TACOMA — Meagan Grandall, one half of the pop duo Lemolo, said she loves thinking “out of the box” when it comes to performing. But when she was approached by a dance company that wanted to choreograph a show to Lemolo’s album, “The Kaleidoscope,” it still surprised her.
“As soon as I heard of [their idea], I got excited about it,” Grandall said. “It felt like a huge honor to realize that our music was an inspiration to other artists.”
Grandall and bandmate Kendra Cox, both graduates of North Kitsap High School, will perform their debut album live July 6 in Tacoma, while the dancers of The Barefoot Collective and the MLKBallet perform The Kaleidoscope Dance.
The custom-choreographed dance was put together by the directors of the Barefoot Collective and MLKBallet, dance organizations in Tacoma.
Jessie Anne Fouts, co-director of the Barefoot Collective, went to Lemolo’s CD release party and concert at the Columbia City Theatre in June 2012. She was with a friend who worked for The Warehouse, a production company in Tacoma, and said to her friend she “totally wants to choreography to this album.”
“It sounded really fun and it would be beautiful,” Fouts said. She and The Warehouse, later pulling in MKLBallet, told Lemolo of their idea, and everyone tried to sort out when this dance could happen.
About six months ago, July was selected as the time, and both sets of artists got to work.
Grandall said it’s a “challenge in itself” to recreate their studio album exactly as recorded for the dancers. Lemolo enlisted the help of some backup vocalists to help recreate the sound. Their first rehearsal all together will happen the week before the show, but Grandall has been to a few of the dancers’ rehearsals.
“I was genuinely blown away by what they were doing,” she said. “It almost brought me to tears, it was so beautiful.
“It fit in really perfectly with the music.”
Fouts said she’s never choreographed an entire music album, and Lemolo presented a special challenge.
“Lemolo are two very talented musicians, which can be an issue for [dancers] … they’re really hard to count to,” Fouts said with a laugh. The background is one thing, the vocals are syncopated, on different timing. It’s amazing. Definitely challenging but really exciting.”
Each song was choreographed by a different dancer, but will be a modern, contemporary style, Fouts said.
“We each put own stories behind each song as well as Meagan sending out emails and telling us the writing process for each song, what each meant to her,” Fouts said. “The heart behind each piece is coming from a lot of different perspectives.”
“My process is getting in and experimenting with movement to the music,” Fouts said. “I put so much emphasis on the show and [my] excitement, when I got into studio to work on it, it was all ideas and no starting point. To be able to narrow it down, it [took] conversation.”
Fouts and Grandall both said they were excited for the show because it taught them about a new art form.
“I think it was just the energy behind their show was really cool,” Fouts said of why Lemolo inspired her. “It’s almost trance-like and kind of meditative. [The music] allowed for there to be an aspect of space … I could really see myself being able to engage in the performance with them and have it flow.”
Almost exactly one year after Lemolo’s debut party, “The Kaleidoscope Dance” will enthrall the audience in a visual way of enjoying Lemolo’s songs. Grandall said it’s a good way to celebrate the one-year anniversary.
“Marrying the dream-pop duo of Lemolo with the wide range of artistic skills of MLKBallet and The Barefoot Collective was a no-brainer for us,” said Doug Stoeckicht, marketing director of The Warehouse Tacoma. For the past three years, The Warehouse has created pop-up events in unique locations, collaborating with different artists and organizations.
“The Kaleidoscope Dance” is an all-ages show at Urban Grace Church in Tacoma. It will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $5-22, with a VIP ticket and student and child discounts. Tickets and information are available at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/377737.
In the last year, Lemolo has toured, performed at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, and voted No. 1 Best New Music in Seattle by City Arts Magazine.
“It’s been very exciting, I feel like the way things are going for the band have been really perfect,” Grandall said. “The successes that have happened have happened in way [that] we’ve been able to handle everything and appreciate [it].”
Grandall’s next goal is to get back to songwriting, and use these experiences in the last year to inspire new songs.
“I feel like once the show happens, I’ll be ready to move forward with the new music,” she said.
“The most fun part about doing this is the songwriting process. I love playing shows, but it’s not my biggest passion. It’s definitely songwriting, to be able to have some time after each show to just do that. It’s fun for me.”