June 14, 2017
Jonathan arrives distracted by numerous dynamics in his personal life.
Lorena arrives not knowing whether Sebastian will separate from her as he is not feeling well.
Mandy arrives a bit stressed by the addition of a new dog to her family.
Everyone REALLY needs to move. Fortunately, Sherri arrives with her teenage daughter Samantha, who is eager to play with the kids; we all keep our fingers crossed that Samantha can entertain the them long enough for their parents to get some quality creating time!
Looks promising…Samantha and the kids are alternately coloring together and chasing each other around the studio. Shrieks of delight drown out the music for the initial part of the warm-up segment. Nevertheless, with the children occupied, the dancers are really able to focus on their exercises.
Sebastian adds piano playing and hand-drumming to the mix of activities that keep him engaged while Samantha and Eliza leap across plastic circles dotting the floor.
So far, so good. Jonathan is now able to teach increasingly complicated across-the-floor sequences to Mandy and Lorena. Exhilarated, the dancers exclaim, “it really feels like we’re dancing!”
Lorena makes a couple of quick detours to diaper and feed Sebastian, then returns to the warm-up. Sherri uses a drawing game to distract Eliza from crying and joins Sebastian hauling stacks of plastic spheres up and down shelves.
The dancers decide to continue work on Jonathan’s duet. But not before Jonathan mediates a kiddie conflict and takes a soothing walk with his crying daughter. The kids are expending so much energy in their play, there’s not much left over to tolerate any frustration. Forget staying one step ahead of the children’s emotional swings; we’re just trying to keep up with them!
Good news: Samantha and the kids are now exploring the hallways of the building, so the dancers can concentrate on refining and adding on to the complex phrase they started to build last week. Jonathan, Mandy, and Lorena work closely together; fleshing out the details of this phrase requires continual physical and verbal communication. With Lorena and Mandy completely entwined, they literally experiment together step by step.
Following a review of last week’s video of this segment, Jonathan demonstrates the desired timing of every beat of the phrase. Mandy and Lorena painstakingly practice one movement, one gesture at a time. They try to determine how to maintain their balance while entwined…establish which dancer initiates the duo’s movement…figure out the order of the intricate leg and arm movements…understand the intricacies of weight shifts taking them from pose to pose.
Jonathan intermittently takes Lorena’s place to help figure out how to execute the challenging positions – and determine what is actually physically possible! Adjustments are made and practiced. In fact, determining the location of Lorena’s hand on Mandy’s chest in one particular pose proves to be especially difficult.
The trio review the video once again to generate ideas for finishing the phrase. The dancers test out these concepts, always focusing on the qualitative details. They work to figure out the relationship of the two bodies: actual placement of body parts, how tight to hold one another, what body parts are connected at any given moment, and how to maintain their balance while moving backwards as a unit.
Over and over, Jonathan describes what he would like to see, Mandy and Lorena work on the execution of his vision, and Jonathan takes Lorena’s place to work out the trickiest parts with his own body. This is difficult, exacting work; nevertheless, Lorena and Mandy laugh right through all of the stumbles and falls along the way. This is where the team’s camaraderie, trust, and tolerance of process come into play – true collaboration in action!
Jonathan notes that the dancers “need to let it settle – but we’ll get it.” He is confident that Lorena and Mandy will find their coordination together and is pleased to see that the dancers are already exhibiting good musicality.
After this intense period of challenging and productive work, the dancers are ready to call it a day. After an intense period of high-energy play, Samantha and the kids are ready to call it a day. What a treat it is to work and play with friends!
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