Pretty Pretty

Image by Adam MacHose

Have you ever heard of Chen Lizra? She’s this person who talks about Cuba and their culture of flirtation. She says seduction is something that can be applied to everyday life. It rang a bell because my bestie, Marlana, who runs TERSE. and cohosts an online show with me, once described the look of the show’s set as “seductive.” She didn’t mean anything sexual. That’s one of the things people get wrong about seduction, they think it’s all about sex.

Google lists the definition of seductive as “tempting and attractive; enticing,” which is the broader definition I want to cover. That could mean a business deal, a nice vacation spot, a personality, a title, the look of a TV show set, etc. It doesn’t need to be sex.

I specialize in making enticing collaborations. Lehigh Valley Dancers is a simple formula: offer dancers free professionally filmed videos of their dancing. Naturally they show up in droves. That’s it. Why did I want to meet a lot of dancers? Because I wanted to meet new people and those were the ones whom I had something to offer. It really is that simple.

I don’t know how many, exactly, but I’d estimate that I met about two hundred dancers and conversed with them for about an hour while filming their solos. I always assumed they were just there for the video, but occasionally I’d make a friend. It was a way to connect with people.

Sometimes I describe myself as a minimalist, and that’s what I mean. I’m a minimalist in that the core of my art, that exchange, is as simple as I can make it. There is an allure to certain types of lighting, shooting, and editing. Mix that with politeness and you create a system that attracts people to your location. You might occasionally make a friend.

Other people use a similar formula, but most of them want something more. There are photographers who go online to Model Mayhem to look for a date. But most commonly, people just want money. Artists beware: the moment you charge, the person paying becomes the boss of what you do. They become a client who can make demands of you. You can say it shouldn’t be that way, but it’s that way. That’s the price of a price. It ceases to be enjoyable to me. I don’t have the energy after my full time job to do that.

A free system like Lehigh Valley Dancers has its other advantages. It creates an enormous body of work and presents an opportunity to challenge yourself as an artist and learn new skills. If you’re an artist, I recommend trying small collaborations. There are a lot of avenues I’ve considered that I haven’t tried yet. Consider if I did a series where I went to artists’ studios, interviewed them in a video, shot b-roll of their studio space, and maintained a YouTube channel of it. Why not? What better way to network with artists in the area? (By the way, if you use that idea, start with me, I’m sooo interesting.)

My point is: if you’re an artist, you can use the skills taught in art school in ways that don’t involve money. It will make your life better. And you might accidentally help someone.


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