Spotlight Session: Lindsay Grymes
What are the Spotlight Sessions?
I was the child who asked “why” 150 times in a row, to the dismay and occasional annoyance of the adults around me. That curiosity and need for discovery grew with me and became a guide on my artistic path. Determination, inquisitiveness, and the drive to connect with others led me to write, dance, choreograph, produce, and educate.
I started my company, Six Degrees Dance, with the mission of creating community. Embodying the theory that all people are connected through a social network of 6 or fewer degrees, we collaborate in an environment where the exchange of ideas is the building block for innovation and growth. We approach dance making with the belief that the contribution of the individual benefits the group, and results in a body of work reflective of the sum of its parts.
To that end, we have developed several initiatives that connect artists with audiences and with each other, maintaining the idea of six degrees of separation as the foundation for those connections. Our annual showcase brings together national and international choreographers, most of whom have never met. Our Choreographic Commission series allows the dancers of Six Degrees to work with a variety of choreographers in different styles. In The Spotlight Sessions, I will present a different artist each cycle, and through interviews, short feature articles, previews, and capsule reviews, offer a behind the scenes look into their work and their process. I hope you enjoy getting to know these unique, talented individuals as much as I have, and continue to follow them on their creative paths.
Lindsay Grymes is a Professional Choreographer, Dancer, and Pilates Instructor based in the Washington D.C. and NYC area. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in 2020 with a B.F.A. in Choreography and continued to gain her Comprehensive Pilates certification in 2022. Her recent work includes being a commissioned choreographer for the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group and Artists Revealed Dance Company, as well as having choreography showcased at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater and STEPS on Broadway. Lindsay’s body of work is dedicated to her curiosity and enthusiasm regarding human potential. She believes that every person offers nuance to the world, spiritually and physically, and aims to bring that to light through her choreography.
During her time at Marymount, under the direction of Katie Langan, she worked with artists such as Anthony Morigerato, Angelica Stiskin, Jenn Freeman, Yin Yue, Adam Barruch, and many more. At school she honed into her love for creating dance and what it took to make audience members feel at home through watching dance. She was awarded the single “Golden Key” in choreography for her class as well as had the honor to showcase her work at Jazz at the Lincoln Center, STEPS on Broadway, Peridance APEX, etc. Through the years 2017-2020, her love for community brought her to facilitate a “Works in Progress” showing twice a year for choreographers within the university.
She carries her love for dance and humanity in everything she does and through teaching, she embraces each student’s individualized potential. Lindsay’s mission is to not only unlock and surface one’s beauty but to do so through the power of discipline and camaraderie. Her current work in dance is in teaching contemporary techniques and in Pilates Instruction , where she collaborates with Physical Therapists.
1. How did your artistic journey begin?
My artistic journey began maybe at 3 years old in tap class but I don’t believe it became “profound” until my first year of college. I believe that’s when I began to hone into my ideas and what clicked with me most. I always sought out being the worst in the room growing up to seek challenge and hard work, so I believe my mission of humbling oneself began long ago.
2. What drives you as an individual artist? What do you hope to express/convey to the world through your work?
What drives me as an individual artist is what our mentality pulls out of the physical body. Obtaining a universal definition from the audience is hard to make universal. I hope to convey an overall feeling of awe through watching dance. The dancer's body is full of knowledge as is the audience members, I’ve always viewed the two as experiencing the work harmoniously.
3. When do you feel most powerful?
I’m not sure if it’s power I’m ever seeking or really feeling. The closest thing I can connect to would be fulfillment. I feel most fulfilled after months of consistency and putting action prior to thought. This also comes out in teaching my students, there is nothing better than seeing other dancers thrive after months of keeping curiosity through consistency.
4. What has been your biggest challenge and your proudest moment during your artistic growth?
Over the last few years I’ve had multiple health related surgeries that should have put the kibosh on my professional career. The rude awakening that my body is not always guaranteed to be healthy allowed a deep meditation on the blessings of life as is. Simply living but the luck to have such amazing people in my life. My proudest moment has been getting back up and proceeding onward everyday without comparison nor second guessing any effort.
5. Can you describe your creative process?
My creative process is sweaty, groovy, and nuanced each time. There is truly no formula that I follow when working with new people. There are a few elements in my teaching that I utilize to create camaraderie and trust within the group itself.
For instance, I will have a 30+ minute improvised jam session with the dancers with songs ranging from Dinah Washington, Nirvana, Notorious B.I.G., Franz Liszt, etc. Throughout this nonstop dancing my goal is to hit the polarities of emotion through music as the catalyst. As a result we all, myself included, go into the process with our guard down and taking one another a bit less seriously.
It truly puts us all in a “everything to gain and nothing to lose” mentality.
6.What do you do when you are not creating? What things outside of the dance industry inspire you and fuel your creativity?
When I’m not creating, I’m working! Jokes aside, I wish I could say something more leisurely. I am truly inspired by the “ordinary” day-to-day. By design, I’ve made the suburbs my place of residence. I’ve spent time observing, listening, and connecting with those sometimes completely separate to art and yet who live their days extremely artistically and profoundly. Being with people of all different lifestyles, workplaces, and priorities is really inspiring. I’m in awe of what makes people enthusiastic of the everyday and what strife they’ve conquered gracefully. I am inspired by an individual's mastery through the longevity of life. My creativity is fueled from conversation, reading, and podcasts.
7. What is next for you?
I have begun new work as a Pilates Instructor within the physical therapy as well as dance realm. I am also teaching dance in the Washington D.C. and Maryland area. I’m not sure what is next but I am continuing to work with regard to longevity. I have many goals for the year but I don’t love to count my chickens before they hatch (haha.)
8. Is there a piece of advice you'd give to younger or emerging artists?
Advice that I’m currently offering to myself plus younger/ emerging artists is to work through the resistance of your own dream.
I believe we all know what it takes to begin the steps of our goals and that taking action forward can be the most daunting. My choreographic title may be the same as someone else's, but what we see as necessary to get there may be totally different. So I hope that I continue to articulate the dream, recognize what’s difficult about obtaining it, and push on with that knowledge. And I hope the same for everyone else.
A quick look at Lindsay Grymes' work