February 28, 2018
ANTICIPATING THE SHOWING
Leading into today’s session
Mandy and Lorena squeezed in a rehearsal during vacation last week. The session was surprisingly productive, given that all 3 boys, out of school on break, were in big-time boisterous mode in the studio.
Jonathan has been under considerable stress as multiple extended family members are wrestling with serious – and in several cases, life-threatening – health issues.
Once again, Sebastian is rolling his toy cars over every conceivable surface in the studio as the dancers engage in a ballet-based warm up. Before long, Sebastian pulls mom away to keep him company on the side of the room. Lorena manages to stretch at a barre next to the side wall while talking to Sebastian. She later sets up a plethora of toy and food options that prove to be enticing enough for Sebastian that Lorena can start work on Jonathan’s piece.
Lorena and Mandy practice the last series of poses in Jonathan’s duet, at first without music. Jonathan calls out each position and the associated timing so the ladies are clear about these details. The dancers then go through this final section with music. Jonathan indicates the moments when he wants Lorena’s movements to initiate Mandy’s actions.
Meanwhile, Sebastian slinks across the floor like an inchworm, pushing his vegetable pouch in front of him. Interesting way to go about getting mom to open it…
The dancers decide to rehearse the last 3 minutes or so of the duet as Jonathan clarifies spacing and timing. Sebastian views this as a great time to speed push/bang his stroller in and out of the dancers’ space. At least he has the decency to announce “coming through” to avoid mowing anyone down!
Mandy and Lorena begin the first of 2 full run-throughs of the duet as Jonathan takes notes. Sebastian, too, “runs through” -- literally, darting back and forth across center stage. Lorena assures her colleagues that “we’ll work around him.” Indeed, they do an admirable job executing the choreography and staying in character while gracefully avoiding collisions and deftly tossing back tennis balls to Sebastian.
However, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Mandy and Lorena to remain focused on all of the technical and artistic details – not to mention remain upright. Sherri takes this situation as her cue to scoop up Sebastian and take him to another room for some imaginative play. Sebastian is fully engaged in this process, enabling the dancers to devote their full attention to the 2 run-throughs.
After finishing the first run-through, Mandy and Lorena review Jonathan’s notes. They try to incorporate the technical details he is seeking when they run through the piece for the second time. Once again, Jonathan shares with Mandy and Lorena several minor adjustments he wants to make. He demonstrates the exact choreographic execution for a number of poses and phrases. Jonathan views this as “mechanically cleaning the piece”: refining timing, spacing, and spatial relationships between the characters. He is not delving deeply into qualitative details today.
The dancers are eager to nail down these elements and approach this process with a somewhat heightened sense of urgency since the showing is right around the corner. Consequently, the time spent rehearsing Jonathan’s piece is very productive. It is exciting for everyone to get this work into performance-ready shape!
Jonathan begins working on his solo on the side of the room while Lorena struggles to get her music to play through the stereo. Lorena gets creative and starts singing the melody so she and Mandy can rehearse Lorena’s piece as best as possible.
Sherri and Sebastian return to the studio as Lorena finally rectifies the music glitch. Lorena and Mandy proceed to run through section 5 with music. Lorena works with Mandy on adjusting the spacing relative to one another, including dancing along diagonals as they approach and move away from each other, then using their respective choreography to create overall circular patterns.
It is now time to run through sections 1, 2 and 5, pulling the piece all together. Apparently, Sebastian feels it is another great opportunity to race with his stroller, weaving in and out of the dancers. This time, Jonathan sweeps up Sebastian in his arms and whisks him away to play in the hallway. Once again, Jonathan’s intervention enables the dancers to fully concentrate on the run-through..
Next up: Mandy’s solo for Lorena. Mandy teaches Lorena a series of new poses that will conclude the part of the dance that will be performed at the showing. Mandy uses a variety of vocalizations to establish timing/rhythm in the absence of music. As Lorena runs through the piece, she and Mandy clarify several movement details. Mandy also changes specific arm movements to better enhance certain body positions.
Finally, Jonathan runs through his solo with music. His gestural details are even more nuanced than ever before, and he uses his eyes and facial expressions to communicate a myriad of emotional experiences. However, the overall impact of the piece is not quite as dramatic as it has been in the past. Jonathan explains that he is trying to let his emotions flow through him organically in the moment. He is taking an approach that is “less operatic and more impressionistic.” The next couple of rehearsals will likely make it clear what these choices will actually look like.
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