This first week has been so busy I have not even had time to write at all. I’ve also been getting over a cold and not doing nearly everything here I want to do. There is so much going on.
We had auditions on Sunday night and we were very easily able to select our cast since all the choreographers were mostly looking for different qualities. I am thrilled with the group I have, they are all very talented and wonderful people.
The set up here is ideal for creative work. We have afternoon access to studio spaces to work on our own or today we worked with a video artist to play with some technical elements we will incorporate into the piece. In the evenings we work with the students here who auditioned for the program.
We have daily dance classes available to us but can use our time in any way that serves our process. It is an ideal combination of enough structure to push us but enough freedom to allow us to each have our own process at our own pace. We got to watch and open rehearsal of Alexandra Beller’s latest work on Wednesday which was very inspiring.
The food is great and I am eating more vegetables than I usually ever do, and it is fun to chat with folks about what we are working on or catch up with my dancers Laura Murphy and Nordica Houlton who have joined me here to help build this piece.
All three choreographers are in a suite of three adjoined rooms with our dancers right across the hall or on an upper floor which makes post rehearsal video viewing in the lounge with a TV and DVD player ideal. I’ve been leaving DVDs for my dancers to check out during the day so it is just really nice on convenient to all be so near by. It is nice to see the other choreographers, Adele Meyers (from NYC) and Tennille Lambert (from NYC and LA) in passing most days just to hear how things are going.
Our first couple of days it was overwhelming. There were so many things about my piece I wanted to think about, getting acquainted with all 8 student dancers and how they move and how to create a piece suited to them. I think usually when you have a few days between rehearsal your mind has time to process all this kind of information over an extended period of time but my brain was trying to figure it all out in time for the next rehearsal each day so the first couple of nights I was awake processing my thoughts rather than sleeping and it was very hot as well. I got about 30 minutes of sleep from Sunday morning until Monday night! It turns out the other two choreographers were having a similar experience! Now we are getting in the groove of it a bit more and getting a break from the heat and a little more sleep.
Here are a couple of clips from our first few days of rehearsals:
Basically I showed them a vocabulary of movement that I developed through improvisation in the studio that utilized a sequential use of the torso. I also introduced the concept and demonstrated some movement keeping one body part still as a place hold while the rest of the body rotated around that axis. I gave them a piece of paper with some images and a spatial pattern and asked them to utilize this vocabulary and these ideas and add their own ideas into a short phrase.