A Day In The Life Of An Artist: Marlana Doyle

The dancer-choreographer-Artistic Director describes a day filled with traffic, rehearsals, multi-tasking, two very cute girls … and cheese.

What do artists do in their free time? What inspires them in their everyday life? How do they start their day, tackle their creative processes, balance work-life, and then unwind – all within 24 hours?

In this series, "A Day in the Life of an Artist," we'll invite artists to answer those questions by pulling back the curtain on one day in their lives.

Dancer, choreographer and arts leader, Marlana Doyle is Artistic Director of the METdance Company. She also directs the MET too Youth Company, teaches regularly at the dance center and has been performing with METdance for the past 15 years.

This week, Marlana Doyle is preparing METdance for its season-opening show and more. Here is how she spent October 3, 2017:



Alarm goes off and I hit snooze (such a bad habit). Second alarm goes off at 6am, and I know it is going to be a busy day. Jump out of bed and into the shower.



Let Petey out, my 16-year-old aging Jack Russell Terrier, who is slow-moving and desperate to go out. Feed the dog and prepare my breakfast for myself.



Check emails while I eat my cereal with almond milk. I also love yogurt and fruit for breakfast, and try never to skip breakfast. For a dancer, it is good to get some type of protein and carbohydrate to keep you fueled for the day until lunch.



Get my two daughters up to go to school. Olivia, 4, and Evie, 1, love to sleep until 8am usually. (I am a lucky mom in that my kids are great sleepers.) But I have to get to the studio early today, so they have to get moving. Get them dressed and into the car. Even though sleepy and a bit confused, they cooperate.



Drop off the girls at their Montessori school, give them a kiss and jump into the car with my husband Ben to get to the studio. He is a photographer and videographer, and has his own production company, Runaway Productions. He has a shoot at METdance studios with Da Camera's Young Artists today and so we are carpooling to get in the HOV. But of course there is traffic. Gotta love Houston in the AM!



Arrive at the MET a little late, but start unloading the car for the shoot. I like to help Ben set up for his shoot.



Ben takes his first picture, and I head into Studio A to start preparing for rehearsal. I am choreographing a four-minute piece for a national Nurses Conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center next week. Extra events and performances come up outside our season schedule frequently. I am constantly asked to create opening numbers and themed performances that fit into these type of events. We have done a lot of local events, like being the opening number in the Thanksgiving Parade as well as big events like this nurses conference. They are wanting METdance as well as nine other dancers for an opening number with live accompaniment by Kinetic Ensemble. I listen and prepare for the 21 dancers I will see later.



Sit down and prepare to take class with the company. I always take about an additional 30 minutes to warm up, but today time is tight and I do what I can before we start. Warm up for a dance class varies by the teacher. For this class and because I am older, I have to take additional time to massage, roll out and get my body prepared to take warm up. Contemporary class is a variety of stretching and strengthening.



After a great class, I run the company in preparation for our Season KickOff! at Discovery Green this Saturday, October 7 at 8pm. We run the piece, and I take notes to tell them later. In the photo, we are running through Camille A. Brown’s work, “New Second Line.” In rehearsal, I look for clarity, togetherness and commitment. And if something seems odd, I let them know.



I have about ten minutes to eat a quick lunch. Turkey and cheese roll-up (cheese is my weakness), cashews and a kombucha.



Running the piece with METdance and nine other Houston dancers in preparation for the Nurses Conference at the GRB next week. It is one of our last rehearsals, and I give notes to the dancers.



Take a selfie with the company after another great rehearsal with them on our New Educational Show, Moving Myths, that I am choreographing. It is like one long 45 minute piece. The dancers are doing great, and I am looking forward to the end result and seeing the premiere on October 25th at Miller Outdoor Theatre! We will do it in schools, but we have two scheduled performances at the Miller in October and November.



After a few errands and emails, I head to pick up my girls … it is my favorite time of the day! We head home, and I get right to work on getting dinner ready while the girls, make a mess, I mean play. We eat, and I give the girls a bath and get them ready for bed.



My little one was not feeling well from a doctor’s appointment on Monday, so I get her to bed while my oldest takes pictures of herself. Gotta love a 4-year-old!



Just leaving Target to return and find new costumes for the MET too Youth Company performance this weekend.



Relaxing after making lunches for tomorrow and cleaning up. Ben and I watch TV and, of course, I work some more. Usually it is getting caught up on emails and preparing for the next day for rehearsal. So many hats I wear and always so much to do.



Time to turn out the lights and get some rest to do it all over again tomorrow!


METdance opens its 22nd season with Season Kickoff! on Saturday, October 7, at 8pm at Discovery Green. The free performance includes works by Joshua L. Peugh, Camille A. Brown and 2017 Emerging Choreographer Hattie Haggard, as well as a guest appearance by MET too Youth Company. There will also be a site-specific work in Arcade by Color Condition, constructed by Dominic Walsh, at 7:30pm.


Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

More Information