Current Obsessions: Andrea Schermoly
What better way to get to know Today’s Woman than through her Current Obsessions? This month we meet a world-traveling freelance choreographer who is on a quest for the perfect sunscreen, is a Spotify aficionado, and makes sure to visit galleries and museums in whatever city she finds herself.
Andrea Schermoly is the resident choreographer with the Louisville Ballet. She comes to our fair city via her original home in South Africa with stops along the way in London, New York, Kansas City, Grand Rapids, and Los Angeles. She is a former dancer with Boston Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater. Now, as a freelance choreographer, she is commissioned by ballet companies and spends three to five weeks with the company’s dancers. She has also choreographed for a number of feature films, commercials, and music videos.
Her Current Obsessions:
Although I love my work, obsessing about it can be unproductive. I think in dance. Ideas come to me in waves and in dreams. I don’t know how to turn it off. I obsess over attaining the perfect moment right from the beginning. But, dance is more of a sentence of movement that I can always edit afterwards. But if I edit every word I will eliminate or stifle the creative flow. I’m trying to create a product but also to have an interaction with the dancers. I’m always thinking about what’s coming up. I will sometimes be inspired by a piece of music or maybe a theme will come first — the moon or a Native American tale.
Listening to music
More work obsession. I am constantly listening to music on Spotify to source for dance. I listen to classical music, current composers, and popular music. I often find myself going down the rabbit hole on Spotify. I archive pieces I like. To start with, I might pick 10 pieces, but because emotions play such a part in the attraction, I’ll come back a day or two later and decide on seven of those, and then maybe pick three or four of them that really stick. Then I’ll listen to everything by that composer or performer. I am especially drawn to the passionate Italian composers like Vivaldi, along with Patti Smith, Mozart, and folk musician and songwriter Michael Kiwanuka.
I spend a lot of time researching sunscreens that contain zinc. I’m allergic to titanium dioxide, an ingredient found in most sunscreens — it causes my face to swell. I am usually testing two to three at a time. Right now I am testing Elta MD and MyChelle.
I love any kind of hat, especially wide-brim safari hats and cowboy hats. I’m always on the lookout for a good Stetson or fedora. I travel a lot, and unfortunately I lose them all the time. I’ll leave them on the back of the bathroom stall doors or in hotel rooms. I just lost my favorite dark green wool hat. It was one of those men’s jazz hats from the 50s. Right now, in the trunk of my car I probably have 10. I’m not a clothes buyer — you will see me most days in jeans and T shirt — but I love hats.
The subject of psychology interests me. Right now I am listening over and over to podcasts by Esther Perel. She is a psychotherapist and author who focuses on relationships. She is marvelous in mapping out and unraveling the human condition. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the people around me from listening to her. No matter what the situation she is talking about, I can identify with the struggle. Her earlier podcasts are archived and I binge listen to them.
I look at art online, and when I am working in a city I make a point to visit its galleries and museums. I recently attended the David Hockney show at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). I have visited the Speed Art Museum here in Louisville and many of the galleries on Market Street. A few of my favorite artists are Mark Rothko, David Hockney, and Nelson Makamo, who is South African.
These are more of a necessity because I choreograph in them. I had to stop performing due to a career-ending injury on my ankle nine years ago, but I demonstrate for the dancers and these boots feel really good. They offer stability and padding. I’ve had this pair of boots for six years. They were a gift, and when I put them on I didn’t realize how nice it would make my feet feel. I might be in rehearsal for a piece six hours or more a day. My feet hurt so much!