December 21, 2016
WHEN THE MICE WILL PLAY, THE CATS CAN GET SOME WORK DONE
It’s a bit of a scramble this morning…Lorena is away on vacation, Jonathan is running late due to banking tasks, Sherri is running late, cramming too many things in at once (as usual), and Mandy’s participation in holiday festivities at her son’s school sets her back an hour.
Guess Lauren picked the wrong day to be EARLY.
Sherri and Jonathan arrive next, but before they begin, Jonathan agrees to a quick book reading session with Eliza. Afterwards, as he transitions into a variety of stretches, Eliza uses him as, alternately, a tunnel, a bed, a cradle and a pet dog.
Once Mandy arrives, Jonathan leads a proper “seasonal warm-up” to funky Sharon Jones holiday music. He is becoming increasingly creative in the ways he manages to execute movement while holding Eliza; he always has a new trick up his sleeve.
Parker runs back and forth between mom and her toys. When she sees that Eliza is having fun being held, she wants in on the action and seeks out her mother’s arms.
Freestyle fun is irresistible to all when Sharon Jones’ renditions of the holiday classics have a particularly strong R&B groove.
Lauren and Sherri offer Eliza distractions in an attempt to free up her dad, but, alas, the separations are only temporary.
Because the across-the-floor movements at the end of the warm-up make the grown-up dancers literal moving targets, it is a bit easier to evade clinging children.
Lauren uses her last few minutes today to work on her piece for Pace’s spring show. She envisioned a particular section while commuting to work earlier in the week and tests out these ideas in the studio today. She completes another four “8’s” of material.
Jonathan and Mandy now work on a new gesture phrase that will be incorporated into Jonathan’s duet for Mandy and Lorena. Jonathan creates and demonstrates the new material, then performs it alongside Mandy as she learns it. This choreography features specific hand gestures that require precise articulation and placement. Labeled “the anxiety section,” Jonathan’s choreography exudes dark, dramatic emotions. Jonathan is pleased with Mandy’s first attempts to replicate the movements. After observing her run through the new section a couple of times, Jonathan makes subtle adjustments, offering Mandy images to help her convey the nuances of expression he is seeking. The specific placement of fingers and hands on different parts of the face and head communicate particularly powerful internal experiences.
Jonathan feels great about the focus and productivity of this work with Mandy. It is no coincidence that Eliza is finally engaged in drawing and imaginative play with Parker, then Sherri. Yes, we cleverly figure out ways to combine creating and caregiving in the studio – but here’s the dirty little secret – it’s really hard! So, when one group member manages to distract the kids, the others gratefully delve into the process with far greater concentration and explore ideas in much greater depth.
The dynamics of the room continue to hold, so Jonathan and Mandy then work on changes to the opening poses of the dance. Jonathan explains the overall concepts he wants to communicate and adjusts/clarifies movements to better convey these ideas.
Mandy then watches a video of the next phrase in the dance to help her recall the sequence of steps. As she dances this section, Jonathan offer notes on details such as weight shifts, dynamics, and stylistic elements.
Both Mandy and Jonathan thoroughly enjoy the process – especially their progress! Sometimes you just get lucky and everything falls into place!
Sherri Muroff Kalt, founder of Process Portraits, LLC and author of Portrait of an Artistic Journey: The Creative Process in Real Life Context, is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of Duke University with a B.A. in psychology. She began her career in marketing and sales in New York City with L’Oréal, Monet Jewelers, and Givenchy. READ MORE