November 29, 2017
CREATING WHILE CAREGIVING: A PRIMER
Mandy is attending a school conference for her son Max and can’t come to rehearsal today.
As Jonathan begins his own warm-up, Lorena is occupied with limit setting and consequence enforcement with Sebastian. Boy, does it take a lot out of you! Once she gets Sebastian settled with a snack, Lorena joins Jonathan to warm up. She asks Jonathan to lead this segment of rehearsal; it’s hard to think straight at this moment!
Lorena reports feeling a lot of body aches and muscle soreness.
Before long, Sebastian tries to reunite with mom; it is still hard for him to separate from her. Lorena attempts to continue her warm-up with Sebastian in her arms -- throwing in a few dips to elicit squeals of delight from her son.
Since “mama do it” appears to be the phrase of the day, Lorena moves back and forth between stretching and attending to Sebastian’s requests to take off his shoes, get a remote-control car, get more food and water, and engage in whatever has captured his attention at the moment.
As she warms up, Lorena tries to verbally offer ideas that might distract Sebastian. Sherri joins the effort, alternately encouraging him to engage in certain actions, move to the music, and pantomime silly expressions/positions with plastic cones. We all do our best to find creative ways to entertain, cajole, distract and engage Sebastian. Our efforts produce variable results, but at least they enable Lorena to squeeze in a little more work time.
While Sebastian plays with the remote-control car, Jonathan choreographs an across-the-floor segment that he dances with Lorena. The dancers exude a refreshing sense of freedom and delight as they move with abandon.
Jonathan now has 15 minutes until he has to leave, so he decides to use the time to listen to a new musical piece he just finished composing. He is identifying the places in the music where he would like to make technical adjustments. He hopes to choreograph to this original composition in the near future.
Meanwhile, with Sebastian watching a movie on the iPad, Lorena immerses herself in choreographing section 4 of her 5-section piece. Listening to her music on her iPhone through ear buds, Lorena creates phrases piece by piece, spontaneously testing in her body ideas that are developing in her head. She evaluates each new element, either discarding, modifying, or building upon it. The movements are very athletic, involving lots of quick turns, changes of direction, and rapid low jumps and skips. There is a movement for nearly every beat of the music.
After attending to more child-related tasks, Lorena listens to her music through the sound system, getting the rhythm in her body and repeatedly testing more ideas. Meanwhile, Sebastian attempts to use the remote to turn the music off to pull mom away from working. Fortunately, he hasn’t figured out which buttons to press – but it won’t be long until he does!
As Lorena moves to the floor to refine her new phrases, Sebastian mimics her circular movements and vocalizations. This performance is both funny and impressive – and buys Lorena time to figure out some challenging segments.
Stop the presses: Lorena is recruited to help Sebastian learn how to put his socks on. Lorena breaks down and demonstrates the fine art of putting on socks, then encourages Sebastian to practice this new skill.
As Lorena tries to do a full-out run-through of the new choreography, Sebastian emphatically and vocally objects; more sock practice, mom! OK- here’s the deal: one more round of sock work, then a final dance run-through.
Despite the challenges, Lorena has completed nearly a quarter of section 4 – and it feels great!
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