’re kidding? You’re not a dancer. You’re not a choreographer. You can’t do this. You’re a joke.” I have to dig deep, breathe, and remind myself of the truth. Devon didn’t baby me or feed into my frustration. He simply said, “You’re a professional. Figure it out.” I don’t know what I would do without his patience and input. He’s such a great adventure partner. Not only does he set up for me and take photos and video (with impressive talent, in my opinion), but he supports me in a way that encourages me to work harder to better myself.

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Fortunately, when we got out a metronome and counted out the song, it turned out that the extra moves I had planned made my choreography too long anyway. With relief, I shortened my dance and worked on the transitions while Devon set up for the shoot. With only a couple run-throughs, plus some detail shots, Devon was satisfied.

My choreography turned into a bit of an interpretation of the flow of seasons in nature. Earlier in the day, I was struck by fascination at an event I have seen frequently in life: the turning of the leaves. Looking at some of the leaves, it was as if the leaves had been clothed all summer and were suddenly naked and sun-burned. Adding to that illusion was the apparent dis-robing of the trees themselves. They had put on a cloak of green in the spring, and now they wore brilliant gold and red, which they were slowly casting away… Almost a strip-tease. As we put on more clothes going into winter, the trees shed theirs.

Though I know the science behind this change of seasons and the way the chlorophyll in the leaves is affected by the sun and the cold, I like the idea of leaves being sun-burned and cast away like clothing. It seems more romantic. Always the change of seasons represented the cycle of life, but this new thought makes me think of a love story. Perhaps between the tree and the stream. This is what was on my mind as I danced in the autumn-kissed forest. I hope you enjoy.

To see more of Devon’s work and his perspective on our adventures, head to his blog, Rambling Canvas.

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