September 6, 2017
FIGURED IT OUT. WILL IT WORK?
Leading into today’s rehearsal
Jonathan has an epiphany regarding his vision for the remaining segment of his duet for Mandy and Lorena. He has mapped out the narrative arc as well as the number and sequence of phrases.
He originally entertained the possibility of the dancers switching roles to convey certain psychological and emotional dynamics. He now realizes that this is the approach that best fulfills his vision. The decision to repeat particular choreographic sections at certain intervals – with slight variations – is reminiscent of musical composition. Repeating segments featuring a different dancer is also a common theatrical technique.
Jonathan acknowledges that there can be several different ways to interpret this work. The primary concept guiding his approach is the way in which the emotional struggles of one woman can be safely explored with the support and resonance of another. Furthermore, participation in this process prompts the second woman to investigate her own psychological experiences.
While these ideas might appear to be a sudden revelation, they are actually the byproduct of a lengthy creative process. The different elements of this process are now coalescing in a more coherent, defined manner.
Jonathan is eager to test out his ideas with his dancers, refining details and ensuring that all of the pieces fit together well. Ultimately, the entire piece must appear fluid, visually arresting, and emotionally compelling.
Jonathan texts the team with his plans and ideas.
With Lorena and Sebastian out of town and Eliza and Edgar enjoying a playdate, Mandy and Jonathan have a rare opportunity to focus on their work. Although Mandy brings Nate to the studio since his preschool has not yet begun, her son is occupied with his own play for most of the morning.
Each dancer alternately initiates warm up exercises. Jonathan then creates flowing across-the-floor sequences.
Meanwhile, Nate happily munches on his snack and runs around the studio playing golf with a pole and tennis ball. Very inventive.
Following a food break, Jonathan begins adding on to the big phrase with the choreography he has imagined during the past week. The new material features a series of jumps, leaps, and hops – including his favorite windmill jump. Jonathan first works out the movements with his own body, then demonstrates the execution of the material for Mandy. As Mandy learns and practices the choreography, Jonathan continually tweaks qualitative details: moving in a circle around Lorena (imagining where she is in space, for now!), arm placement, angle of the body, curve of the back. Jonathan encourages Mandy to connect with a feeling of flying in sync with the expansive music.
Nate starts to incorporate some of mom’s dance moves in his golfing, earning enthusiastic praise from the adults. Encouraged by the attention, Nate jettisons the equipment to focus on his own leaps.
Adding to the choreography, Jonathan wants Mandy to repeat the jumping sequence, this time adding in lunges at different height levels. He encourages her to experiment with her arm positioning throughout the phrase to determine what feels most appropriate.
As Mandy runs through the new material, Jonathan appears delighted to see that his vision for the piece is on target.
After setting up Nate with a movie on his tablet, Mandy and Jonathan review and clarify the choreography that precedes the material they just made. This practice will facilitate the next couple of rehearsals during which the dancers will connect the big phrase with the new material.
As Jonathan and Mandy prepare to leave, they are excited about the productivity of today’s session. Encouraged by the success of the new segment, Jonathan feels more confident that the choreography he has imagined for the reminder of the piece will work well with the existing material.
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