Thursday, September 01, 2011

performing tonight

I'm doing a little dance performance tonight at the studio. We are wrapping up a 10 week series of classes that were designed to be "an incubator" or sorts so that each of us that make up class (students and teachers both) could create solos.

And of course, here we are, at the end of the 10 week series and I am just now blogging about it...
because I am just that sort of blogger. LOL *sigh*

Here's what I've been up to:

Several years ago, when I was working with Dandelion Dancetheater, Eric Kupers, the director and choreographer, created this very long movement phrase that he wanted us all to learn as he believed it was to be inserted into an evening long piece somewhere. He choreographed for a very specific piece of music by Sweet Honey And The Rock, and that's what we listed to when we learned it, but as rehearsal progressed, every week he'd spring new music on us. Sometimes it worked for me, a lot of times it didn't....and he actually preferred the more abstract music where, to me, the music didn't seem to match the movements. I often had to tune out the music to just keep the movement phrase moving.

And it drove me nuts.

At the time.

(it also never ended up in that show, after all that work...hahahaha)

As the years have gone by however, I've become enchanted with the idea of experimenting with this again. I don't remember all of the movement phrase, but I've cobbled together enough of what I do remember to make it work.....and then I have an experiment only....and these are just a few of the many questions that have come up for me:

* When I am supposed to be doing something (in this case, repeating a movement phrase...but in life....say, folding the laundry or paying the bills) what pulls me off center?
* How do I do what I am supposed to do while the background and scenery change?
* How much do I let external forces shape or shift what it is I am supposed to be focused on doing?

It's been quite a fun experiment. What I've done, over the last couple of months of class, is to show up every week with different music that I have never danced to before, and then apply the movement phrase to it. I've done everything from TheSmiths and Smashing Pumpkins, to Diana Krall and KD Lang. I've danced to chanting from the zen center and to music I have never even heard at all because it came off of a free cd I picked up in a coffee shop.

A few unexpected things came up as I watched myself play with this, the big one being how interesting I can get embellishing things when I get bored with something repetitive. Even if I try real hard to keep it simple and basic and just doing what I'm supposed to be doing, once I get bored I want to fluff things up LOL. It's also interesting to note that the only times I have every gotten lost in the phrase and forgotten what came next (it's about 2 minutes long), it's always been to the music I would have expected to be the easiest to work with.

edited to add: One of the other things I discovered to be true for myself at this time (who knows, it might shift as I work long), is that one of the reasons its hard for me to do the repetitive "thing I am supposed to be doing" without allowing the outside influences to affect me, is because it sort of seems ridiculous to me to NOT to be allowed it to be affected. I feel like maybe the lesson learned here is that I can still do whatever it is that I am supposed to be doing without denying the reality the world is perhaps dancing to a different drummer ;-) And that it would be somewhat robotic and even outright ignorant to not allow my surroundings to affect how I am doing something.

Tonight, we are having an open house, and I am "performing" this in front of whoever shows up, but it's still not quite a performance. Once again, I will be dancing to music tonight that I've never worked with before this way (although it's music I love: Paranoid Android by Radiohead--I chose it for tonight because I really only have time for one track and it has a lot of radical shifts of mood to it). Some day I'd like to perform this again with an ipod full of who knows what and let the audience shuffle it around on me, and then see what happens LOL.

I'm totally not done exploring this.
I am pretty sure this is only phase one of...I dont know what....


~Donna~ said...

How did it go?

I've never really put that much effort into my dancing - which is a damn shame cos I love it so much - and it doesn't matter what kind it is either.

Once I get my head and my life in a bit better order, maybe I'll have a go at it again. Maybe even try something diff. :)