November 1, 2017
WHAT WAS THAT STEP AGAIN?
Since each dancer’s schedule results in a different arrival time, warm up is largely an individual endeavor. During this period today, the team brainstorms about developing a child-centric Second Story dance program for a children’s museum. Whatever program we put together for this venue could also be used at various non-profit and educational institutions geared toward children.
Attending to Sebastian’s needs prevents Lorena from stretching; nevertheless, she jumps right in to work on Jonathan’s piece since he has to leave early to pick up his kids from preschool. Knowing Lorena is not yet warmed up, Jonathan suggests that she mark the duet for a while.
The dancers concentrate on identifying the choreographic elements that are still unclear. Jonathan demonstrates the execution of these steps, focusing on timing, exact placement of body parts, and desired qualitative details.
Besides remembering the choreography, the biggest challenge today is keeping Sebastian occupied so Lorena and Mandy can remain focused with minimal interruptions. Let’s see how well we do…
Sebastian is enjoying hanging from the ballet barres and playing with giant trucks – but THE MINUTE mom starts dancing, Sebastian tries to draw her away from her work. Jonathan tries to entice him with new cars and scarf tricks, but these amusements merely serve as a (very) temporary diversion.
Lorena attempts a negotiation of sorts: Sebastian can go to the lounge to bring back a big box of toys while mom dances. This idea seems to appeal to Sebastian, and he lugs in a box that is nearly bigger than he is. Preemptively, Jonathan joins Sebastian in his imaginative play with the contents of the box. At the same time, Jonathan watches Lorena and Mandy walk through his piece. Every time the dancers pause to clarify a particular move or phrase, Jonathan attempts to coach from his perch with Sebastian.
Sherri soon recognizes that this approach is not going to be very effective and takes over as Sebastian’s playmate.
Jonathan, Mandy and Lorena watch recent videos to clarify areas of uncertainty, then practice what they have just reviewed.
As if seamlessly interwoven into the choreography, Jonathan deftly intercepts Sebastian every time he leaves Sherri to show Lorena his latest discovery. Sherri then lures him back to the toys so Jonathan can return to coaching.
While helping Mandy and Lorena remember the parts that are unclear, Jonathan breaks down complex phrases and demonstrates a variety of moves: the different leg positions in 4 consecutive turns…a quick turn powered by the arc of the back and accompanied by windmill arms…gestural nuances.
Right in the middle of this focused work, Lorena abruptly steps out for a limit setting session with Sebastian. He emphatically expresses his displeasure with mom’s consequence while Lorena returns to her work. The dancers practice a few more phrases before Jonathan has to leave for preschool pick-up.
On his way out, Jonathan suggests that Mandy and Lorena teach each other their respective parts next week since they switch roles during his duet.
Following Jonathan’s departure and a quick snack, Mandy asks Lorena to help her review the intricate “floor choreography” in the latter part of Jonathan’s piece.
With Sebastian settled down with his lunch, Lorena proceeds to clarify the choreography of her duet with Mandy. Reminding Mandy to listen to the 2nd voice in the music to guide the timing of her movements, Lorena dances Mandy’s part along with her. The dancers then review the execution and timing of the arm and leg movements they perform in canon.
Lorena then offers subtle clarifications of a variety of moments in her piece: the exact undulation of the body in one phrase…the curve of the arms as they reach out, in, then out again…resist the urge to anticipate the next move by turning the head too soon…dissecting a repeating phrase, demonstrating the sweep of the right arm, swivel around the right leg in a low plié, and ending in a full crouch position…execution of a tricky sequence involving twists and turns with arms entwined.
Sebastian is now occupied with opening and closing the studio door, so Lorena delves into correcting timing and spacing as she and Mandy run through the duet. In particular, she adjusts the distance and direction that certain movements travel.
Capitalizing on their momentum (since Sebastian has been absorbed in his play), the dancers work on choreography for the final phrases of the duet. Lorena tests out ideas with Mandy, keeping in mind her desire to make the dancers appear a bit more connected. They spend a considerable amount of time trying to work out the logistics of a phrase in which each dancer rocks back and forth in a variety of directions while alternately interlocking wrists and elbows.
The dancers really came together today, making it possible to create while caregiving – and to remember all the elements of the dances they have developed over many months.
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