January 10, 2018
THE JOY OF CREATING CHOREOGRAPHY
Jonathan is nursing his kids back to health and, therefore, cannot attend rehearsal. However, he is already looking forward to next week’s rehearsal to see how Mandy and Lorena refine his piece today.
The warm-up is somewhat subdued, but Mandy and Lorena become fired up once they begin work on Jonathan’s duet. To ensure that the dancers can adequately focus on their work, Lorena decides to give Sebastian a video early in the session. She expresses unease about her son watching a video for a long period of time, but concludes that it is necessary if the dancers are to accomplish their goals today.
Lorena and Mandy choose to run through Jonathan’s entire duet, then target the section in which they switch roles for more intensive work. This is the smoothest run-through yet – that is, until Sebastian attaches himself to mom’s leg to insist that she adjust his video. At first, Lorena attempts to continue dancing with Sebastian in her arms, but it becomes too difficult once she and Mandy enter into the entwined phrases. Lorena hurries to remedy Sebastian’s technical difficulties, then resumes dancing the duet from the point right before they switch parts. Concentration is particularly intense as Mandy and Lorena help one another recall the choreographic details of the role reversal.
As they reach the final poses of the dance, Lorena and Mandy try to recall Jonathan’s timing instructions and realize that they still need a little more material before the concluding phrases are complete.
Satisfied with their progress, the ladies begin work on all 4 sections of Lorena’s piece. First up: Mandy runs through her solo portion while Sebastian runs around the studio with a jump rope, intermittently yelling, “oh!”
Lorena and Mandy then rehearse their duet section. Lorena calls out timing and spacing cues as they progress. The dancers identify the choreographic details that are not quite clear – all the while dodging Sebastian as he runs in and out of their rehearsal space.
Mandy returns to her solo portion while Lorena observes. As Mandy dances, Lorena identifies the moments when she wants Mandy to “push” and the places where she can take a softer approach.
With Sebastian back in front of his video, Lorena spends a couple of minutes working through her solo portion of the dance. As Mandy points out, the feeling in this segment is bouncier and freer than the duet and solo that precede it. This brief solo features a lot of quick jumps, turns, and footwork.
Moving on, Lorena and Mandy take a few minutes to listen to the music that accompanies the next duet segment. This music features both high and low vocal parts; each dancer’s choreography will correspond to either the high or low voice. To help Mandy distinguish between the two vocal lines in the music, Lorena sings Mandy’s part several times. She then teaches Mandy her choreography, creating and revising phrases as she tests out the new material. Mandy practices the new steps several times. In particular, she and Lorena work on anticipating and catching the first beat of the music. Lorena then integrates her part into the dance. Each dancer’s part features very rapid footwork and quick turns, in sync with the timing of their respective vocal parts in the music.
Lorena is becoming increasingly excited as the choreography emerges. She and Mandy repeatedly practice their parts to get the timing right.
Taking a break to eat and rest, the team discusses details of Second Story’s upcoming agenda.
Finally, the ladies are ready to work on Mandy’s piece. They first review the most recent video of Mandy’s work. Lorena then runs through the dance as Mandy clarifies the timing of the choreography as it is not yet set to music. Mandy also demonstrates the execution of a quick footwork phrase.
Mandy then teaches Lorena some new material she has prepared for today’s session. Like the first part of this dance, the choreography is quite linear and angular.
Mandy decides to continue creating new choreography in the moment; she finds the experience to be exhilarating. She confesses that she never imagined she would enjoy the role of choreographer; who knew it would feel so fulfilling?
As they conclude today’s rehearsal, Lorena and Mandy affirm the sheer joy of dance composition!
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