January 18, 2017
ATTACKING THE WORK WITH RENEWED VIGOR
Group members arrive at rehearsal today still on a high from Jonathan and Lorena’s captivating solo performances at Monday’s MLK showcase. Everyone enjoys verbally replaying the show’s highlights. Before long, though, the dancers shift the discussion to their latest child care challenges. It becomes apparent that while the details differ, the general dynamics are familiar to everyone in the room!
Case in point: Lauren arrives exhausted as a result of Parker’s recent sleep difficulties. She barely has the energy to move, much less dance. However, she pushes herself to continue choreographing her number for the Pace show.
Mandy volunteers to lead a Pilates-style warm- up. Eliza and Sebastian capitalize on their parents’ prone positions to dive and wriggle around on their tummies. Parker is not about to miss out on the fun while her mom is choreographing, so she plays musical tummies with Lorena, Mandy, and Jonathan.
Jonathan follows the Pilates exercises with a ballet warm-up. Once the dancers begin the across-the-floor segment, the kids decide that movement with their parents trumps playing with each other. So, Jonathan and Lorena figure out how to execute the combinations with Eliza and Sebastian in their arms.
After feeding time for both parents and children, the dancers work on Jonathan’s piece. Mandy and Jonathan look at the video of the latest version of the opening poses; this segment features intricate, emotionally compelling gestures. Jonathan then demonstrates for Lorena how he wants her to partner Mandy. He explains that he wants to make Lorena’s movements more “pedestrian” as a contrast to Mandy’s dramatic choreography.
Since Sebastian is unhappy that he is not the center of mom’s attention, Jonathan holds and moves around the floor with him. The rocking motion soothes Sebastian, freeing up Lorena to work with Mandy. Each time they run through the piece, Jonathan makes gestural adjustments, draws out certain movements, and alternates slow/suspended positions with faster movements. The dancers work on qualitative details of timing and partnering. Jonathan’s movement vocabulary – particularly the hand and arm gestures – is complex and captivating, infused with dark emotional power.
Moving on to the next phrase, Lorena and Mandy each has different choreography – as if they are presenting 2 simultaneous solos. Jonathan works with Lorena to determine and refine her movements while Mandy practices this segment with the latest video. Her hand and arm gestures are quite complicated. Sherri notes that Mandy’s body parts appear to be communicating with one another as well as with the audience. Jonathan continually clarifies choreographic details for both dancers. With Eliza and Sebastian now engaged in parallel play, the dancers get a lot accomplished in this section.
As the choreography for Lorena and Mandy unfolds, we clearly see a contrast of styles; Lorena’s movements are lyrical and expansive while Mandy’s are staccato and constricted. Jonathan describes his vision for this section of the dance: Mandy’s character is going through a difficult time as Lorena’s character, serving as a witness and angel figure, communicates her support. However, Jonathan holds out the possibility that he may make a 180 degree turn and make Lorena’s character a malevolent force. Stay tuned!
With Sebastian falling asleep on Jonathan and Eliza drawing with Sherri, the dancers are able to review the next phrase of the piece. Jonathan dances Lorena’s role to better enable him to work out partnering details of support, connection and movement. As he tests out various possibilities, Lorena offers her opinion on his choices. Together with Mandy, they experiment and make adjustments in keeping with Jonathan’s dramatic intention. This is true collaboration in action! Jonathan is pleased with their progress.
Lorena then spends a few minutes working on her piece, evaluating Mandy’s solo section as Mandy marks the steps. Lorena clarifies the rhythm and notes the details she would like to refine next week. Her choreography for Mandy is very athletic, yet retains a fluidity throughout the segment.
Inspired by performing in the showcase 2 days ago, Jonathan and Lorena can’t wait to delve deeper into their work. Second Story Dance Project is off and running!
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