There are many ways that people minister in Chicago, Illinois, and dance is no exception. Both moving to Chicago in pursuit of dance, Charlique Rolle and Kim Baker’s paths crossed in the fall of 2012. In November 2017, a conversation between the two led them to begin the journey on what their followers, and the dancers involved, know as “Captured.”
“Captured” is a dance show with two acts, “Filtered” and “Captivating,” taking place at the Hamlin Park Theater in Chicago. The show will take place on Thursday, October 4th and Friday, October 5th, and is expected to last for an hour and 10 minutes. The dance show will feature modern and contemporary dance, and includes 6 solos from the 6 dancers involved in the show, as well as group pieces. In their two acts, “Filtered” is one piece on its own while “Captivating” includes three suites, “Hidden,” “Bound,” and “Free.” The show will conclude with a moderated talk back between the audience and the dancers.
When Charlique and Kim started on the journey for “Captured,” it was important for them to have dancers who would be intentional and vulnerable in sharing their story. With that, the show has transformed into something where these dancers share the deepest parts of themselves; finding healing in a way they may not have thought possible. The 8-month process has shifted in many ways. With job scheduling conflicts and one dancer leaving from graduate school in London. Nevertheless, the two pressed on.
I had the chance to sit down with Charlique and Kim and talk about their intentions for “Captured,” the dancers, the audience, and how “Captured” came about.
Shonette Reed: What brought about the idea for “Captured?”
Charlique Rolle: Kim and I have known each other since like 2012, and we had worked on some projects back then. And a couple of years had passed since we had last words with each other. And we just kind of like reached out to reconnect, not for any specific project or anything, but just to reconnect as humans.
Kim Baker: Yeah. It was back in the Fall, so I think November, actually.
CR: November of last year, and we started talking and just catching up about life and the season of life that we were in, which, we had both gone through some major like life changes of different things that had happened over the year, and where we were in that moment. The sense of like, just like the journey of like, becoming more raw and more vulnerable. Like, seeking deeper intimacy with God and resting and knowing what that means and finding that just as we are, we are enough as God has created us to be. And just our personal journey, and in the moment it was just like, “We should do a project. We should do a show.”
I hadn’t done any choreographing or anything in the dance community for 3 years. And I was ready to get back in. Kim was ready to start a new project at the time. It was so right and we were both having this conversation feeling chills the whole time. Feeling very led by the Spirit. This is a project that we want to do and I think for both of us also, even when we create work, it’s more than just here’s a piece about something. It’s “this is our journey and we want to show you our story.” It stemmed from us, but we want to be able to, we love working from dancers and we love getting their stories and sharing their testimonies and helping them go through that journey even as we’re going through it. So that’s been, like, how this all birthed.
SR: How did you come up with the title “Captured?”
KB: I think first, as we started to develop what the show would look like, we kind of realized that there would be two acts to the show. So, the first half would be “filtered.” The second half would be “captivating.” So, that actually came first. I think once we realized that we wanted the first half of the show to really represent, visually and physically, what it looked like to hide yourself behind something. We realized that we wanted frames, we wanted the plastic. We wanted to have obstacles on stage that the dancers were working through and working behind. So, “filtered” became the word that represented what that looked like. And for the second half, “captivating,” for me it felt like a lot of the book “Captivating.” I read that last year and re-read it again, and it was really powerful for me. And it was, like, perfect timing.
So the journey for the dancers, a lot of them, are struggling with “Am I enough?” “Am I doing enough?” “Am I fine?” “Am I wrong?” “Am I crazy?” “Do I look okay?” “Is my weight okay?” There’s just so much that circles around and through the journey. The hope is that we do come to a place of realizing that we’re captivating just by being ourselves. So that became a word for the second half of the show.
CR: Then we just kind of thought about how this all ties in one. And, captured kind of being that all encompassing theme. Being held, being brought near. We are captured by God in both of these, in this journey, this progress. And then capturing the aspect of capturing our lives and bringing them forth.
SR: How long have you both lived in Chicago?
KB: 2005. 13 years.
Charlique: May 2012. After undergrad. We met in the Fall of 2012.
SR: What brought you to Chicago?
KB: For me, dance. I danced in college, and I’ve danced my whole life. So I knew that I wanted to be a part of teaching, be a part of companies, be a part of choreographing, and it’s basically New York, Chicago, or L.A. Chicago seemed like the best fit for me.
CR: Yeah I didn’t want to come to Chicago, actually. When I graduated, I thought it was like way too big, and kind of claustrophobic. But, it’s funny because I wanted to live in New York, but not really. (Laughs)
I was not a huge fan. And, after I graduated undergrad, I was just tryna figure out what to do next because it was either like, go to grad school, work, figure it out. And my brother actually lives in Chicago, and he was like “You know there’s a lot of dance opportunity.” I studied dance in college. So, [her brother said] “there’s a lot of dance opportunities in Chicago, I know you’re like tryna figure out grad school. Take a year off, and like, just come. Check it out. See what’s going on.” And that is how I ended up coming and then loving it and then, just, not ready ever to leave.
SR: I know you mentioned you danced throughout your life, and [Charlique] you mentioned that you studied dance in undergrad. So, outside of that, how did dance become a part of your life?
KB: My mom started me in studio classes when I was 4, I think. So, yeah, I think I was a very hyper kid just moving around and very physically, so I think it was a good place for me. And I had shy spells, so it helped pull me out of that. I think I wanted to quit when I was like 8 or 12 and she wouldn’t let me. Which is perfect because it became such an internal part of my life. And then I knew that I wanted to do that in college, I wanted to do that after. It’s definitely become more of a presence and more of a part of my life than I thought, you know, as a kid. And, I’m really thankful for that.
CR: It’s funny because I was around a lot of performing things growing up, but I didn’t actually start training, technically, until I was 15. But, I always knew that the arts and dance were an outlet for me. I was very introverted. I had a lot of things that I had gone through as a child and dance became like an outlet that I can speak through without having to say my words and it became a huge part of who I was. Just as a person.
And, growing up in the Bahamas, too, knowing that this was something, even when I was young, knowing that I wanted to go into the arts, I wanted to dance, I wanted to do all these things. I wanted to perform all this stuff, but like, to say that in the Bahamas is like such a taboo thing. And because it’s like, you will never do that. I could never be sustainable in the Bahamas as an artist. And to, like, be in a class, in my school, and going hard like, “This is what I feel called to do, this is what I want to do,” and then knowing everybody’s like, “Yeah that’s not real, you’re not gonna do anything.” Being doubted by my peers, being doubted even by teachers; being doubted by my parents. It was like, you need to find something that you can actually make money doing. Or like, why are you doing this?
But just really like, walking hard-pressed to say, “This is what I feel called to and this is the direction I want to go.” When I started undergrad, I was a freshmen, I was a bio major, and I was gonna be an orthodontist. Which, I love science. I was really good at it. And, that was like something I was super interested in and in my heart I knew that to the point of being like, having to tell my dad, which was like a really difficult conversation multiple times. To be like, “This is where I’m going and this is where I feel like the Lord’s doing.” And, my dads not saved. So being like, “This is my calling” that’s like “No, what’s reality?” Even coming to Moody, having the conversation multiple times and studying ministry and all of that ties into it. Having that mind and having that missions directional that this is aligned with God’s calling and this is the burden he’s given me to preach the gospel through the arts, to minister to people through the arts.
Not just to the audience, but also to the performers themselves. Some of the people we work with, some of them are Christians, some of them are not, and that doesn’t inhibit who we are as creators. It doesn’t inhibit how we create or how we minister to them. But, it’s a unique opportunity that we get to minister in that context. And to love on them, and to show them who God is. And I think that’s the role that dance and the arts plays in my life. It’s a huge part of my own personal mission.
SR: What was the planning process like for “Captured?”
KB: We met about what it would look like, what it would feel like, what we’d explore; and then the idea for two acts came. It’s developed over the course of time. Once we brought in the dancers, a lot of things shifted in how we would explore in deeper ways. So, what filtered meant to them? What it meant to us? I think that really was, like, the biggest shift in the process was bringing the dancers in because we gave it to them, and really said “This is going to be a chance for you guys to tell your story.” So, we would sit down and talk to them. [We would] hear what their lives looked like and what they were going through. Things that they wanted to share and that truly shaped the piece. Each dancer has a solo.
CR: Yeah. That was like a huge thing. The fact that, when we, like, so we just set the foundation, the groundwork, the framework, and once the dancers came in, we spent a lot of time just meeting with them individually. And even then, it morphed because of who they are. The show is about them and for them. And we, even those meetings that we had with them. Hearing their stories, heavily influenced how we created for them. It wasn’t “Here’s your solo, tell your story through it.” It was “Let’s hear your story and let that influence your piece.” And that kind of like bleeds through all of the work because we’re always mindful of their specific story. And what does that look like in our bodies, or in their bodies, and what type of movement looks best for that specific dancer. Or what choreography is right to convey what they want to say.
KB: One thing that kind of shaped the process, as for captivating, as we worked with the dancers and were kind of creating their stories and what worked for them, we realized that some of the stories were similar, and so we created 3 suites for act two. And suite 1 is “hidden.” So three of the dancers are telling their stories, but they’re related to each other. Even though they’re very different, they’ve all had different experiences, but something about it was their struggle with being hidden and breaking out of that… the second suite is “bound.” So, there’s two dancers doing their solo’s in something that was similar for them, but also very different stories. They were bound. And the third suite being “free,” where they kind of all break through the things that are kind of holding them to break to a place of freedom. And that wasn’t developed until after. Like way after in the process.
SR:What process did you go through for choosing your dancers?
KB: That’s been one of the crazy parts of the things… We’re very intentional about who we asked to be in the show because it’s incredibly vulnerable. So, we knew that we needed mature dancers who would be willing to share. And willing to work in that capacity and be vulnerable, both physically and dancing wise, and with their hearts.
But, we’ve had dancers, one got accepted into a graduate school in London and she left a few months ago. We’ve had others with work issues that just couldn’t keep the schedule. And so, we brought in some other dancers that we maybe didn’t initially think of, but it’s been a perfect fit. So, I think that, the cool thing...
CR (laughing): In divine providence…
KB: God was like, actually we want these dancers to be in the show. And it’s been really incredible because it’s super obvious now why they’re in the show and why it was important for them to go through this process. And why it was beneficial for us to work with them. And, so, it’s been a hiccup. It’s been hard, but it’s been really cool to see that God was like, “Well, actually, it’s going to look like this.”
CR: And it’s been really cool to, even to hear the dancers, individually and collectively, like they’ll just randomly come up to us and be like “I really needed this. This just came, like, right at the right time.” And just we’re asking them to share their lives with us, like, in a very like Kim said, in a vulnerable and exposed way, and that this is a process that is like beneficial for them. And like, healing and just like revelatory for them. So, that’s been like, one of my favorite things.
KB: It’s really powerful because there are a lot of artists spaces where you can be vulnerable, you can be safe, you can be yourself, you can share, but it’s not necessarily in the capacity of, like, bringing Jesus in the place… having the space where we can marry the two [dance and Jesus] has been so freeing… it feels really needed, and really necessary.
SR: What do you hope the audience gains from watching “Captured?”
KB: I think that it will be easy for them to relate to what the dancers are saying. Early in “Filtered,” there’s audio clips of the dancers giving their actual text and I think that sets up an outsider’s perspective to understand easily what’s happen. And, so, I think that it will feel relatable. Cause one thing that you’re hearing, with all 6 dancers, they’re all kind of saying the same thing… that they’re “not enough.” And, so, I think that it feels very relatable to like a large number of people. My hope is that people won’t feel alone in that. That they’ll realize that there is a universal pull that is pulling us down and through the journey, in the second half of the show, that they’ll know that there is a possibility for freedom. That there is a possibility to not listen to those lies, to let them go. To not be bound by them. And to know that the Creator enjoys us so much that they truly are lies and that there’s a place for freedom.
CR: Really, that they would see themselves in them. And that it would challenge them to begin, if they haven’t already, to process these things, and like Kim said, just really walk in a new freedom. And that it would, for those who may not be a Christian, that it would just draw them to the Lord. Draw them to how intimate he wants to be with them, and how he speaks. And, like she said, the first act opens with these lies and these voices and we battle them but what is it like to hear truth.
SR: What music accompanies the dances?
CR: A lot of different types.
KB: Yeah. There’s a wide array of music you’ll hear in the show.
CR: Yeah. I’ll start with “Captivating,” because there are a lot of different solos in “Captivating.” First off, in the same way we found movement to accompany these stories, we found music specific to them as well. It’s not a specific genre or anything it was what was the music that would best communicate and help emphasize what their story is.
Some of the music merged the sounds or feelings or others. So, like, in the suites, suite 1 and suit 2 of “Captivating” where there are 3 different solos then there’s like a group portion of it then we found a song that kind of like encompassed and thread through…
KB: the feel of all three.
SR: What was this process like for you personally?
KB: I think we both had a wide array of emotions and things along the process because it has, I mean for us it’s been almost a year, so, yeah, I mean. Yeah. I think that it’s definitely helped us become more clear about our strengths and our weaknesses. We’ve seen through this process things that we really enjoy doing and things that we we’re good at. And so, I think that’s been something that’s kind of helpful to both of us. Seeing and kind of honing in on what our skills are and what excites us. And what really brings us a lot of joy.
On the same token, it’s “This is an area where I’m not excelling.” But that’s the beauty of having partnerships that, your strengths cover each other’s weaknesses.
CR: I think I’ve like, people often say, this partnership is not marriage but it kind of is. They often say, you know, marriage is like a mirror and it just shows you like a lot about yourself. And, that mirror has shown me a lot about myself and areas to grow in.
And I think one of these things, just growing in communication, like what are our needs. What do we desire? What do we burden for? For me, too, it’s been finding a balance because I work in full time ministry, which, is a lot. I love it and it’s my mission, but then this is also a huge part of my mission. And I think finding the balance, because I’ve been out of the dance community for a long time and I’m not reintegrating it back into my life, what does that balance look like in light of the context of everything else.
A lot of this has clarified my mission and what things should I be working on.
SR: What do you hope “Captured” teaches?
CR: Again, just within the the themes. One of the biggest themes is that we want people to be able to live authentically without being inhibited by fear, or by the things that we’ve spoken over ourselves, or others have spoken to us. Just to know that freedom comes in, just, being who you are, being who you’ve been created to be and the fact that we’re created in the image of God, and as he created us he says, “That’s enough.” Like, “I created you, like, in perfection in the way that I designed you to be… I dwell, I relish in that. I delight in that.” God delights in who we are and we don’t have to be something else, be whatever, because of society. Because of the images we see. Because of expectations we set for ourselves or, like, what does it mean to be rooted in the depth of what love really looks like? Just to be free in that.