November 15, 2017
CREATING WITHOUT CAREGIVING
Leading into today’s rehearsal
Yesterday, Lorena informed the team that her husband José has the day off today and will be watching Sebastian. The dancers were excited by the prospect of rehearsing without simultaneously taking care of children. Then the other shoe dropped: Jonathan discovered that he needs to attend a Thanksgiving celebration at his kids’ preschool -- at the exact same time as rehearsal. Alas, he can’t take advantage of this unusual opportunity to dance uninterrupted. However, he suggested that, in his absence, Lorena and Mandy teach each other the final part of the role switch segment, review the opening poses in switched roles, and run the entire piece.
To add insult to injury, Eliza gets sick. Fortunately, Jonathan’s wife Rhonda is working from home today, so she can watch Eliza while Jonathan attends Edgar’s school celebration.
José and Sebastian arrive at the studio with Lorena. Sebastian is in no hurry to leave with his dad, so Lorena and Mandy suggest that the guys play in one of the nearby parks. We think this is the first rehearsal we’ve ever had without children -- so the dancers are determined to maximize the amount of time they can focus solely on their work.
Mandy and Lorena warm up alternately on the floor, at the barre, and across the floor. During this period, the dancers discuss some ideas to present to an institution for a child-oriented dance workshop.
Gradually, José coaxes Sebastian into leaving the studio. Freedom!
Mandy and Lorena decide to work on Lorena’s piece first. They walk through the entire duet while Lorena indicates where she will need to change spacing and choreography. Lorena plays the music multiple times to ensure that her new ideas are in sync with the music.
The ladies incorporate these adjustments as they engage in a full-out run-through of the duet. When they finish, Lorena exclaims, “that felt great!”
Next, Lorena observes as Mandy moves right into her solo. Once again, Lorena is pleased with the performance.
Lorena then outlines her plan for the rest of the piece:
Lorena and Mandy watch the video of the duet run-through as Lorena makes verbal notes; she would like to change her jump…refine arm positioning in certain spots…clarify spacing and timing…adjust execution of particular movements. She emphasizes that she and Mandy must be exactly in unison when they dance together so that it is more impactful when they are apart.
It is now time to work on these qualitative details. The dancers make the following adjustments: clarify progression of arm movements…execute choreography more precisely…wait for the voice in the music…refine the body roll…figure out timing and spacing of certain phrases…keep one arm held tightly to the body in the repeating section…clean up phrases in which arms are connected while turning…clarify choreography of final phrase.
Mandy and Lorena incorporate these changes in the next run-through while Sherri film them. The dancers then review the video, noting where timing and spacing still need adjustment.
Lorena decides to jump to section 5 of her piece as she wants to “get it out of my head.” She notes that this 30-second conclusion to her piece is almost “pure canon.” Lorena repeatedly listens to the music to feel it – and test it out – in her body. She then begins to teach it to Mandy. The tempo is very fast, and the choreography is challenging to perform at that pace.
Lorena takes a few deep breaths to allow her to transition from creating her own dance to rehearsing Jonathan’s duet. Free of child care responsibilities today, Lorena has been able to immerse herself in her work – so she needs to “switch gears and get out of my head.”
Lorena and Mandy now run through Jonathan’s duet, identifying parts that are still unclear as they progress. The dancers continue to teach each other their roles and review the tricky choreography in which they are entwined.
Finally, Mandy and Lorena are ready to work on Mandy’s new piece. Mandy watches Lorena run through the choreography and offers a few notes: imagine crayons coming out of your fingertips, enabling you to draw an ongoing story…stretch your legs out in an almost exaggerated manner…seek greater dynamic accents and contrasts. Mandy encourages Lorena to “play with it, and I’ll tell you if I like it.”
Lorena points out that if Mandy chooses to make this piece a duet, the two dancers can convey a relationship, even if they are “doing different things.”
Lorena and Mandy conclude today’s session feeling exhausted, yet energized. They are pleased with their productivity and progress. The dancers have radiated pure joy throughout the rehearsal, immersed in their dancing without having to divide their time, attention and psychic energy between creating and caregiving. For a brief time, they were transported back to the days when their entire lives revolved around dancing.
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