Kristen Bernier (right) with Okwui Okpokwasili
As an intern working for MAPP International Productions, during my FSU semester NYC, I was introduced to Ralph Lemon’s Geography Trilogy and works he developed at FSU including How Can You Stay In The House All Day And Not Go Anywhere. Because of my interest in choreography, I was immediately drawn to Ralph Lemon’s dedication, integrity, and authenticity as an artist, particularly through his work How Can you Stay. I was captivated by how Lemon created a form without boundaries, out of necessity, to reveal how grief manifests in the body and spirit.
Upon returning to Tallahassee to complete my final semester in the School of Dance, I took a position as MANCC’s Research and Administrative Intern, which gave way to the opportunity for me to assist Lemon and his collaborators on his new work Scaffold Room. During the residency, I worked closely with performer and former MANCC Choreographic Fellow Okwui Okpokwasili running lines from the script and helped provide continuity for movement sequencing. I also maintained the script for the cast, and helped prepare for the public showing.
Through working with Lemon during his residency, I witnessed the enduring value of sustained artistic collaborations and relationships to his life and work. I was watching seasoned professionals inspired by one another and the creative process. I seek to understand the person that I am through my art-making, and after working with Ralph Lemon and his collaborators, I am left with the impression that this is both possible and leads to a very rich life.
Written by Kristen Bernier, Florida State University School of Dance Graduate 2014