July 19, 2017
A LITTLE BALLROOM, A LITTLE MODERN, A LITTLE PLANNING
Upon arriving at the Hawthorne studio, Lorena and Jonathan discover that they will be sharing the space with a ballroom dance couple conducting a private lesson. Luckily, the large space easily accommodates all the dancers -- and it’s a real treat to watch the couple’s precise technique!
Now it’s Mandy’s turn to be out sick…so Jonathan and Lorena discuss how best to utilize today’s rehearsal time. Fortunately, Sherri’s daughter Samantha joins the group to entertain Eliza and Sebastian, so there’s a chance to get some concentrated warm-up and work time.
Well, at least intermittently. Eliza and Sebastian alternate between joining their parents – in their arms, of course – for the ballet barre warm-up, and playing with Samantha…going up and down the stairs, shrieking with glee while looking at their reflections in the mirrors, and rolling and spinning around on the floor. Who needs fancy toys here?
At the conclusion of the ballet barre, Lorena and Jonathan take a break to eat and talk. They consider potential performance opportunities (including a possible showcase in December) and determine how best to structure rehearsals given Jonathan’s time constraints (he must leave early to pick up Edgar from camp -- and, during the school year, both kids from preschool). Jonathan proposes that, moving forward, the first hour of rehearsal be dedicated to warm-up; Jonathan will continue to choreograph his duet for Lorena and Mandy during the second hour; Lorena and Mandy will work on Lorena’s original compositions during the final hour. Jonathan envisions the dancers working toward the goal of performing finished pieces.
Lorena candidly expresses her frustration with the limited amount of time the dancers have to develop new work. She has a fairly clear vision of the multi-part piece she would like to create – expanding upon the solo she has already composed for Mandy – but fears that she will not have enough time to present a finished work in December.
Both Jonathan and Lorena confess that their level of motivation has decreased somewhat over the summer, but, just like they did as professional company dancers taking class, they sometimes push themselves to attend rehearsal.
Lorena also describes a tricky conundrum: if she prepares material for rehearsal and isn’t able to work on it, she feels frustration and disappointment. Yet, if she doesn’t prepare and DOES have the opportunity to create, she has to use up a sizeable portion of time to enter into her process -- listening repeatedly to the music, feeling it in her body, then developing the choreography.
Jonathan and Lorena both acknowledge how hard it is to carve out time to create while they are away from the studio. However, Jonathan describes his satisfaction in listening to his music and reviewing videos of the most recent choreographic developments -- thus sparking ideas he may pursue down the line. This experience helps ease the frustration of limited time in the studio.
Meanwhile, Eliza and Sebastian periodically touch base with their parents, then return to running and rolling with Samantha.
Jonathan encourages Lorena to take the time to listen to the music she is using for her duet to see if she would like to work on the next phrase in the piece. Sure enough, Lorena is inspired and begins to compose a new phrase, using Jonathan as a stand-in for Mandy. She steps back a few times to watch Jonathan execute the new moves; this enables her to contemplate adjustments including a strategic twist of the torso and shift in the angle of a bent arm. The new choreography features weight shifts in different directions and suspended movements. Lorena is pleased with the new material which she envisions as the next phrase in her duet. She then realizes that the music in her head today was exactly the same as the section of music she used to choreograph a phrase with Mandy during their last session together!
Then inspiration strikes: create a section using both sets of material simultaneously; each person will dance to the same music using different choreography, side-by-side. Lorena tests out this idea with Jonathan; both dancers agree that the new phrase looks great!
Jonathan leaves with Eliza to pick up Edgar from camp while Lorena and Sherri make sure everything is back in place in the studio. We did a little of everything today: watch some ballroom dancing, create a new phrase for Lorena’s duet, and strategize about the future of our collective. All in a good day’s work!
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