Mentoring Samantha Mullen

“Building my first piece, Standing, was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It takes a certain level of confidence and knowing your self worth to be able to give your creative thoughts to an audience. Two things I thought I had – but didn’t.  It was my first professional piece with two dancers I admired and respected. Not as easy of a feat once started! Karen took on more of a mentor role than Artistic Director when I needed guidance. She exposed those two weaknesses and – at the exact same time – showed me how strong I am with both. Each time I was completely overwhelmed, couldn’t handle the process, she peeled away the layers of insecurity. Karen didn’t tell me which direction to go in, or what she wanted out of the piece, out of me. She let me find me. And in doing so, she showed me how to be a confident, creative choreographer. There were moments of tough love, but they led to some of the beauty of Standing. She pushed me to go far, far beyond the boundaries with all aspects of building a piece. Words cannot explain how proud I am of my first professionally choreographed piece, the dancers, and the work that went into it. I owe much more than thanks to Karen for working with me.” Samantha Mullen, Monkeyhouse