Chapter 17, in which Laura has some Big News

Chapter 17, in which Laura has some Big News

Sweet Inverti-fam, I’m thinking a lot about transitions, and I’d like to tell you about some that are coming up for Invertigo, and for me. Some of you have supported the company when it was just me and a wildly unlikely dream. Some of you are newer, having come in via a Kitchen Table Project or the Sol festival or a DTP class, and you are just as dear to me.

I’ve got a lot to say and a lot of news to share. Since it’s long, I made you an outline!

What are we covering in this blog?


1. Chapter 1: Invertigo’s new chapter

1. Re-imagining infrastructure

2. World-building – Embracing the inextricable intertwining of high-caliber art and community engagement

3. Artistic Leadership 

2. Chapter 2: Laura’s big personal news

1. What it does not mean for Invertigo

2. What it does mean for Invertigo


CHAPTER ONE: Invertigo’s New Chapter

Friends! It’s happening! I am about to embark on expanding Interior Design into a full-evening show. Another time, I’ll tell you all about why this piece means so much to me, all the history behind it.

For now, I’ll tell you that it is about transitions. Makes sense – the set design is essentially an ocean of moving boxes.


Photo Credit: George Simian


The only constant is change, and damn there’s been a lot of change in the past few years. Our cultural landscape is irrevocably marked by the pandemic, and it seems that every 5 minutes, a theater is laying off staff or slashing seasons, a dance residency is closing down, an arts organization is shuttering. And yet, storytelling and community-based creativity are more vital than ever. Artists are constantly finding ways to make art.


I believe the companies that will not only survive but THRIVE during these transitional times are the ones who

Respond proactively

Rooted in hope

Interweaving             radical change            with           strategic care.


It is easy to be reactive, coming from a place of fear. We are wired to be afraid of scarcity and change. But in those fear-based moments, we cannot lead, and we cannot thrive.

So we stepped back, took a breath, and got to work.

Invertigo is restructuring in some huge ways!


1a) How does Invertigo work?

(re-imagining infrastructure)


We’re re-imagining the role of a Board of Directors and there is so much more to say, but that is for a future blog post. For now, suffice to say it’s a re-alignment with our values that I am really really excited about.


• We are establishing a Giving Circle to build a vibrant constellation of friend- and fund-raising stars. Want to party with us? This is the place to be! (Email Cat Moses to get involved!)

• We are re-invigorating our Advisory Board and Dancing Through Parkinson’s Advisory Board. (Talk to Catalina Jackson-Urueña about it!)

• Massive thanks to Emily Wanserski for helping K. Bradford, the staff, the board, and me to radically re-imagine. Huge gratitude and EXCITEMENT for our new Executive Director Cat Moses for stewarding the transition, and to Alessia Zanobini, our new Operations & Communications Coordinator.


1b) What does Invertigo do?



Years ago, during a Strategic Planning process, I was asked, “Does Invertigo want to focus on making world-class performances or is Invertigo a hub for community engagement?” The implication was that we could pick one.

I remember feeling tight in my chest, the way I feel when something isn’t right. It’s a false binary. We do them both, and we do them well, and for me, one cannot exist without the other. What Invertigo does isn’t as simple as “make a nice dance show” or “do a community program.”

We build worlds.



We are formally leaning into and embracing the inextricable intertwining of high-caliber art and community engagement.

It will look different with every project, but the threads will always be there.

I giggled when I made this:



So… who will be building these worlds, Laura? I’m glad you asked! I will be building some of them. I still have a lot of ideas (so many ideas!) AND I have long wanted Invertigo to be even more expansive in the artists it supports and elevates. I’m endlessly inspired by the incredible artists in my community.

OK, so who will decide who else builds these worlds, Laura? Another great question, my friend! This brings me to…


1c) Artistic Leadership

The Artistic Leadership Circle will be the new collective model for curation and will steward the decision-making process of commissioning new artistic work for the company. The process has been scaffolded beautifully by K. Bradford, our Programs & Partnerships Director. There’s a lot more on this to come, my friends. Stay tuned for more blogs about this. Watch this space, it is a rich, vibrant one.

Why now?

Well, it’s been a long time brewing – since at least 2018! – but I think we got brave enough to do all this because a) everything in our world changed anyways, b) shifting to collective leadership and power-sharing is hard, important work, and c) I have some personal news!


CHAPTER TWO: Laura’s big personal news

My darling friends, my Inverti-fam. I am moving to Maine with my family. There. I said it. The Band-Aid has been ripped off.


Photo by Isak Ziegner, hay bales by Roberta Bailey.


It’s actually happening.

As long as the universe doesn’t laugh and smash all our plans to bits, in early summer of this year, my family and I will be moving to Maine.

This is obviously a huge shift for me personally, and for a dance company with a central founding Artistic Director, it’s pretty big too.


2a) What it does not mean for Invertigo

It does not mean Invertigo is over. Full stop.

No, not full stop. Shocking no one, I have more to say.


I think a lot about the number of times when I was pregnant in 2019 and in 2021 that people sidled up to Invertigo’s Executive Director and quietly asked if he was looking for a new job, or if Invertigo was closing. I think about the well-established presenter at a conference who gestured to my belly and said, “so, is the company gonna keep going in light of, y’know, this situation?”


Photo credit: GingerSole Photography, taken quite soon before my son was born in 2022.


(Spoiler alert, we did not close because of either of my maternity leaves.)

(Spoiler alert, we are not closing now.)


To be the founder of an organization means being a figurehead, almost inevitably, and yet I’ve never wanted to be The Only. It was not called the Laura Karlin Dance Company because I always wanted something bigger than myself. Founder’s Syndrome is real, and I’ve spent a large part of my career trying to subvert it or at least understand it well enough to avoid the pitfalls.

Part of this transition involves gradual shifts, overlapping leadership, continuity, and incredible amounts of care, from me and from all involved.

Invertigo has been my artistic home and identity for 17 years. It will continue to be a home, but we’re also remodeling, renovating, and re-designing. We’re making space for more people to find their home here, which is really what it’s all about.


Re-imagining the space. Photo Credit: George Simian


2b) What it does mean for Invertigo

Making a show with a lot of moving boxes in it makes more sense now, huh?


Photo Credit: Cheryl Mann


It means that Invertigo will be shifting to a shared curatorial structure, expanding the number of artists commissioned to make work, and doing good deep work.

It means we will continue to prioritize the art, the artists, and the community.

It means that Dancing Through Parkinson’s will continue to flourish.

It means that change is being embraced with curious hearts and strategic minds.

It means that Invertigo is increasingly positioned to be a vibrant part of the dance ecosystem and beyond.

I will continue to be one of the artists whose works are commissioned, who builds worlds and weaves connections and tells stories and holds space and lends irreverent, passionate energy to the Invertigo sphere.

I will be back in December for a SUPER COOL NOT-YET-ANNOUNCED PROJECT! And beyond that, for OTHER AMAZING PROJECTS IN THE FUTURE! (I’m getting ready to rack up those frequent flyer miles!)

I will be on the Artistic Leadership Circle, almost certainly as a non-voting member.

I will be cheering on our Executive Director Cat Moses and lending her whatever support she needs to steward Invertigo into this new chapter.

Because damn… it’s a really cool chapter, in an already incredible story.


Wrap It Up, Karlin


Foreshadowing, in a 2011 photoshoot.


I am trying to navigate this all with grace, and it’s not always easy. Change can spark fear just as easily as it can invite excitement and openness. So my honest answer to the “how are you feeling about all this” question I’ve been getting a lot recently is… I am excited, afraid, curious, uncertain, grateful, happy, sad, hopeful… Holding space for nuance is my job as a storyteller, so I’m doing a lot of that now. Take me out for a drink and we can talk about it. (Also, how are you, my friend? What’s going on with you?)

OK, this is a lot. If you’ve read this far… for real, let’s go get that drink.


Some call and response:

Want to connect with me? Schedule that drink? Learn more about coming to an open rehearsal for Interior Design? Drop a line here.

Feeling some kinda way about Invertigo right now? Want to talk to our Executive Director Cat Moses about supporting this transition or ask questions? She’s a click away!

Feeling inspired and want to donate? My friend, you are in luck, we have a link for that.

Truly, my Inverti-fam, we want to be in community with you right now. We’re here. This has always been centered on the people involved.


Celebrating it all – the past, the present, the future…

Photo by Gianna Szyrko

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