Madeline Katz, Fordham College at Lincoln Center ’22, is an assistant arts & culture editor for The Observer and is majoring in English. She is particularly enamored with all things lavender and holds a special place in her heart and stomach for taro boba. When not writing, she can be found skating around the city and exploring.
Lindsay Jorgensen on Revitalizing the Features Section and Poetry in Motion
The Fordham/Ailey B.F.A. alum reflects on how her time with The Observer expanded her view of the arts
March 19, 2021
Seated in front of a tapestry colored with a kaleidoscopic halo of earth-toned swirls, Lindsay Jorgensen, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’20, appears perfectly centered and grounded. Dancer, writer, former features editor: She knows how to maintain the perfect balancing act.
Jorgensen exudes the type of calm energy needed to navigate the busy schedule of a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer. In some ways, she has been preparing for this role for most of her life. Jorgensen trained in classical ballet from ages 4 to 19 before completing her dance training in the Fordham/Ailey B.F.A. dance program. While double-majoring in dance and English, Jorgensen made the leap to combine her passions and began writing for The Observer.
Her first article was on an art gallery exhibit at Fordham. “As a dancer, I didn’t know much about the visual arts, so it opened my mind to how to incorporate multiple art modalities and art outlets in my own work,” Jorgensen said. Much like dance, the art of the interview is a skill best learned through practice and repetition, ideally with friends.
Jorgensen made a lifelong friend in Morgan Steward, FCLC ’19 and former editor-in-chief, during her early days on the paper. “I met Morgan Steward, who was the arts editor at the time, and now she’s one of my closest friends,” Jorgensen said with a smile. “She was really great in making me feel really comfortable writing for the paper.” The two had weekly Zoom game nights with friends during the beginning of the pandemic, and Jorgensen even put Steward down as a personal reference on a recent application.
With Steward’s support, Jorgensen applied to be the assistant arts editor at the end of her first year. From there, Jorgensen found a more permanent home in the features section, eventually becoming a features editor alongside Jeffrey Umbrell, FCLC ’19. Revitalizing the section was a labor of love, one that Jorgensen approached with her trademark mix of focus and determination.
“When Jeff and I started with features, that was like the cast-aside, neglected child of The Observer. No one wanted to write for it. No one understood it, and we were like, ‘features is the best section,’” Jorgensen said. “We were so passionate about it. We were like, you can write about literally anything.”
This passionate, team-oriented mindset was vital in managing the long days of dance and academic classes — rehearsals sometimes lasting until 10 p.m. — and even longer production nights. Jorgensen found that part of the fun was just being in the same room as everyone, feeling the energy of choreographed chaos.
“Sometimes you draw inspiration from the people that you work with, and I think that works with dance and choreographing as much as it does with writing.” Lindsay Jorgensen, FCLC ’20 and former features editor
Like many artists, especially dancers, Jorgensen is exceptionally skilled in finding ways to fit everything into her schedule, pulling spare time out of thin air on more than one occasion. Such is the life of an artist and student; trying to find creative ways to unwind was a constant juggling act.
“Honestly, I treated (editing) as a self-care moment for myself, just as a time to get away from dance, because I do think that sometimes when you’re really passionate about something that you want to do professionally, it can be very taxing and burnout can happen really quickly,” Jorgensen said. “So finding things that feed you and fuel you in a way, that can be relaxing and rejuvenating, and for me that was always writing.”
Jorgensen’s poetry was featured in Buglisi’s January 2021 video performance of “The Invisible Embrace of Beauty.” In the recording, Jorgensen’s voice rises with a gentle clarity from the overlapping waves of those of her castmates before getting caught in the undercurrent of their words and rejoining the chorus so another voice could surface.
Jorgensen appreciates a collaborative effort. “Sometimes you draw inspiration from the people that you work with, and I think that works with dance and choreographing as much as it does with writing,” Jorgensen said. While choreographing, she sometimes has company dancers create a 10-gesture phrase and builds the piece from there. Other times, improvisation, a favorite song or a poem can inspire movement.
In December 2020, Jorgensen choreographed five pieces in the span of five rehearsals for “Stories of the Season,” a monthlong pop-up performance series in a collaboration between AXCBT and Bell Works. Some rehearsals did not even have a full cast. Channeling the fervor of her Ailey and Observer days, Jorgensen found that this challenge proved no match for her.
Approaching her work with an open heart and mind, she accepts that most things are a work in progress. “Sometimes you just have to go about your projects and not be too judgmental in the moment,” she said.
Jorgensen glows with the excitement of someone developing their artistic voice and radiates an eagerness for what lies ahead. The same qualities that made her an excellent editor — warm, intuitive, generous — now serve her well in her burgeoning dance career.