Sunday, May 27, 2012

'Flipped' / The Process - Or, what I've learned so far

Flipped rehearsal May 27th 2012
1. Choreographers talk too much.*

2. My body has changed much in the last ten years. Dancing every day from age 3 to 19, and then focusing on choreography rather than class from 20 - 30 - although continuing yoga / running / gym - created bigger changes in my body than I was aware of before starting this piece.

3. Regular workouts - even 'thorough' ones - do not train many of the muscles dancers use on a regular basis. Only dancing can do that.

4. Epsom salts are awesome, and necessary. And not just for painful muscles - but also to create space in the body, where newly learned material can start to take root.

5. I still have that tendency to want to 'get' everything right away and still need to learn patience.

6. It is humbling** to dance movements that I personally wouldn't choreograph, and, moreover, to embrace them.

7. It is a relief to let go of control, and also requires willpower and reminders to do so.

8. Some of these rehearsals feel like private dance lessons, and that is an incredibly nurturing thing.

9. I often work better when someone else is around. They don't even need to be working with me - just physically nearby.

10. Judging myself doesn't make my dancing better. It just upsets me and others around me.

11. I still look as stern ("like you want to kill someone!") when executing other people's movement material - as I did when I was seven. Matthew wrote to ''[be] engaged but not too severe in focus''. As did every Royal Academy of Dancing examiner who ever had the misfortune of being in the same room as that scowl.

-- Rachel 

* This is not necessarily pertinent to all the choreographers I worked with. I noticed it for myself - I, as a choreographer, while creating, talk too much. It took being outside that role to see it.
** I did not have this humility age twenty, which is why I didn't dance for others and instead took the choreographic route.

Thank you to everyone who has given their time and support to this piece.
Choreography: Hunt Parr, Erica Frankel, Krista Racho-Jansen and Matthew Westerby.
Mentoring: Savina Theodorou

"Flipped" will be shown at Movement Research Open Performance Series as a work-in-progress on
Wednesday May 30th at 8pm 
The Great Room, 138 South Oxford Street, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York. 
Free / donations welcome
Map of the area and nearby subways here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Solo

Hi everyone,

Well, India was amazing, and I'm back in New York now and working on a new piece. This one is quite a departure from the last 9 years or so! I've been choreographing and choreographing for almost a decade, and not doing very much actual performing. And for the last year or so my dancers kept saying things like 'ah, you should be in this part' / 'this is your solo, I don't think I should do it' / 'you should dance more' etc. (You can't get much clearer than that last one really.)

The gracious people at Movement Research gave me a performance date this spring as part of their Wednesday night Open Performance Series, so I figured this might be a good opportunity to listen to the dancers, dust off the leotard (read: get into shape) and step out.

The idea for 'Flipped' (working title): Most dance pieces have one choreographer and several dancers. In this case, I wanted to flip the convention, and invite several choreographers to individually set material on one dancer. I would also flip my familiar, safe and established role, and be the dancer rather than the choreographer.

The learning curve in this process has been steep so far, and incredibly rewarding. So far, I've had the pleasure of working with Hunt Parr, Krista Racho-Jansen, and Erica Frankel in the studio, and tomorrow I work with Matthew Westerby. I intend to write more about the process in upcoming posts. 

In the meantime, here's the date for your diary for the premiere of this work:

Wednesday May 30th 2012
Open Performance will be held in the “Great Room” at the Space located at 138 S. Oxford St. in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

- Rachel 
Twitter @expandance