I’m in the Hollywood home of William Fraker, the six-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer of such legendary movies as Rosemary’s Baby, Bullitt, and WarGames. My crew is shooting our conversation for Old School New School, a documentary on the nature of creativity.
I found improvisation by accident. I was seeking deep engagement in the moment—in the form of a dance class—and happened into a college dance program at Middlebury College, in Middlebury, VT, where improvisation is foundational to every aspect of the curriculum. As a prospective student, I remember going to watch a dance class, expecting to see something familiar to me, such as jazz or ballet. What I had happened upon, however, was improvisation.
Interview with Rachel Thorne Germond.
I started dancing in my room with the door closed to Madonna as a child at the age of 12 or 13. My family lived in Tallahassee (FL), and I did gymnastics growing up. When I went to the University of Florida I studied Psychology. I was always interested in dance, so I took my first dance class there. I fell in love with it. It was something that I always wanted to do but I had been a little scared to try.
Accidentally! I moved here from Minneapolis in 1968 where I had been teaching at the University of Minnesota. To make a living I taught in several locations--sometimes five in one day. One of my students recommended me to the theatre director at Columbia who invited me to teach a dance class.