Oct 5th, 2020
In this episode, our host's husband interviews her! Lindsey shares about her experience as Artistic Director of a professional dance company, and all the highs, lows, joys, and laughter that has produced, plus all the things she's learned along the way about leadership, communication, and the importance of the arts. (Fun fact: the cover image for this episode is of Lindsey dancing!)
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Episode 21 - Lindsey Dinneen
Lindsey Dinneen: Hello, and welcome to Artfully Told, where we share true stories about meaningful encounters with art.
[00:00:06] Krista: I think artists help people have different perspectives on every aspect of life.
[00:00:12] Roman: All I can do is put my part into the world.
[00:00:15] Elizabeth: It doesn't have to be perfect the first time. It doesn't have to be perfect ever really. I mean as long as you, and you're enjoying doing it, and you're trying your best, that can be good enough.
[00:00:23]Elna: Art is something that you can experience with your senses and that you just experience as so beautiful.
[00:00:31]Lindsey Dinneen: Hello, and welcome back to Artfully Told. I'm Lindsey, and the tails are turning a little bit in this episode. Actually, my husband is kind enough to join me on this role reversal, I suppose. What do you want to call it? Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So he is actually going to be interviewing me. And, I guess I'll share some stories, but I will let Kevin take it away.
[00:00:59] Kevin Dinneen: Yes, thanks for joining me on my podcast show today. I appreciate you getting back to me so quickly on my invite.
[00:01:07] Lindsey Dinneen: Oh, yes, yes.
[00:01:08]Kevin Dinneen: I do have to say it was kind of funny. She started the show with her countdown being-- and we're starting the show in five, six, seven, eight.
[00:01:19] Lindsey Dinneen: Like a true dancer.
[00:01:21]Kevin Dinneen: So I guess, I'm kind of wanting to know what it was like for you to transition from dancing under others' directions and others' choreography to starting your own professional dance company, and both choreographing and directing that, and also running it and booking gigs, booking performances, and booking appearances and things like that. And, I'm pretty sure like 99 times out of a hundred, everything went smoothly. So maybe you don't have very many stories, but maybe if you think real hard, you can think of a couple of...
[00:02:04] Lindsey Dinneen: I can maybe do that. Yeah. Well, it's live theater. So everything goes exactly as planned, you know? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, oh my goodness. I, so thinking back to when I first had the opportunity to produce a show, it was the Kansas City Fringe Festival, and I met the director and she had asked me what my future plans were. She knew I was a dancer with another company at the time and I said, well, you know, eventually I think I want to own my own dance company, professional dance company, and take that on, directing and choreographing.
[00:02:42] And, and she said, "Well, why aren't you doing that now?" And I thought, "Well, because I'm too young, and I don't have any experience and no, that's not going to be a thing." And, and she gave me this incredible opportunity. She said, "You know, we have this open slot, and for a dance company in particular, and we'd love to have you." And I remember feeling so excited, and then so overwhelmed...
[00:03:09] Kevin Dinneen: And this slot happened to be at the ideal location, the best venue for dance in the Fringe Festival, the Kansas City Ballet's space.
[00:03:21] Lindsey Dinneen: It's gorgeous. Yeah. They have this incredible studio theater that's large and it has a great floor and the capabilities are just, it's just stunning. It's beautiful.
[00:03:33]Kevin Dinneen: Lighting and sound, the technical side of it is professional and legit.
[00:03:39] Lindsey Dinneen: I'm a little biased, but especially for a dance perspective, it is probably the best venue, for what I would have liked to do with it, I guess. So I have this incredible opportunity and I just remember feeling so kind of intimidated by it thinking, "Well, I don't have very much time to prepare." By that time, I only had a couple months and that would mean, you know, recruiting dancers and doing all the choreography, figuring out costumes, figuring literally everything out. I mean, I'd never done something like this before.
[00:04:13] Kevin Dinneen: And this was a full feature production, not just like, "Hey, can you do 10 minutes or something like that."
[00:04:22]Lindsey Dinneen: Or one piece. Right. And I only had a couple of months to prepare if I were going to say yes to it. And I remember talking to Kevin and he was so onboard. You were so onboard from the beginning, and I think he basically said, "You can't miss this opportunity." This is--yeah, you have to do this, you have to do it. And then he, and he, he also promised that he was going to be there for me every step of the way so if there was something I needed--backstage support or whatever--he would be there for me, which gave me the courage to say yes. And, just a quick little roast or whatever you want to say is now anytime where he's, you know, maybe not feeling as, as inspired as he was on day one to do some of the backstage things that have to happen, I can always be like, "I kind of started this because of you." Yeah. Kind of not fair, but I'm still gonna use it.
[00:05:17] Kevin Dinneen: She also said, "Hey, if you're agreeing to this, I promise you terrible hours and horrible pay. She's brought that up a bunch of times saying, "Hey, you knew what you were signing up for."
[00:05:30] Lindsey Dinneen: I did. I did. Yeah. I was, I was honest, at least you knew what you were getting into, but yeah.
[00:05:37]Yes. Okay. So. So here I am. I said yes to this opportunity. And I texted one of my friends that night and said, "Would you like to do this thing with me?" And, I soon had a small group of people. I think there were seven of us plus you in that first show.
[00:05:58] Kevin Dinneen: Yeah. Seven of us plus me.
[00:06:00] Lindsey Dinneen: Okay, sorry. Whoops. Okay. What I mean is...
[00:06:03] Kevin Dinneen: Also, terrible credit.
[00:06:06] Lindsey Dinneen: Okay.
[00:06:08] Kevin Dinneen: She gives a terrible credit as well.
[00:06:10]Lindsey Dinneen: Oh no. Okay. All right. Let me caveat. We had seven professional dancers and we had Kevin. No. Okay. And then Kevin, and you'll have to listen to this episode, but Kevin joined us for one particular piece.
[00:06:27] Kevin Dinneen: Two pieces. I was in two pieces that show.
[00:06:29] Lindsey Dinneen: Oh, you're right. Okay. So he was... all right... he's, you were the star of one of the pieces and then the second piece, he made a cameo appearance. So yes, it was in two pieces. Anywho so I, I started on this journey and I remember being just so intimidated thinking, "I have never done anything like this before on this scale." And I'm trying to create a professional production and I'm working with my peers, which is fabulous. But how do you direct your peers? I mean, how do you go from, we danced alongside each other in professional companies as peers to now, I am in a leadership role where I'm directing I'm, I'm, making corrections, I am setting the choreography, I'm making the decisions.
[00:07:22] And so all of that goes into this feeling of overwhelm and, and, "Oh my gosh, I don't even know if this is, if I can do this." And, so I had also decided that when I produced this first show, it didn't make sense to just do a solo show. I figured if I was going to do this, I might as well go ahead and just launch the company, which was a big endeavor in and of itself. So the company launched simultaneously, as we produced our first show at Fringe. And so that is what established VidaDance. And, you know, I hadn't had an example of working with a director who was working with his or her peers. I always had directors that, you know, had had their careers before.
[00:08:10] Kevin Dinneen: For years and years. They had all, all the directors that you worked under or for, they were established as the boss and I have years of proof why you should listen to me.
[00:08:25] Lindsey Dinneen: Right. And, and that's completely legitimate. And I did not have that same experience in relation to, to my peers, in the dancers I was directing. So I just remember for a long time feeling very insecure and wondering, could I even do this and just trying to do my best and thinking, Okay. I've had wonderful opportunities to learn from all of the directors and choreographers that I've worked with. And I know what works well as far as motivating, and I know what doesn't work as well. And so I'll just try to combine all the good things I learned from those people over the years."
[00:09:06] Kevin Dinneen: If you could pick like, like two, what were the most important things that you kind of latched on to?
[00:09:17]Lindsey Dinneen: As good things for me to emulate?
[00:09:20]Kevin Dinneen: Or, yeah. What are the things that you just made a decision on, not having an example. If you could choose two things for someone in your position to do like you did, what two things would those be?
[00:09:34] Lindsey Dinneen: Can I cheat and say three?
[00:09:36] Kevin Dinneen: Yeah.
[00:09:37] Lindsey Dinneen: Okay.
[00:09:38] Kevin Dinneen: I'd like to amend my question, which two or three things?
[00:09:42] Lindsey Dinneen: Okay, alright. So the first was to respect my dancers time. I was asking them to volunteer quite a bit of time, and so in rehearsal, I was dedicated from day one that only the essential people who had to be there at rehearsal were the ones called to rehearsal.
[00:10:03] Kevin Dinneen: Okay. Because you didn't have, you didn't have a budget until you got paid for the, the actual event.
[00:10:10] Lindsey Dinneen: Correct. And so I wanted to make sure that time was spent fairly and very productively. So I showed up every single time, knew exactly what I wanted to cover with a select group of people, and nobody else had to be there. So definitely respecting dancers' time was a huge, huge thing for me. Another thing was, at a professional level--and this is my opinion, and everyone can have something different--but I do not believe in asking dancers to work for free. They have already invested years and years of money and time and training. And at this point I would like to see them at a point where they're financially rewarded for their work. And so that was a big thing for me. And then, oh, my goodness. Now I'm going to forget my third.
[00:10:57] Kevin Dinneen: I'd like to amend my first amendment and say thank you for answering the two things that you would tell someone in your position.
[00:11:08] Lindsey Dinneen: Shoot. If it comes back to me all, I'll, I'll return to it. Yeah. So I just remember feeling insecure and feeling like, I just don't know if I can do a good job and just trying to do the very best I could and treat everyone with respect and care and we would just go and put a show on together and see what happened. And then leading up to the first performance. I wrote out my pre-show speech and rehearsed it so many times.
[00:11:37] Kevin Dinneen: So many times.
[00:11:39]Lindsey Dinneen: So many times, 'cause I wanted to explain the concept of the company, you know, because we were introducing ourselves essentially to the world. Right? We were, there it is, that was our world premiere as a professional company not just for that show. I just remember being backstage before the very first show and like shaking, right? I am shaking because I have to introduce the show, and I'm not a super confident public speaker. I don't hate it. Like I'll go and do it. But I wasn't thrilled about it. I just remember walking out and I had the mic, and the mic always helps me feel a little more relaxed for whatever reason.
[00:12:16]Kevin Dinneen: As opposed to the lapel mic, you wanted to hold it.
[00:12:18] Lindsey Dinneen: Yes. I wanted to hold it because that way I had something for my hands to do, but I just remembered, like, literally my legs shaking and I don't think it was noticeable. I don't know.
[00:12:28] Kevin Dinneen: It wasn't!
[00:12:29] Lindsey Dinneen: Okay. That's good, but I remember feeling so unsteady on my feet like I will just fall over in a second. And then as soon as that was over and I guess I didn't botch it up too much, I saw a video later. It wasn't, it was, it was good. It was decent.
[00:12:42] Kevin Dinneen: It was fine. It was better than 90% of other ones that I've seen-- your first one was.
[00:12:48] Lindsey Dinneen: Well, that's sweet. So right from there, I was, and I do this to myself way too much-- I haven't learned my lesson on this whole thing-- but I switch gears immediately from director mode. As in, I have to introduce this concept and the show, to I am a dancer in the first place. Please don't do that. If there are any directors out there, it's a stupid idea. And I still don't learn my lesson. And in fact, the very last show I did, I did the same darn thing, but anyway, switched modes into dancer mode, because not only was I directing it, the show, but I, the first show I choreographed...all of it? Almost all of it?
[00:13:31]Kevin Dinneen: I remember you're, you're choreographing like every spare second. You had your headphones in and you're moving around the...
[00:13:43]Lindsey Dinneen: Living room
[00:13:44] Kevin Dinneen: Yeah, living room.
[00:13:45] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah, because that was where I choreographed. Still do. So, okay. So then I choreographed most of it, if not all of it. And then I was dancing in a lot of it and well, I I've continued to do that because for me, I absolutely love performing and it would be difficult for me to give that up, so I continued to do all three roles in our shows that we produce, which I absolutely love. But I just remember getting onto the stage that first time after switching modes and thinking, "Whew, that was weird." And, and trying to, like, turn my brain off from evaluating how I did in that speech, to I need to remember the choreography right now. I mean, right now is my time to perform and that was such an interesting dynamic for show number one. And then kind of after that, everything went smoothly and happily... no. So, okay. Was it the next year? I think it was the very next year that we had our Murphy's Law set of shows.
[00:14:46] Kevin Dinneen: It was for four nights of performances and something interesting happened every night.
[00:14:56] Lindsey Dinneen: The ones that stand out to me were, one night, one of the dancers was late to the show...
[00:15:06]Kevin Dinneen: Not just late. Late could be like five minutes, 10 minutes to call, right? To get there for prep.
[00:15:13] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah, late would be... right. Like in a dancer's world, late, if you're late that's--you did not arrive before or at the call time, which is usually like what an hour? An hour and a half before performance time. An hour and a half.
[00:15:24] Kevin Dinneen: Yeah, depending on the show.
[00:15:25] Lindsey Dinneen: That's true. That's true. Right. This dancer missed three numbers for basically about half the show because she had ended up switching cars to get to the theater, and realized about halfway to the theater that she had her costumes in the other car. So she had to completely retrace their steps. But anyway, so then as a result of that, we ended up on the spot having to--and things like that happen, like total grace, things like that happen-- but, the rest of us dancers had to figure out on the spot what we were going to do because she had a number of featured roles in the pieces that were at the beginning of the show.
[00:16:07] Kevin Dinneen: She had a long solo too, pretty close to the beginning.
[00:16:09] Lindsey Dinneen: She had a long solo. Yeah.
[00:16:11] Kevin Dinneen: Or pretty close to the beginning.
[00:16:13] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah. So we had to kind of figure out who is going to fill in her spots. And, you know, it's one of those things where, when it's that last minute, you just do your absolute best. And if it's not exactly what the choreography was, who cares? I just wanted to make sure that the stage wasn't blank. And I have to say, I'll circle back around to this, but I have never been prouder of that group of dancers than I was in that moment, because there was nobody who was complaining or saying, "What?! I can't believe, blah, blah, blah." I mean, 'cause these things happen, right? And instead everyone was immediately in, "Okay, this is a situation. How do we make it work?"
[00:16:54] Kevin Dinneen: Didn't like a couple of people were like, "Well, I can do this." And then you were just like...
[00:17:00] Lindsey Dinneen: They just took it on.
[00:17:01] Kevin Dinneen: Yeah.
[00:17:01] Lindsey Dinneen: They took full ownership.
[00:17:02] Kevin Dinneen: Yeah. And I did not realize that there was a change until she came on and I was like, "Hey! She's just, she's just now on there?"
[00:17:16] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah.
[00:17:17] Kevin Dinneen: Like, everyone rocked it.
[00:17:18] Lindsey Dinneen: Right. No, I mean, and I think, so we basically ended up divvying out her roles among three or four dancers, but it was so amazing to me, 'cause I remember one of my dancers saying, "Oh, I think I know that solo well enough. I'll, I'll go out and do it." And I was like, "Great." And then another said, "Oh, I can do her part for this particular piece." And she'd never done it. You know, nobody had ever rehearsed this stuff and they just rocked it. I mean, so proud and so thankful and so impressed with the caliber-- I mean, I know that these people are wonderful that I get to work with, but-- it was in that moment when I realized, wow, this is an amazing atmosphere here that people are just so--it doesn't matter what the situation-- they just dive right in and solve the problem. And I love that. And so then the next performance, one of the dancers got to the theater and realized she didn't have any of her shoes. So I think that was a pair of character shoes, pointe shoes, probably flat ballet shoes, jazz shoes, even.
[00:18:19] Kevin Dinneen: This is part of the story that I didn't even realize, I thought it was just one of her pairs of shoes.
[00:18:23] Lindsey Dinneen: No, all of them. And so she sent her husband back home to get the shoes and he brought them back. He wasn't gonna make it in time for the first few numbers. So the rest of us all rallied around, found spare shoes amongst all of, you know, the dancers and, and just made it work. And it worked. And then another night, it's our finale piece and it was this really fun, upbeat, jazz and tap kind of hybrid piece. And...
[00:18:52] Kevin Dinneen: We have video of this...
[00:18:56] Lindsey Dinneen: I think we'll probably release it...
[00:18:57] Kevin Dinneen: We need to maybe put a link in the show notes.
[00:19:01] Lindsey Dinneen: He might forgive us. It's okay. So one of my dancers is Joe. Awesome, awesome guy, and he has thankfully an amazing sense of humor, but, okay. So great upbeat song. He is like rearing to go. He's always super high energy...
[00:19:18] Kevin Dinneen: And his entrances are almost always like over-the-top high energy with a leap, with a turn.
[00:19:25] Lindsey Dinneen: Right. Explosive. And I mean, he just rocks the stage when he comes out. So, so he's all eager beaver over there in the wings. And I see it, I see this out of the corner of my eye, and I realize that as he goes onto the stage, I realize that it's not his time. And he has literally entered the stage probably a good...
[00:19:55] Kevin Dinneen: 30 seconds...
[00:19:56] Lindsey Dinneen: 30 seconds before he's actually supposed to enter. And this was when he was actually going to be super in the way, because this particular piece had a lot of crossing back and forth. It was not conducive to the traffic flow. I did not realize until he made it on stage and then I was like, "Oh, no!" You know, like that's slow emotion, reaching for something kind of thing, and then realizing there's nothing you can do. So, so he sashays onto stage bright and cheerful, and realizes immediately that he's way too early. So he does like, he does like a u-turn and sashays towards the wings, but he knows as any good professional does that you can't just like enter, and exit, because then it'll be super obvious that you messed up. So instead he comes back to the wing, he's close to the curtain, and he does this very big grand gesture towards the dancers as if he's introducing them.
[00:20:53] Kevin Dinneen: Yeah. Like, like welcome to the show.
[00:20:55] Lindsey Dinneen: Yes. Right. With his arms, with the wide sweeping gesture, and he just stays there and waits, and it was amazing. And, oh, my word. So anyway, that was our Murphy's Law set of shows that we had. But you know what, again, I was so proud of our dancers because every time we had an issue, they were like on it immediately. But also that was the first year that we won Best of Venue for the Kansas City Fringe Festival. So it kind of proved to me that not only can we rally together, but that we rock it when we do. I mean, it, we really have such a close knit group of people. There, there is nothing like it, I'm so grateful for this group of people.
[00:21:40] Kevin Dinneen: So when you started your whole directing career, you were worried about certain things and you made certain things a certain way based on your experiences and what you wanted the experience for your dancers to be. I'd kinda like to know what things did you learn the hard way, because you made certain changes before you even started to what is the norm, or what you experienced, and what things--did you learn anything like, "Oh, I really didn't do that right." Or that, you know, as a director.
[00:22:17]Lindsey Dinneen: Well, one thing that I learned that I was surprised was, in the beginning, I used to do a lot of very general corrections when things weren't looking correct. I wouldn't call out anyone in particular. And, it was intentional at the time. It was, I felt a little bit bad--again, when you're working with your peers, and you're just not sure quite how that dynamic is going to go. I did very generalized corrections for a while and I think that, as a result, like on the other side of things, generalized questions are actually very frustrating because you don't know if the director's referring to you or somebody else or what's going on. And it's, it's actually very unhelpful. And so, so I did that thinking I was kind of protecting feelings and then it, as it turns out, it was actually--I'm diminishing the quality because people didn't know when they weren't correct, like when it applied to them versus when it didn't. So that was definitely something I learned was, it wasn't hurting people's feelings. People wanted to know. And that was, that was a huge thing for me is they were like, "No, tell me when I'm not doing it correctly. Tell me when I look different from other people. I want to do it with excellence." So I definitely remember learning that.
[00:23:35] Kevin Dinneen: Sort of a followup question, so what kind of things--you've talked about, when you first started directing--some of the things that you were worried about? So what things nowadays, what are we five years into it? Or a little more?
[00:23:51] Lindsey Dinneen: Almost. Yeah. We're about to kick off our sixth season.
[00:23:54] Kevin Dinneen: Yeah. So, so how has, how has that shifted? What, what kind of things kind of get you uncomfortable these days?
[00:24:03] Lindsey Dinneen: Okay, good question. I definitely am way more comfortable with public speaking, introducing the shows, talking about it. I would say that, I'm still hesitant when it comes to asking for donations or something like that. That still feels very kind of foreign to me. We became a nonprofit late last year and it-- I, I fully believe in what we're doing, but I will just say for me personally, this is kind of a new leap of faith to start fundraising and really start feeling comfortable with asking for money. So I would say that's a new area for me. I've always, I guess, tried to kind of make things happen on my own?
[00:24:44] Kevin Dinneen: Yes, you've bootstraped everything. Everything you've done has been, we'll put in as much as we can.
[00:24:54] Lindsey Dinneen: I am an expert at asking for specific kinds of donations. Money is difficult for me, but if I can ask for in -kind donations, I actually do a pretty good job on that, come to think of it. Yeah, so.
[00:25:06]Kevin Dinneen: Yeah, just send an email, send the email.
[00:25:10] Lindsey Dinneen: Send the email. That's a whole 'nother conversation.
[00:25:13] Kevin Dinneen: Yeah. That's a whole 'nother podcast special.
[00:25:19] Lindsey Dinneen: So. Yeah. So, so I think that's an area of growth for me. I've written a few grants before, actually for other companies, but I haven't really done much--again, kind of now we're in this, this space where we can start really pursuing grants that are available to nonprofits. So that will be another opportunity for growth, not something I've done a lot of and not something that I'm super familiar with the process.
[00:25:43]Kevin Dinneen: What about, like opening night? There were things that you used to worry about, and there are things that you still worry about. Are they the same things or have those things changed?
[00:25:54] Lindsey Dinneen: I think I still always have those opening night jitters. It just always, you just never know. You pour your heart and soul into a project and you believe in it. And when you're watching it in rehearsal, you think, yes, this could be something. But you don't really know until opening night, when you start hearing the audience.
[00:26:15]Kevin Dinneen: Five years in, do you have a better feel or is it the same level as when you started?
[00:26:20] Lindsey Dinneen: Good question. No, it is not the same. I felt when I launched the company, I was trying to do a very different concept than anything that Kansas City had seen, for a variety of reasons. One of the big ones was that we do variety style shows, in the sense that our dancers are hugely multitalented. They can do ballet, modern, jazz, tap...
[00:26:41]Kevin Dinneen: And you incorporate all of that into a show.
[00:26:45] Lindsey Dinneen: Right. And I remember thinking, I don't think Kansas City is ready for this because it was so different. And so first show jitters were ridiculous because I thought, I am really putting myself out there by declaring who we're going to be, and it was so unique, that I was afraid that it would just be completely rejected, you know? Oh, that's stupid. Now, I mean, I know, so there's been a lot of proof that our concept not only works, but people love it. I mean, they look forward to it every year. They talk about how much joy it brings them and that's all I've ever wanted to do. So, it's not the same. I still get those like, "Oh, is this gonna work? Is it going to work?" Or, you know, are people gonna understand what this piece is about, but not to the same level.
[00:27:34] Kevin Dinneen: Well, and I think some of that probably comes with how different every show is that you do. You never do the same thing twice, and it's always completely original, right? So you go, you see one show, the next one is going to be completely different. So, I guess I could see how that would, if you're doing the same show year after year, it would make a lot more sense that you would just get comfortable.
[00:27:59] Lindsey Dinneen: Oh, sure.
[00:28:00] Kevin Dinneen: Yeah. People like this, but it's something new every time.
[00:28:02] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah. You're absolutely right. There are new concepts every time. I don't repeat work, so yeah. Yeah. That's a really good point.
[00:28:08] Kevin Dinneen: I do also want to throw out a caveat here. Lindsey's never heard these questions.
[00:28:14] Lindsey Dinneen: Yes, no, that is very true.
[00:28:14] Kevin Dinneen: We did not talk about this is ahead of time.
[00:28:17]Lindsey Dinneen: I guess I would say kind of along with that, just to give, some more perspective . So, backing up, you know, I just kind of talked about the fact that all I've ever wanted to do was bring joy through our performances and that is the heart and soul behind the company. But, besides having this variety of styles that we do consistently throughout our shows, the other thing that we do is, our whole point as a company is to make dance accessible to everyone, to people that have a background in dance and understand the difference between a pirouette and a foute to the people who absolutely have never gone to a performance before and probably didn't have any interest in doing so. And so we do that through a lot of ways, because I do think that dance can bring so much joy to people if they can appreciate it. And so we do a variety of styles so that, you know what, hey, if you're not in a classical ballet fan, you're not sitting through an hour of just classical ballet. You'll see tap, which is super fun, hard to dislike tap, and you'll see some jazz and you'll see some modern and, you know, you might even see some Irish Step or Bollywood.
[00:29:26]We're always exploring, you know, what, what can we do as a company? How can we grow? And, we're very passionate about making our storylines easy to understand so that, you know, you don't leave thinking well, I had no idea what that piece was about. The choreographers always write notes about what the piece is about or what inspired them for the programs. Oh, yes. For the programs. and so you always have a little bit of context. You can draw from it what you want, but at least you kind of know what the original intention was behind the artist's choice.
[00:29:59] Kevin Dinneen: A lot of your music is very relatable and, you know, matches the, the idea behind the piece very well.
[00:30:09] Lindsey Dinneen: Yes. We don't do a lot of super abstract work. I don't even think we've really done anything that's very abstract. We're trying to find and share the beauty, light and joy that we experience when we dance with the world. And I dance because it inspires my soul. And I just want to share a little piece of that inspiration.
[00:30:31]Kevin Dinneen: Yeah. Okay. So a little behind-the-scenes question here.
[00:30:35] Lindsey Dinneen: Okay.
[00:30:36] Kevin Dinneen: So I've noticed that your anxiety and your worrying and, and that sort of whole bundle of feelings tends to grow and grow and grow until we get to opening night. And then you're just like, you know, whatever, if something comes up, I'll take care of it. What is that? How do you do that?
[00:31:00] Lindsey Dinneen: Yes. Okay. So, yes.
[00:31:03]Kevin Dinneen: Did you always have that?
[00:31:04] Lindsey Dinneen: No. Nope. Nope. Nope. I had to learn that as a director, very early on, because if you get too much of control freakiness going on, then you will just-- you won't have a good time. There'll just be, like every little thing that happens will be the end of the world, when it isn't. And, so, you know, I had worked--both of, all of us--I mean, we had worked quadruple time trying to make everything work just in a couple months to launch an entire company and a new show. And we get up to the opening day and I just remember thinking, you know what? We have worked so hard and now there's nothing we can do. So there's no, no other things to fix. There's nothing else that can, can, you know, we can't work on anything else at this point. So we just need to--whatever is whatever happens, happens, and we just go along for the ride and... and to that point, you know, unless something goes crazy wrong in the sense of, "Oh gosh, that lift really didn't work. We need to fix it." something like that. I don't give notes in between the shows. I remember being on the receiving end of some of that. And it's actually very disheartening as a dancer, because you know, you're all trying your best, right? I mean, if you care and you're at a professional level--I think that means you care-- you're going to do your best. You're representing yourself, you're representing the choreographer, you're representing the company. Like you want to do your best.
[00:32:35] Kevin Dinneen: Do you think everyone who steps into a director role can do that? Or do you think that it's your dancers that allowed you to be able to do that?
[00:32:45]Lindsey Dinneen: That's a great question. I think that my dancers-- and I'm very biased-- but I think my dancers allowed me to be able to that. Oh, they have allowed me to be a better director, to grow as a director, to be a better director because they do care and, and I don't have to worry about them. I know that they're going to do their best. And if someone messes up, it's not because they are just like, "whatever." It's because life happens and you don't always make your fourth rotation on your pirouette, or, or whatever.
[00:33:18] Kevin Dinneen: I've always made my fourth rotation.
[00:33:20] Lindsey Dinneen: Have you? Okay. On the floor or? Okay. Yeah.
[00:33:26] Kevin Dinneen: Okay. Is there anything else that you would like to just volunteer before-- I'd like to ask you a couple of questions.
[00:33:33]Lindsey Dinneen: Boy. You know, the one thing I just want to say is I know what that third thing was! It's coming back. Okay. And it's this. It's really simple, but I think the number one thing you can do as a director or as anyone in leadership is to always show appreciation and gratitude for the people who come alongside you. I mean, I look back and think those seven people chose to work with someone that they had never, I had never set any choreography on them. I had never been in a leadership role with them. They didn't know what that was gonna look like. And they said yes, anyway. And, then every year the company has grown and grown and grown, and I will never be able to say, thank you enough to them. But there is no feeling in the world that matches what it feels like when I get to be on stage doing what I love the most with the people I love the most. And that feeling of "This came from nothing. And together, we have built this company that is now five years strong and we have done amazing things and we have brought joy to audiences." And there is nothing in my life that is more fulfilling than realizing the kind of impact that we have had and that we can have. And the magic that comes from a group of people who truly care, and then share that.
[00:35:15] Kevin Dinneen: And I do want to add that she left out social proof, winning Best Of at Fringe three out of five times. Big deal.
[00:35:26] Lindsey Dinneen: Yeah. That was really amazing.
[00:35:29] Kevin Dinneen: All right. Okay. So if I were to task you with writing a definition of art, you can't look up Webster's or anything like that, how do you define art?
[00:35:41]Lindsey Dinneen: You're using my questions against me. Okay. okay. Art is an expression of creativity that shares someone's life experiences-- whether that's feelings or situation or dreams-- with the world.
[00:36:10]Kevin Dinneen: Okay.
[00:36:12] Lindsey Dinneen: How about that?
[00:36:13] Kevin Dinneen: Yeah! What do you think is the most important role of an artist?
[00:36:19]Lindsey Dinneen: Okay. So I believe the most important role of an artist is to share beauty, hope and joy with the world. And I realize that there are so many things that artists can express. And I love that. I love that art can tackle very difficult topics and open up conversations about things that need to be discussed. And I, I so admire that. I think that there's a place for that, but I think ultimately, opening up those conversations and dealing with those difficult topics can lead to hope and optimism that the world can be changed and that things can be improved. And whether that just starts with the one person who was inspired by that, or whether that spreads out through an audience that thinks, "Wow, I've never looked at it that way before. And I am empowered. I am empowered to make a change. " And I think it's so important that artists can take life and give it this gorgeous rich goodness.
[00:37:44]Kevin Dinneen: Okay. All right. So now, you've lived your full life. You've come to the end of your life, and you're given the opportunity, though, to make a decision on how to spend the last part of your life. You have the opportunity to experience a piece of art one more time. One piece-- whether that be watch a movie, watch a play, look at a visual art, listen to a piece of music--whatever, whatever that is, you get to experience a piece of art that you appreciate one more time. What is that one last time? What is that one piece of art?
[00:38:24]Lindsey Dinneen: Oh, that's a tough question. I think, I think that I would like to see "Cracked!" one more time. And for context, that is the original production that VidaDance produced that premiered in 2019. And it is a Kansas City inspired "Nutcracker." And the reason that I would want to see that particular production is because it has so many people in it that I just deeply, deeply care about. And, they're doing what they love. They're sharing their art, and it's a production that we had the opportunity to spearhead from the very beginning. I mean, it wasn't even a concept without, without us creating it. And so I think that there's so much tied into how proud I am of that production. And at the same time, I would get to see some of my favorite people doing what they love the most, in an art form that I just absolutely adore. I think that would have to be when I pick.
[00:39:40]Kevin Dinneen: Okay. Shaped after your, your favorite city.
[00:39:44] Lindsey Dinneen: Shaped after my favorite city containing my favorite man! That'd be you.
[00:39:49]Kevin Dinneen: Alright. I'm honored. All right. Well, thanks, babe, for joining me on my special episode of your podcast. And, I hope you can make it back sometime.
[00:40:03] Lindsey Dinneen: I hope you can host again sometime! Well, thank you very much. And, thank you to all of you who listen. If you enjoyed this episode, I would love for you to share it with someone you think might be inspired or touched by it as well. And we look forward to catching you next time.
[00:40:23] If you have a story to share with us, we would love that so much. And I hope your day has been Artfully Told.