March 1, 2017
CREATING (a little more) WHILE CAREGIVING (a little less)
Jonathan leads today’s warm-up at an unusually brisk pace. He continues his verbal cues even when he steps away to attend to Eliza. Jonathan notes that this more structured approach feels appropriate for this stage of Second Story’s development.
Actually, we have to credit the kids with the dancers’ ability to fully concentrate and immerse themselves in their work today. Eliza engages with Sherri in imaginative play and attempts at conversation. Sebastian is particularly independent today as he explores a variety of toys and food. Lorena only needs to intervene when he sucks on strange objects and plays with plugs. Finally -- Lorena can do the warm-up exercises full-out!
The dancers work on a particularly intricate sequence that Jonathan both demonstrates and helps them refine through attention to qualitative details. The focus on technique is also evident in the across-the-floor segment. The kids are especially delighted by their parents’ grande jetés. (The dancers are too!).
The team “switches it up” today, starting the rehearsal segment with Lorena’s piece and finishing with Jonathan’s dance.
Lorena begins work on her piece close to the time the team agreed upon in today’s agenda. She listens intently to the music and creates in her head, while Mandy marks her solo section. Lorena then clarifies several elements: choreographic execution, the changing height of the body, and directions of movement through space.
Lorena and Mandy decide to change a phrase that was proving to be difficult to execute in a way that felt right. Their new choices still provide strong visual accents, but feel more organic. They then adjust another phrase to incorporate more syncopation, changes of direction, and strong, staccato movements. In addition, they work on whipping the body around with innovative arm and leg positioning. All of these nuances add great visual interest.
Mandy is now ready to mark her entire solo. We see great athleticism and motifs repeated with slight variations. Lorena is pleased that the segment flows so well and brings Mandy right up to the beginning of the next section.
Meanwhile, Jonathan is testing out choreographic ideas for the next part of his “Embers and Ash” work. He intermittently jumps in to distract Sebastian, thereby enabling Lorena to continue her work uninterrupted.
For the most part, Sebastian and Eliza use a variety of everyday objects in innovative ways. Ah, the wonders of childhood imagination. Those imaginations are particularly wonderful today since they allow the dancers to experience a high level of productivity. So what if Sebastian’s pushing a chair all over the studio sounds like a jackhammer?
Jonathan begins work on his piece right on time. He establishes his goal at the outset: to work on the transitions that will bring the 2 dancers together from their respective solos. Fortunately, Sherri whisks Eliza away to analyze dance photos and replicate the dancers’ movements; this allows Jonathan to immerse himself in his work.
Together with Mandy, Jonathan creates circular choreography with sweeping arm movements and specific hand gestures that echo an earlier motif.
He then clarifies Lorena’s choreography, encouraging her to “eat up time in the air” and play with height differences.
Back to Mandy: Jonathan changes her position in space and practices with her a series of turns with different arm movements, body twists, and rib shifts.
Lorena’s turn again: Jonathan describes the quality of movement he is seeking as dancing “within the music”…”with an ebb and flow”…coordinating direction changes with major music shifts -- but otherwise refraining from dancing exactly on the beat. Lorena concedes that she primarily choreographs and dances to pieces that have a distinct, regular rhythm. But she agrees with Jonathan that the Romantic-period music calls for a different style.
Finally, Jonathan brings Mandy and Lorena together through a phrase in which they essentially mirror one another’s movements and become entwined.
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