July 26, 2017
LOW ON FUEL, HIGH ON ADRENALINE
Let’s start with the Illness Inventory.
Jonathan has been sick with the stomach bug, but dragged himself to rehearsal today. Mandy came to rehearsal still under the weather from upper respiratory problems. Eliza and Sebastian are finally feeling better today after days of illness. So, we’re a bit low on fuel, to say the least.
Somehow, though, everyone is energized.
Although he intended to do some light warm-up exercises and take it easy, Jonathan is warming up with impressive gusto. The kids are running all over the studio, dodging a remote-control car and flinging plastic spheres to the farthest corners of the room. Mandy jumps right in to warm-up, and later, attacks challenging material as if she’s 100%.
Samantha joins us again today to help with the kids. Eliza and Sebastian cycle in and out of irritable moods during which only mommy or daddy will do. Fortunately, they follow Samantha like a pied piper during enough of the rehearsal to allow their parents to work productively.
At one point during the warm-up, Samantha takes the kids exploring through the hallways, leaving Jonathan to exclaim, “wow, no distractions! Uh oh, no excuses!”
The complicated footwork of the fluid across-the-floor segment shows that no one is slacking off! In fact, we see the dancers execute strenuous moves – including rolling on the floor—during the freestyle portion of the warm-up.
Prior to working on Jonathan’s piece, Lorena takes some time to bond with Sebastian, who insists on burrowing into mom’s lap. Jonathan tries to comfort a fussy Eliza, then breaks out the “Shaun the Sheep” video. Bingo – Eliza is transfixed.
Time to dive in to Jonathan’s duet. Mandy first reviews a video of the choreography she learned in Lorena’s absence during a previous rehearsal. After practicing a couple of times, she teaches the phrase to Lorena. Although Lorena picks up the steps quickly, both dancers work closely with Jonathan, clarifying the timing of the choreography. Jonathan verbalizes the counts and physically demonstrates the execution of the movements. As he dances the material, he adjusts arm and hand placement around the head; these gestures are reminiscent of motifs he has used in the earlier parts of the piece.
Moving on to the next phrase of the duet, Jonathan breaks down the choreography to help Lorena and Mandy replicate the complicated positions. Together, the dancers work on dramatic arm sweeps while falling backward…continual changes of direction as the body twists and turns…jumping, remaining suspended in the air, turning, and kicking a leg to the rear. The pace is quick, and the choreography is difficult – but the dancers work hard to remember the material while incorporating as many qualitative details as possible at this point. Everyone is breathing hard after the final run-through but feeling exhilarated by their progress.
Jonathan and Eliza leave to pick up Edgar from camp, and Lorena, Mandy, and Sebastian break for a snack.
Lorena leads the final segment of rehearsal. She decides to return to the very beginning of her duet for Mandy and Jonathan. As Lorena dances Jonathan’s role, she continually adjusts the movement and gestural details of 2 partnering phrases. Lorena and Mandy meticulously deconstruct the second phrase, working out the mechanics to make it both visually interesting and practical to execute. Tired, but satisfied, Lorena and Mandy decide to call it a day.
Yes, we came in low on fuel, powering through on fumes. Nevertheless, the dancers eagerly embraced the challenge of tackling difficult material – all with a single-minded focus. It required tremendous effort – and felt great! Can’t wait to do it again!
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