Connecting Through Art
Lately I have been open about the trials and tribulations that have been going on inside my head for the last little while. I’ve explained the difficulties of transitioning out of competitive sport, and have talked extensively about my desires to find self love. These are all things that I’ve written and published, so imagine the amount of things my friends have heard in the last couple months and years. I am sorry to anyone who has been stuck in a Kaetlyn ramble. They are not nice places to be and they go on for hours.
That being said, my friends never showed an ounce of annoyance. They showed understanding and offered assistance. I am so lucky to have these people in my life, some new and some old, but their effect on my life has been outstanding. They are wonderful people with amazing talents, each different from each other, but equally talented in so many ways.
With the spring shows about to kick start, I wanted to feel a connection to the people that helped me every single time I step out on the ice. I’ve had so many emotions run through me recently, that I wanted to trust my creative team to put together pieces for me to express these thoughts. Who could I trust more than the people who have seen me at different points of my life and respected the stories I wanted to tell? I called out to my friends.
First up was Jeremy Abbott.
Jeremy and I met on numerous occasions, but only fully met when I wasn’t in a good place. I was scared, nervous, and very insecure about who I was and my abilities on the ice. I didn’t make things easy on him because I was being insanely stubborn, but he stuck by me. He made a few changes to my existing program to “Thursday” that I performed on Rock the Rink, and he became a beacon of hope that ensured I was going to be okay. His enthusiasm and understanding on where I am in my life right now, made it the perfect fit to jump on a new project with him.
After hours and days trying to choose the perfect song, we both agreed to “Lonely” by Noah Cyrus. It was one of our first choices, and it proved to be the most powerful song that connected to where I am in my life right now. A good talk, a few tears, and a desire to move the audience emotionally, we got on the ice to work.
Something I love about working with new people, is seeing how they function. I love watching brains work and discovering where the magic comes from. Jeremy is such a talented skater. I would get so distracted watching him work that I would forget what I was doing and just watch, never actually learning the steps. Eventually I learned what I was supposed to do and we got down into the detail.
One thing I learned about Jeremy is his attention to detail and how the body moves. We could spent an hour on just one arm move and he will continuously have a correction for me. As annoying as it was, I greatly appreciate his picky-ness. Jeremy created a program that allows me to tap into everything I’ve been feeling. All the pain, the loss, the confusion, and the strength I am finding in asking for help. This program touches my soul in more ways than one. I hope I can skate the way the program deserves and that anyone who watches can see the vulnerability within.
Next up on my list of talented friends was Kurt Browning.
I think the first time I was on show with Kurt I was sixteen years old, new to the senior scene, and completely naive. I loved being on the ice and no pain had ever reached me. I began touring with Kurt on Stars On Ice when I was eighteen, and I was so shy but he tried to make me feel welcomed. I have been many personalities around Kurt: competitive, innocent, excited, angry, sad, confused… no matter what I was feeling, it never seemed to phase him.
Years ago on a show, I showed him my hypermobile joints and bent my arm the wrong way in front of him. It freaked him out and he said I should do some sort of rag doll program. I loved the idea, but competitions got busy and we never made it work.
Fast forward to now, I wanted to do something completely different than anything I’ve ever done. I wanted to show a side of me that not many people got to know. I wanted people to see a darker side. A more twisted side. A comedic side. And I knew Kurt was the one with the answers.
We had creative meetings, coming up with ideas. I explained to him a lot about what has been going on in my life and how tired I was of feeling sad. I told him the anger, the frustration, and the desire to just put a smile on my face again. We talked about possibly bringing in another creative talent to help with the process, and immediately I knew who I wanted.
In walks Jessie Garon.
Jessie, Kurt, and I sat down for another creative meeting, and our excitement built when we finally settled on a decision. “It’s Oh So Quiet,” by Betty Hutton. I’m portraying the character of Harley Quinn because she is a total badass. Her character is an exaggerated picture of the emotions I wanted to show. Her innocence, quirkiness, and cuteness, mixed with a terrifying maniac side. Do not be on Harley’s bad side because she is heartbroken from the Joker and needs to let the emotions out!
This program is super challenging for me. So much detail. So much acting. So different from anything I’ve ever done. But it is so much fun! I can’t do this program without it putting a smile on my own face. It is a program that I am continuously looking around at people to see what their reactions are going to be. I can’t wait to perform this number. Once again, I hope I can do it justice.
Working with Jeremy, Kurt, and Jessie helped me in more ways than one. They kept me busy. Kept me working. Put my emotions to use and created something I can build from. They were there for me when I needed them most, and they understood some days I just wasn’t okay and the process might be a bit slower. They helped piece parts of me back together, filling in holes that were impossible for me to touch on my own. We all share a common vocabulary. We all speak in different ways, but we all perform. We all feel. We connected in a way so unique and powerful... we connected through the beauty of art.