August 9, 2017
MANDY TAKES THE LEAD
Edgar’s new camp schedule prevents Jonathan from attending rehearsal today. So, it’s ladies’ day, with Mandy and Lorena deciding to shake things up a bit. Rather than warm up as usual, Mandy takes the helm and choreographs an abstract series of phrases. She describes this rare choreographic endeavor as “playing around with movement unrelated to music.” As she develops her material, she experiments with ideas, tests them out, then teaches Lorena the new moves.
Lorena is still in considerable back pain, restricting her movements, but she is determined to learn Mandy’s new dance. Lorena explains that she is trying to figure out the timing of Mandy’s suspensions, pauses, and rhythms. The ladies acknowledge that each Second Story dancer has a different style, greatly influenced by the diverse companies they have danced with. So, it takes some time to get used to each other’s way of moving.
Mandy watches Lorena practice the choreography, offering a variety of notes: make shapes with arms as if drawing lines…keep feet on the floor in off-balance moves. We see lots of side bends, torso twists, off-balance positions, and suspended movement.
Meanwhile, Sebastian is enjoying the novelty of the Purchase College studio we are using for rehearsal today. He explores all of the objects that are not found in our usual Steffi Nossen studio – but, keeping to his usual routine, he runs all over the studio pushing his stroller. He checks in with mom regularly for attention, “arm time,” food, and assistance with getting down from chairs and benches.
Lorena and Mandy begin work on Lorena’s duet by reviewing all of the choreography created so far. Lorena gives notes on a number of different details: clarifying sequence of arm positions, cautioning Mandy to resist anticipating the next move, adjusting leg length and height, execution of rolls on the ground, focus of gaze, and geometry – angles vs. flat facing movement.
Moving on to the next section of Lorena’s piece, Lorena explains that she will choreograph 2 solos to coordinate with the 2 voices in the music. She wants Mandy to dance to the top soprano voice. As Lorena develops the next phrases and observes Mandy learning them, she highlights several qualitative details and clarifies timing.
Once Mandy feels more comfortable with the choreography, Lorena works on the other solo to be performed simultaneously and in close proximity to Mandy. Lorena continuously experiments with possibilities, testing them out as Mandy dances.
Lorena finds herself alternating between setting limits for her toddler and shifting her concentration back to creating. The frequent interruptions are difficult to manage, but, to the outside observer, Lorena makes this balancing act appear to be seamless.
Finally, the ladies move on to the next phrase in Lorena’s piece, a section choreographed and practiced several months ago. Consequently, Mandy and Lorena try to re-construct the material from memory.
As the dancers prepare to leave, they express their excitement over a highly productive rehearsal – and the opportunity to have Mandy take the lead!
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