May 31, 2017
GIDDY WITH DELIGHT!
Personnel news of the day: Lorena is away on vacation. Eliza was just spontaneously invited on a playdate, so Jonathan attends rehearsal sans children. Mandy brings her son Nate to rehearsal since his preschool is closed for a religious holiday.
Mandy sets up a little “station” for Nate to eat, color, and play with beads. He is initially content with the goodies mom brought from home, but soon discovers the attraction of dancing with the adults.
After a brief discussion of upcoming photo shoot details, Jonathan chooses slow R&B music for the warm-up he will lead. While Mandy and Jonathan execute their exercises with their customary style and impressive technique, the real star of the show is Nate. Imitating the dancers’ moves and poses, Nate treats us to snow angels, planks, crab walks, yoga positions, spread eagle poses, and lots of jumping. He repeatedly uses mom’s legs and inverted positions for tunnels and gleefully bumps into/jumps on Mandy. Nate is positively giddy with delight, Mandy shares in her son’s infectious laughter, and Sherri and Jonathan thoroughly enjoy his antics. Eventually, though, Mandy tries to set some limits so she can properly execute HER sequences of movement.
Nate then runs laps back and forth across the room. This pattern comes in handy when the dancers begin the across-the-floor segment of the warm-up. With Nate positioned between Jonathan and Mandy, the dancers incorporate increasingly challenging turns into the sequences each time they cross the studio floor.
Following the warm-up, the dancers take a quick break while Jonathan outlines his proposed agenda for the balance of the rehearsal. He would like to work on a new phrase for the duet and review the notes on this piece he shared with Mandy a couple of weeks ago. If time permits, he intends to work on his solo while Mandy practices her solo from Lorena’s dance.
While Nate is busy making a beaded rope to be later used as a wrecking ball, Jonathan fleshes out his general ideas for Mandy’s next phrase in the duet. We watch the emergence of head rolls, movements led by the torso, articulate hand gestures, off-balance turns, and weight shifts. After Mandy practices the new material, Jonathan identifies areas for tweaking, including greater leg extensions to the rear and a shift in an arm position.
After running the phrase to music, Jonathan continues to choreograph, incorporating big arm sweeps in different directions and lateral torso bends. The hand positioning on the face and head are reminiscent of similar motifs in earlier parts of the dance. Mandy and Jonathan engage in a pattern of working in which Jonathan demonstrates the movements, Mandy learns and practices them, then together they refine the details.
Mandy incorporates all of the notes so far in another run-through to music. Jonathan is pleased and eagerly develops more new material. Once again, he creates, tests out his ideas with Mandy, re-thinks certain elements, then makes adjustments.
Mandy intersperses practice with helping Nate attach his beaded rope to his pants to be used as a tail. At this point, Jonathan offers his iPad to Nate so he can watch Shaun the Sheep. This cartoon proves to be compelling enough to keep Nate occupied while Jonathan and Mandy finish their work.
Mandy runs all of today’s new material to the music. Jonathan then shares a few notes: he eliminates a particular gesture, suggests that Mandy swipe her hand across her face again, encourages her to “keep moving through your body,” and seeks a lighter, “up accent” to her movements. Encouraged by the way the phrase is taking shape, Jonathan squeezes in a few more counts of new choreography before concluding the session.
What a great experience: the rehearsal was both exceptionally productive and lots of fun!
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