Andrea Schermoly’s “at High” – Choreographer’s Notes

at High is a piece born out of a title suggestion originally made by artistic director Robert Curran. I was immediately struck by a feeling of what it is to be away, ascended or departed from one’s current life looking back on a time, and a place where one is not able to return to.

The “narrative” I created follows the psychological shift a young boy is forced to pass through as he realizes he has passed on to the “next life” and is confronted with his new norm and community. I felt his initial shock and denial are relatable to any loss or stark life (or death) change. 

Change is thrust upon us all when we least expect it, and often not by our own doing. The grieving process is never pain free whether we have left or lost loved ones, endured failure, or experienced displacement. The path to acceptance is difficult and fraught with inner turmoil.

Mahler’s third movement of Symphony No. 4 is a euphoric roller coaster of emotion with driving changes, and an ethereal sensitivity that I found very moving. The symphony is serendipitously written as an ode to a young boy’s bitter-sweet version of heaven. I had chosen the music and immersed myself in it before realizing that our stories were strikingly similar. That in itself was a beautiful and fascinating link. 

It is a wonderful experience to work with the talented artists at Louisville Ballet, and I felt particularly connected to this exploration.

There is only forward. 

Thank you to Robert and Louisville Ballet.