December 13, 2017
A LITTLE MORE BABYSITTING=A LOT MORE WORK DONE
Since Sebastian wants to play with the Steffi Nossen toy stash in the lounge – but do it with mom nearby, Lorena decides to warm up in the hallway. Creative solution – but it means that she and Jonathan exercise in separate places! Gradually, Lorena eases herself back into the studio while Sebastian continues to play in the lounge.
After Mandy arrives, all 3 dancers warm up together for several minutes. A veteran Pilates instructor, Lorena leads a Pilates warm up that all the dancers agree is very effective (despite the audible groans – and laughter!). Mandy also leads a number of specialized exercises. The dancers observe one another’s form and alignment, offering both verbal and hands-on adjustments.
The dancers reminisce about their “former” lives when they danced every day, acknowledging how much they miss it. Just then, Sebastian hauls a big box of toys into the studio and dumps them on the floor right in front of his dancing mom. His message couldn’t be clearer—play with me NOW. Lorena manages to defer playing with Sebastian until she can complete the warm up.
Sebastian then decides to have a conversation in the hallway with one of the building’s employees. He follows the employee down the hall, so Lorena can no longer keep track of him. Lorena runs out of the studio to retrieve her son, reminding him that he cannot wander away, and sets some limits. Needless to say, Sebastian is rather unhappy.
At this point, Jonathan only has a short period of time left before he has to leave to pick up his kids from preschool. Knowing that the dancers really need this time to work on Jonathan’s piece, Sherri scoops up Sebastian and plays with him in the lounge. An adult all to himself? Heaven. Fortunately, Mandy and Lorena can run through Jonathan’s entire duet uninterrupted. Unfortunately, they find they have forgotten some of the material. They are particularly disappointed since they felt confident about the choreography 3 weeks ago (the last time all 3 dancers were at rehearsal together). They discuss and practice the segments that are unclear, then run the piece again. This time, the piece is much improved. Jonathan is moved by their effort and performance, even though there is still much work to be done.
As Jonathan packs up to leave, he requests that Lorena and Mandy practice their role reversals. Lorena and Mandy proceed to teach each other their parts one phrase at a time, shifting back and forth between roles. It is very challenging -- especially during the phrases in which the 2 dancers are entwined.
Sebastian and Sherri return to the studio as Lorena and Mandy begin work on Lorena’s duet. Sebastian runs to mom, hangs on to her leg, and eventually winds up in her arms. Hmmm – how to recapture the earlier concentrated work time? How about a video for Sebastian? No dice – the iPad has no charge. How about an early lunch on a chair? Sebastian pushes the chair right into the dancers’ space. How about the remote-control car? Bingo. Sebastian is now engaged with this electronic toy, so Lorena can clarify various segments as she and Mandy mark through the duet.
Following another run-through, Lorena offers a few notes: timing adjustments…the first roll on the ground should be tight; the second roll should open up with an extended leg…shift weight from one leg to another instead of “kicking out”…refine the body roll technique. Lorena mentions that she will “clean up” some moves during the next rehearsal.
Mandy and Lorena now work on Mandy’s solo. Mandy demonstrates the desired execution of a variety of movements. She encourages Lorena to keep her upper body still during the small, rapid jumps. Mandy then shares with Lorena the next few phrases she choreographed during the past week. We see elongated arms and legs, holding the body in an extended vertical position, like an arrow, several movements requiring a lot of balance, and a series of low lunges moving backward in space.
After Lorena learns the new section, she runs through the entire solo. She asks Mandy to clarify the timing of the pauses/holds in the choreography. Mandy indicates where she wants accents and very sharp movements. Lorena seeks Mandy’s help to ensure she executes each position in the style Mandy wants. This is challenging for Lorena as her style/instinctive approach to the choreography is quite different from Mandy’s.
Once again, Sherri takes Sebastian to play in the lounge so Mandy and Lorena can work on a final run through.
Throughout the session today, Mandy kept everyone on track, returning the dancers’ focus to rehearsing after each distraction. With the addition of Sherri’s babysitting interventions, the dancers were able to work productively.
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