Where Are They? Lindsay Browning
By Angela Wampler | A! Magazine for the Arts | April 26, 2011"Networking is really the best way to describe marketing myself as both a dancer and photographer. One job leads to another," says 28-year-old Lindsay Browning, who is pursuing dance and photography in Philadelphia, Pa.
Lindsay must be a bundle of energy. When A! Magazine caught up with her, she had just finished presenting a multimedia dance solo at Philadelphia's Painted Bride Arts Center and was a dancer in the Opera Company of Philadelphia's production of Romeo and Juliet, both in February. She was rehearsing to perform with Scrap Performance Group on April 28 in New York City, and with two dance companies in Philadelphia: Olive Prince (April 20-21) and Group Motion (June 16-25). Plus, she is choreographing and directing her own works to be presented in late 2011 and early 2012 — and is still performing as a part of magician Michael Grasso's show from NBC-TV's America's Got Talent.
Lindsay's love for the arts was nurtured by her parents, David and Patty Browning of Bristol, Va. Both have worked in theatre throughout their lives. She says, "They pushed me to follow whatever career I thought was right."
She adds, "I am constantly inspired by art makers here and in other countries. I'm motivated by the artists who are pushing boundaries of recognizable dance and opening doors for my generation. I'm inspired by dance teachers who are teaching all forms of dance."
Lindsay says, "My inspiration for pursuing a career in the arts, specifically dance performance and instruction, came from years of studying different forms of dance and having the opportunity in high school to be an assistant instructor at Watts Dance Studio in Bristol. When I graduated high school in 2001, it felt like the next step was to pursue higher education, continuing to study dance." She graduated from Radford University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Contemporary Dance and Performance.
In 2005 Lindsay followed another dancer to Philadelphia, where she discovered "the arts community is intimate and there are opportunities everywhere. Although funding for the arts has been a struggle for the past few years, Philadelphia artists are making work and performing to eager audiences."
"Feast of Dreams," the solo she recently performed at Philadelphia's Painted Bride Arts Center, came from her interest in unconscious dreams and how they are closely related to waking desires and struggles. She explains, "I began documenting reoccurring dreams I was having late last year and developed a sound score that incorporated those dreams. I worked with a very talented videographer named John Luna to create a powerful video projection that played a large role in the telling of one of the key dreams. I found this piece to be very revealing and therapeutic."
Before dancing in The Opera Company of Philadelphia's Romeo and Juliet in February, Lindsay was one of three dancers in their 2010 production of Tea: A Mirror of Soul. She says, "The score for Tea was created by Tan Dun, the amazing composer for (the film) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The experience was wonderful. When I was asked to be in Romeo and Juliet, I was so excited to be in an opera again, and it was an equally awesome experience. The rehearsals are intense, and dancers often play more than one role in the opera. There are many quick changes and lots of running around. In Romeo and Juliet, the dancers were asked to play statues that subtly shifted into different positions throughout the second act, which was 35 minutes long. Our task was to change positions without anyone seeing how we got there. It was an enormous challenge and very fun to attempt."
While in high school, she developed an interest in photography, but it wasn't until her last two years of college that she began investing time in it. "I would say that I am still an experimental photographer and have had great opportunity in Philadelphia to explore," she says. "I do portrait photography as well as performance and event photography. I've had the pleasure to show my images in several galleries around the city, and I have a permanent exhibit at the Black and Brew Cafe."
Lindsay's involvement with the magic show began in March 2010. She recalls, "Michael Grasso and I met at a coffee shop, and he told me he was thinking of doing a television show. We talked for a little while, and I realized that it was definitely something I wanted to try. I had no idea it was going to blossom the way it has. We traveled to Los Angeles for the live shows throughout the summer. In September we met with the touring cast and crew for America's Got Talent and were on the road by October. The show featured the top 10 acts from the season. The whole experience was much like a vacation with the benefit of being able to perform. Although the Talent tour ended, I have continued performing with Michael, most recently for the San Francisco 49ers Foundation in Lake Tahoe. The schedule is intense, flying across the country and working with different lighting and stage designers at each venue. We've been so lucky with the professionalism of each crew. The shows have gone very well and there are many more in the works."
She concludes, "In November, I returned to dancing in Philadelphia. I really feel like dance keeps choosing me rather than the other way around. Photography, on the other hand, has been more of a decision. Every year it becomes more clear how much I want to excel at both art forms."
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