September 27, 2017
DRILLING DOWN TO DEVELOP THE DETAILS
Leading into today’s rehearsal
In their weekly meeting yesterday, Sherri and Jonathan discussed details of Second Story’s potential participation in a lecture demonstration with a local arts council. We suggested utilizing the format of our May 6th showcase, updating certain choreographic and interactive elements.
Other projects under consideration include:
Lorena’s close friend Michelle is on the board of the Ossining Council of the Arts. The Council is currently brainstorming about a potential collaboration between artists operating in different genres. Although details of the project have not yet been determined, Michelle asked the Second Story dancers if they would like to participate. Jonathan, Mandy, and Lorena expressed interest and look forward to learning more about this endeavor.
Big milestone reached: Edgar and Eliza are both in the morning session of preschool. Therefore, Jonathan will attend the majority of rehearsals without his kids! However, he will have to leave early at 11am each session to pick up the kids from school. Since his rehearsal time will be limited (although potentially more productive), he will have to maximize his time in the studio. Consequently, Jonathan now reminds his colleagues that they will have to make do with a shorter warm up and end this segment of rehearsal on time.
Lorena’s back and Mandy’s ankle continue to improve, but they must still spend most of their time marking the material rather than dancing full-out.
Each dancer warms up individually while Sebastian is occupied with super-sized cars and trucks, plastic stacking cones, and racing around the studio with his teddy bear and stroller. At this point, it appears that the dancers will be able to concentrate on their work with minimal interruptions. It’s a nice thought – but it’s quickly dispelled when Sebastian suddenly grabs Lorena’s hand and announces, “all done!” Mom makes it clear that they are NOT leaving rehearsal – but finds herself repeatedly torn between Sebastian’s need to engage with her and her need to work.
As planned, the dancers begin working on Jonathan’s piece. Jonathan decides to address the beginning of the duet to clean up and tweak the early gesture phrases. He wants to be sure that Mandy’ character conveys the impression that the weight of the world is on her shoulders – right from the outset. Toward that end, Jonathan changes the position of Mandy’s arms and hands during her first movement to signal significant distress. He clarifies and demonstrates the exact positioning of the subsequent gestures, changing the height and placement of several hand and arm movements.
In the process, Jonathan adjusts the position of Lorena’s upper body and encourages her to make an arm movement behind the back more prominent. He asks Mandy to swivel around herself while executing her second set of gestures.
Sebastian soon comes to hug mom’s legs and lead her to the food he wants. After laying out a snack for her son, Lorena returns to working on the changes in the opening gestures. In less than a minute, though, Sebastian seeks out Lorena’s arms as she dances. We soon realize that Sebastian wants to eat his snack WITH his mother, so Lorena feels she has no choice but to accommodate his need.
Meanwhile, Mandy runs through her part in the first few phrases, incorporating the new material. Although the original choreography is deeply ingrained in her mind and body, she is able to retain the changes. Jonathan is very pleased with the impact of the adjusted choreography.
Since Lorena is still attending to Sebastian’s needs, Jonathan assumes her role in the next partnering sequence. In tandem with Mandy, he tests out new arm positions and clarifies the exact placement of each dancer’s hands on one another. He develops the phrase further by adding leg movements. Jonathan essentially takes a partnering phrase that is already intricate and adds even greater visual interest.
Jonathan and Mandy continue on to the next phrase in which Mandy repeats certain gestures and motifs with some choreographic variations. Jonathan notes that Mandy’s continual weight shifts communicate her character’s instability and agitation.
All of these changes have resulted in the opening segment of the duet becoming even more detailed, visually richer, and more emotionally complex.
After Jonathan leaves to pick up his kids, Sebastian begins to play with Sherri. Once Lorena provides him with a wet cloth, Sebastian is seemingly transformed! Like last week, he delights in discovering endless ways to manipulate this cloth over various objects and surfaces. Fortunately, Lorena is now able to work on her duet.
As usual, Lorena listens to her music several times as she creates and experiments with new choreography for the initial segment of her dance. She incorporates slow turns with extended legs, arms and legs splayed wide in relevé, and changes in geometry.
Lorena admits that the numerous distractions with Sebastian today have made it difficult to sustain her creative focus. Moreover, she did not have an opportunity to think about her piece this past week. Nevertheless, she commits herself to finding time in the upcoming week to create and refine choreography for her duet – especially since she is close to completing the first section of this dance. Since the second section – Mandy’s solo – is already complete, Lorena will soon be able to move on to the final segment of the piece!
The dancers then work on Mandy’s phrase. Mandy clarifies movements and begins to describe to Lorena the qualitative details she would like to see incorporated into the choreography.
Once again, despite the time limitations and kiddie distractions, the dancers have successfully delved even deeper to develop the qualitative details that bring their visions to life.
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