May 24, 2017
GOING WITH THE FLOW
Mandy is attending an event at her son’s school, so she is unable to come to rehearsal today. Therefore, Jonathan and Lorena have the entire session to work on their respective solos. Well, not exactly. Once again, we are reminded that the amount of work accomplished on any given day is largely determined by the physical and emotional needs of the kids. Since those needs change moment-to-moment and often emerge in unpredictable ways, the dancers have no choice but to “go with the flow.” Lorena captures the rehearsal dynamic perfectly, repeating, “Break. Stop. Back.” every time she changes gears. Switching intellectual, creative, physical, and emotional gears on a dime requires great flexibility, multi-tasking ability, managing a lot of stimulation, and tolerating continual change and uncertainty. The Second Story dancers have these skills in spades, well-developed over the past year. Even so, some days are just easier than others.
Jonathan and Lorena warm up to a series of funky tunes while the kids get creative with various plastic objects and gleefully zoom back and forth across the room. Sherri tries to maintain the momentum by engaging Eliza and Sebastian in imaginative play. Before long, though, the children gravitate toward their parents. Sebastian imitates Lorena stretching at the barre, then insists upon taking up residence in her arms. Jonathan continues warming up, but soon modifies his movements to include holding Eliza.
Despite Lorena’s best attempts to redirect Sebastian’s attention to certain toys and activities, Sebastian is determined to remain by her side. Lorena acknowledges that her initial inclination is to “fight” this reality in an attempt to keep working. But she has come to realize that her efforts to get Sebastian to play independently are often futile. In fact, they may even ratchet up his level of distress. Rather, if she hangs out with her son and allows HIM to choose when to separate, everything tends to be much smoother. In this way, Sebastian ventures out on his own when HE is ready; only then can Lorena return to work for an extended period of time.
This is exactly what happens today. After monopolizing his mother’s company and attention for a while, Sebastian feels comfortable investigating other forms of entertainment. Lorena takes advantage of Sebastian’s absorption in new activities to work on adding choreography to her solo. Simultaneously, Jonathan creates a new set of phrases that may replace an existing segment of his solo. He puts on his music to test out his new choreographic ideas. Sherri notes that the new movements powerfully convey his character’s agitation and distress; it appears as if he is literally trying to escape his own skin.
Lorena’s focus becomes fragmented as she intervenes in the kids’ sharing disputes and holds an icepack on Sebastian’s nose after a fall. Sebastian’s initial upset eventually turns to great interest in the icepack. This preoccupation buys Lorena time to continue creating her solo – about 60 seconds worth. Alas, it’s time for a diaper change and an early lunch.
Content after eating his pasta, Sebastian converts his bowl and fork into a versatile toy. Lorena capitalizes on this opportunity to return to her solo. She creates new material as she listens to her music on her head phones.
Lorena and Jonathan temporarily switch gears again to use their kids’ tussle over a tambourine as a teaching moment about taking turns. Lorena actually joins the kids to model this behavior.
Jonathan, Lorena and Sherri all acknowledge Eliza’s progression to a new stage of development in which she is more comfortable separating from her dad. She demonstrates her new independence today as she only occasionally checks in with Jonathan. Good news: Jonathan is able to concentrate on refinements of his choreography in Part 2 of his solo, reconsidering certain creative choices and reimagining material. After Sherri films these changes, Jonathan reviews the video to be sure the choreography he sees in his mind matches the execution as seen on the video.
Suddenly, Eliza clearly indicates to Jonathan that she does NOT want him to do another run-through; it’s bonding time.
Meanwhile, Lorena manages to squeeze in another few minutes of work, adding on to her solo where she left off. In a burst of creativity, she choreographs 8 counts of new material (16, if you consider the rapid tempo of the music!). Reviewing the video Sherri takes of the new phrase, Lorena expresses satisfaction with her changes and new ideas. She also identifies a couple of creative choices she would like to adjust next week.
Jonathan and Lorena conclude the session with another teachable moment around hitting. Lorena summarizes today’s rehearsal dynamics as “off, on, off, on.” The dancers understand that this is part of the deal – but concede that it is really hard to do. So even though the demands of the day have been particularly stressful, Jonathan reminds Lorena that she still eked out those 8 counts! “And that’s a winning day!”
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