Throughout this season, we will be spotlighting past winners who have defied the limits. Defied the limits of lockdown, defied the limits of geography as well as shining a light on those producing award-winning work from diverse and minority communities.
First up, we spoke with Marathon Digital – a revolutionary social media company representing Broadway shows and other live entertainment clients in New York City and around the world, who converts fans to customers by cultivating communities and creating quality multimedia content across platforms.
Marathon Digital worked with the renowned team at The Juilliard School in NYC. Founded in 1905, The Juilliard School is a world leader in performing arts education. The school’s mission is to provide the highest caliber of artistic education for gifted musicians, dancers, and actors from around the world so that they may achieve their fullest potential as artists, leaders, and global citizens. Currently more than 800 artists from 44 states and 42 countries and regions are enrolled at Juilliard, where they appear in over 700 annual performances in the school’s five theaters; at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully and David Geffen halls and at Carnegie Hall; as well as other venues around New York City, the country, and the world.
We will be featuring their piece, Bolero Juilliard, in our upcoming digital screening series! This piece features a musical and choreographed performance of Bolero, entirely filmed and choreographed remotely.
How did your creative process change given all of the unexpected turns of 2020?
There were MANY things that changed with the unexpected year that 2020 has turned out to be. First, we typically work in the Broadway space but have expanded beyond that due to the need for all arts institutions to switch to an exclusively digital presence. It has allowed us to collaborate with new partners and has stretched us to do work that is outside of our typical day-to-day.
We also are a team that is extremely collaborative. In “normal life” we all work out of the same office, constantly discuss the creative process and rely on each other’s feedback to make our work the best it can be. This changed to more Slack and Zoom conversations, as meeting in person was not an option.
What’s the most important lesson you learned while needing to adapt to an unpredictable world environment?
In adapting to an unpredictable world environment, we’ve learned patience with ourselves and others. We had to shift to learn new skills and new ways to effectively communicate. At some times it can be frustrating, but shifting your mindset to give space for the fact that this is new to everyone, and allowing time for a learning curve was necessary. It is infinitely easier to read body language and be in the presence of others while creating, and right now that just isn’t possible.
What was the biggest hurdle you faced and what surprised you about creating during a lockdown?
Working in isolation, the biggest hurdle and surprise was how seductive tunnel vision is. With such an intricate piece like Bolero, it’s easy to lose yourself in your work and *poof!*,12 hours goes by in a flash. In a group setting, we help balance each other out.
How do you think the outcome of your work changed given the environment it was made in?
This work is totally unique to our usual fare because prior to the lockdown, Zoom videos weren’t a concept. It’s difficult to compare to prior works for that reason alone. That said, the influx of the output of Zoom videos challenged us to create a work that would stand out among the saturation of this style. The outcome of this piece was much more involved and intricate because it was important to communicate a deep sense of emotion. Putting aside the usual goals of promotion or entertainment, Bolero Juilliard had to communicate the school’s response to the lockdown and capture the breadth of their reactions– the work was a direct result of its environment.
What do your Telly wins mean to you?
Winning these Tellys means that even in this environment, we can muster up the resilience and creativity to make works that have social resonance. It’s an honor to be recognized but more so, to be part of a group who challenges themselves to contribute to culture, particularly during such challenging times.