March 7, 2018
NEITHER SNOW NOR POWER OUTAGES NOR HOME SALES NOR ILLNESS AND INJURY CAN KEEP US OUT OF THE STUDIO!
Leading into today’s rehearsal
Last Friday’s nor‘easter left Jonathan’s family without power for days, forcing them to move in with relatives 30 minutes north of their home and causing significant schedule disruptions.
Lorena is swamped with selling one home, buying another home, and preparing to move.
The New York metro area braced for another storm expected to begin last night. Given the large number of residents still without power coupled with the anticipated intensity of the storm, schools and studios preemptively announced that they would close on Wednesday. Of course, this is our 2nd-to-last scheduled rehearsal before the showing on March 18th. The Second Story team started brainstorming Tuesday night about the logistics of fitting in an “emergency” rehearsal in the next few days. However, coordinating dancer and studio schedules is daunting.
Mother Nature has delayed beginning the storm in earnest, so we text back and forth to determine whether we can take a chance and rehearse without knowing when the storm will intensify. Moreover, we discover that all the facilities we can think of are closed for the day. That is, all but one; Purchase College’s dance building remains open! We receive permission to use one of the studios, then race over to begin rehearsing as quickly as possible. OK, not quite as fast as we would if we didn’t have 5 young kids with us!
On the health front, Jonathan’s back is out, and Mandy’s medication for a sinus infection is making her drowsy. But they are determined to rehearse no matter what!
Armed with iPads and movies, the dancers set up a play area in the studio for the kids in which they can watch a movie, eat snacks, and play with their toys.
So far, so good as the dancers mark through Jonathan’s duet while he takes notes. They nearly make it to the final phrases when Mandy’s son Nate becomes upset. As Mandy stops rehearsing to console him, he finally explains that he can’t hear the movie above the noise of the dancers’ music. Very disturbing, indeed. Meanwhile, Sherri provides paper and pencil to Max so he can begin his portrait of his mother.
With calm restored, the dancers go back to the section of Jonathan’s piece featuring movements on the ground. Jonathan clarifies the sequence and timing of the gestures and choreography, then decides to incorporate a change in approach to the phrases in which Mandy and Lorena move in unison: while Lorena executes the choreography on the floor, Mandy will do so in standing and kneeling positions. So, although their movements are similar, there is now additional visual interest, at once complementary and contrasting.
Sherri helps Max figure out measurements for his portrait so he doesn’t interrupt Mandy for assistance.
Jonathan then cleans up a series of partner traveling phrases.
Jonathan attempts to go through all of his notes with Mandy and Lorena, but is continually interrupted by kiddie requirements. It plays out something like this:
Now it’s time for a full run-through of Jonathan’s piece. Jonathan watches while going back and forth across the studio to get Edgar and Eliza the various foods they request. He preemptively reminds the kids that they won’t be able to hear the movie well during this run-through.
As Mandy and Lorena dance, Jonathan verbally instructs them to adjust spacing, stage right vs. stage left, upstage vs. downstage -- and relative to each other.
The dancers identify areas of uncertainty about the choreography as they proceed through the dance, self-correcting in the moment.
Eliza approaches her dad in tears because her peers won’t play games with her rather than continue watching the movie.
Jonathan now focuses on a number of qualitative details, such as:
As Lorena and Mandy begin with section 5 of Lorena’s piece, Lorena decides to make some adjustments:
Mandy and Lorena are now ready to run through Lorena’s piece. Lorena asks Jonathan to take notes. As the ladies move through the 3 sections of the dance, Sebastian runs around the perimeter of the dancers’ space with his stroller. Lorena intervenes to redirect her son when he veers too close to Mandy during her section 2 solo.
Lorena makes further changes to the section 5 duet so that she and Mandy repeatedly “meet in the middle” of the stage, then fan out in opposite directions along a diagonal.
Jonathan then shares several qualitative notes:
At this point in the rehearsal, it looks like the kids have taken over: running and doing flying leaps around the studio, hanging off the ballet barres, launching toys through the air. Oh, and let’s not forget potty and diaper change time!
Jonathan now begins work on his solo on the side of the room while Mandy and Lorena review Mandy’s piece. Lorena marks through the solo as Mandy watches and clarifies the choreography in various spots. To everyone’s surprise, Mandy puts on an abstract piece of music created by Neil Alexander; she wants to test whether the non-melodic music might sync well with Lorena’s choreography – and contribute to an atmosphere of abstract exploration of movement. Given that Lorena’s way of dancing is completely music-driven, she is thrilled with this change (even if it is only for today!).
Jonathan interrupts his work several times to keep the kids away from Lorena as she dances. In turn, Sherri engages Eliza and Edgar in a discussion about the differences between dinosaurs and dragons to keep them from distracting Jonathan.
Mandy and Lorena decide to talk through nearly every detail of each position, clarifying the execution, timing and sequence of steps and poses.
Finally, Lorena tries to incorporate all of this information in a run-through of the piece. She finds herself naturally syncing her movements with the music’s syncopated and unconventional rhythms. Both Lorena and Mandy are pleased with the results, although Mandy wants to be sure that Lorena’s execution of the solo doesn’t become too coordinated with the music!
The storm is getting worse, so it’s time to gather up the voluminous amount of food, toys, and clothes and get home ASAP. Everyone is grateful that we managed to salvage today’s rehearsal; the dancers feel much more confident about the upcoming showing, given our highly productive session!
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