October 18, 2017
TYPICAL CHALLENGES SHORTEN REHEARSAL
Lorena, Sherri and Mandy are all late today…chalk it up to kids, cars and health issues. Jonathan is the only one whose morning allows him to arrive on time. Good news/bad news: he can stretch a bit and think about his work, but he can’t collaborate and rehearse until the other dancers arrive.
Once Lorena arrives, she and Jonathan abandon their usual warm up to best utilize the shorter rehearsal time. They begin working on Jonathan’s piece, targeting a series of phrases in which Lorena and Mandy have different choreography. Jonathan modifies certain elements for Lorena, including continual weight transfers and sinuous, sweeping hand and arm movements behind the back and around the body. As Jonathan clarifies the timing of these phrases, Sebastian sends multiple cars racing across the floor. The dancers deftly step around them without blinking an eye!
Mandy arrives with about 20 minutes to go before Jonathan has to leave to pick up his kids from preschool. Skipping warm up altogether, Mandy jumps right into practicing a complicated partnering sequence with Lorena in which the 2 dancers are completely entwined. Jonathan, Lorena and Mandy experiment with a variety of adjustments to make the execution of this phrase more fluid and comfortable. Jonathan periodically takes Lorena’s place to try to figure it out with his own body. Between feeling it viscerally and observing Lorena and Mandy test out ideas, Jonathan decides that Mandy needs to bend deeply to the side, fully extend her leg higher, and use a leg in a passé position to drive the pair’s weight shift.
While Lorena changes Sebastian’s diaper, Jonathan and Mandy look at a recent video of this section of the duet. Together, they experiment with a variety of changes.
Upon Lorena’s return to rehearsing, Jonathan coaches Mandy and Lorena through every single element of the entwined phrases. It is painstaking, highly detailed work – step by step, arm movement by arm movement. Jonathan wants each partner’s hand/arm/leg movement to precipitate the other dancer’s responding gesture. This is an example of the “conversation of gestures” that is a hallmark of Jonathan’s duet.
Sebastian tugs on mom’s pants, seeking her company. Fortunately, Lorena successfully distracts him with several big trucks. Unfortunately, the diversion is short-lived. Sebastian wants mom to join him in the lounge to choose toy trains -- and won’t take “no” for an answer. Lorena finds him a book that turns out to be even more interesting to Sebastian than the toys. This discovery buys the dancers a couple of minutes to work out the logistics of the tricky rond de jambe portion of the phrase.
Lorena, Mandy and Jonathan then review the video in which the ladies marked through about ¾ of the piece. As they watch, Jonathan verbally clarifies the execution and timing of many movements, and proposes a number of ideas that can be tested out next week.
As Jonathan prepares to leave, he mentions his ideas for what pieces might be included in Second Story’s next studio showing. He suggests that the dancers continue to prioritize rehearsing his and Lorena’s duets during the next few sessions.
During a snack break, the team discusses programming, timing, and rehearsal details of a potential showing in February.
When Sebastian becomes absorbed in drawing, Lorena is able to listen to the music for her duet several times. As usual, she is mentally formulating refinements to her choreography.
Lorena and Mandy then talk through and mark the later phrases of the duet. Lorena makes several spacing and timing adjustments.
Next, Lorena cues her music to the beginning of her piece. She and Mandy are now ready to walk through the entire first section, up to the final phrases that have yet to be solidified. However, about half way through, Lorena suddenly runs to Sebastian to ensure he avoids an accident with wires. She capitalizes on this event by taking time to remind him about safety issues.
The dancers’ frustration and disappointment are palpable; since another class is about to come in to the studio, they cannot do a full run-through of Lorena’s duet today. Another creating-while-caregiving challenge necessitates modifications in rehearsal plans. This is our process.
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