Kerry Shea: She's never danced like this before
Kerry Shea was sitting in a deli during Brooklyn Ballet’s auditions. A friend who was auditioning gave her a call and told her to hurry down to the borough to tryout for the Company – “You’d love it!” the friend declared.
And love it she does. Grateful she ditched her sandwich and booked it to Brooklyn, Kerry doesn’t think she’d have the opportunity to do the kind of dancing she experiences with Lynn in any other company.
Lynn’s latest duet features Kerry and pop and lock artist Mike Fields. It’s a challenging but exhilarating blend of ballet and street dance – and excavation of connections between the two distinct genres of movement.
Kerry comes from a strict technical background so it’s no wonder she’s enthusiastic about the freedom she finds in rehearsals with Lynn. She grew up in Rochester, NY, studying with the Rochester City Ballet while in high school. Upon graduation, she attended the University of Utah on scholarship and developed a professional relationship with the director of Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet. After spending some time dancing in Aspen after college, Kerry relocated to work with the Sacramento Ballet, and finally, journeyed to New York City to find more to add to her already impressive resume.
She never imagined she’d be improvising and working alongside pop and lock artists. This current project has provided more chances for choice and inventiveness than previous works in her personal repertory.
“A lot of times in ballet, everything is very exact,” Kerry says. “The counts have to be right on and the arms and positions have to be just so. You have to train your body and mind to work like that. It’s really fun to explore what can happen when things aren’t exact. It gives me so much more freedom. I’m really enjoying the process because of that.”
But with freedom comes responsibility –
“For me, at first, this was kind of scary,” she says. “I would think: ‘Is this dumb? What am I doing?’ and I was self-conscious. Then I realized that even accidents can turn into something usable. There’s nothing that is wrong. Lynn has a general idea but within that who knows what will occur with the arms, the musicality, etc.”
Despite her initial timidity in the rehearsal studio, Kerry has demonstrated ample courage performing the work-in-progress in a variety of stages of completion at several public events. Kerry and Mike performed for a small group of performers and improvisers at a Mixed Movement at The Schermerhorn and for a multitude of community leaders, including Mayor Bloomberg, at the Brooklyn State of the Borough address at Park Slope Armory.
“What’s cool about this piece is that it appeals to so many different audiences,” she says. “It doesn’t belong in just one spot.”