Group Piece

I've had the video now for about a week, and I sent it out to my cast.  I narrowly missed the deadline for this selection at SUNY Buffalo, where they choose people to set work on their student company, but there will be other options to show it, and rework it, though I loved my cast so much really.  They were a really talented group!

Here's the video of the Saturday night performance.  I will make an edited version at some point over the summer...
I've made some changes already from the showing, but the biggest challenge/ order of business today is to get everyone to be moving in a dynamic and full-out way!!  I've had that note before- that my dancers look like they're marking- and I think it is the particular style of my movement, "which works for me, but...".  I need to get them to be doing full-out gorgeous dancing, complete with the weighted, off balance, directional forces and momentum that I love!!

Here are other ideas for today:
1. I have a full final "draft" of the music.  I had a minor emergency last night when I discovered that I confused Justin with my notes and that there was silence during the biggest movement section of the piece (which could work theoretically, but left it looking pretty flat).  I whipped up a GarageBand version by pasting in the missing piece from the old version.
2. Revamp the movement that 5 people do Upstage while Nola, Jillian, and Parisa stand downstage. It should be up-tempo and driving, with arms that sweep/develop wide, reach, turn, etc.
3. Have Logan and Ali develop solo material for their new DS moments toward the end.  This stuff could be a revisiting of previous material!!! There's not that much repetition throughout the whole thing!
4. Bella/Parisa duet- have them learn from video; GingerAnn/Jillian duet- have Jillian build translating material to echo/fit around GA.
5. Sculpt Thomas's pass
6. Finish the group interweaving section (after "Right! Back!")
7. Bella/Parisa get overboard, tone down others' mov't during the "directing" improvisation
8. Thomas talks during Nola's solo.  What does he say?  Something about making choices, being pulled/directed.
Videos of the showing:
Part 1

Part 2
My, my! How frustrating is it to try to have rehearsal when not all of my dancers show up. The piece is definitely at the stage where I need everyone there to be able to make changes, to teach new material, overlap sections, and to manage an actual run! 

This past Sunday I was missing 3 and another dancer showed up late, but I was able to finish choreographing the Ali, Nola, Jillian, Tara quartet that I began having them create additional material for a couple weeks ago.  I decided to have Ali do an interrupted (and so not quite as linear) version of her solo material from the beginning.  I think it is good to reference that- and I may need to make it a bit more prominent, but I think the way it comes out is good.  Also, I had Nola learn the first part of Jillian's phrase and then the second part of Tara's, so their material will be in a 2 v. 1 format.  Then they go right into the downstage reaches...

I also made the decision to provide more movement- to strengthen the walking theme- prior to Ali's entrance.

Tonight was another good rehearsal, and thank goodness. Logan was at a tech call (and we'll see what we get on Sunday). I set out to work on the section that follows the "group unison w/ variations" phrase. I have a group of 6 SR that I want to have moving in and around each other, connecting and initiating here and there= like Peter's DCM piece.  Perhaps I need to give them an example, but after some floundering I had each dancer make up 3-4 reaches.  I then began using that material to work them into contact with one another. This was pretty slow, but it seemed beneficial, and I tabled it after a bit so that we could work on a sketch of the beginning, with some layering on top of Ali's solo.

I am trying to rough up the edges a bit (my words).  It seems too clean in some points- like the side-by-side duets that I'm now varying.  I think the changes make me feel better about the piece... like it's generating some of its own momentum and seems to flow better.  We'll see!


Wow-  A week went by since the last rehearsal, and the Power Center show makes it so that I can't get my cast together again until NEXT Wednesday, Feb. 9.  I guess that will give me some good time to think about what I've made already, analyze the transitions, the pieces, question whether the piece is getting at my ideas successfully, etc.

Today I had Bill come watch the rehearsal/run-through, and Justin came by to watch the material for some sound ideas.  Also, our time was shortened by this promo photo shoot we put together with Collin. I mapped out what we have now:
  1.  Logan walks DS, pauses as if alone - Tara joins and they walk off together
  2. Ali solo
  3. Ali, Parisa, Jillian manipulation trio - Parisa & Jillian continue after Ali leaves
  4. Logan, Bella, GingerAnn, Nola quartet - goes into side-by-side duets
  5. All enter in cannon - energy phrase, swipe, sink, variation, walk US, line
  6. Nola/Thomas - Ali and GingerAnn do solos 
  7. 3 walk DS, US unison
  8. 3 duets - only Nola/Thomas continue
  9. Tara solo
  10. Stage wash 
  11. Ali, Nola, Jillian, Tara quartet - old stuff, circle variations, move DS in line, run US
  12. Four partners take R hand DS, manipulating a bit
  13. All swoop into big unison!
I think it is starting to flow, though there are still a lot of holes/bits I need to work out.  I'm still curious about costuming and the MUSIC I need asap.

Today's approach: I thought about giving myself the ability to just go into the studio and create something based more in intention and movement rather than question how each new bit fits into my larger schema...  Shanna said  that the idea of the heuristic cards is that if you can make something, anything, and then the cards challenge you to reshape what you have into a new thing.

I thought through the sequence I've constructed so far and feel quite good about the shifts of perspective and the changing groups of people.  I am unsure whether or not the central ideas of independence vs. group identity comes across.  That is a question for the people who saw it.  I should've videoed a run so that I could watch to see what I see, but as of now= the timings are off! I want it to be surprising and have an odd rhythm to it.  I am still building the sequence though, so I've been reluctant to take the time to really clarify the timing as I don't know for sure what I will want to keep.

The quartet Jillian, Nola, Tara, and Ali made to my material is still captivating- I think because their movement and the performance of it is so invested while it overlaps in a satisfyingly complex (yet compositionally situational) way.  I want to get them into a horizontal line, and then I gave the four the following directions: arm reach, leg reach, jump (w/turn?), step, both arm reach, head circle.  I told them to use those initiations/mov'ts to travel DS side by side.  They then turn and run upstage as partners appear to grab their hands and lead them back DS, directing their hand to the floor, leg back, hips down, etc.  Then everyone swirls up into the big unison phrase (with stillness and variation).  It seems like a satisfying build.

Just downloaded and took a bit from this storm video off youtube:

Rehearsal- Sunday, January 23, 2011

I split rehearsal into two sections, the first being an improvisation based on the ideas of self-directed travel through space.  The directions I gave were to call out the direction of travel as the decision to move is made: "Right", "Left", "Forward", "Backward"... The dancers would use those terms relative to their direction/facing.  Variation 1 was an accumulation of dancers in the space, increasing the rate of speech over time.  Variation 2 was to take it out of the pedestrian/walking realm and have my dancers loosely interpret what the directions meant (more modern dance improvisational movement), and then to have only four speakers while others enter the space and just follow.  Dancers then collect into two groups and take turns offering directions for the group.

The second half of the rehearsal was a review of the Section 1 piece is so far- beginning with Logan standing downstage through Tara's solo the follows the Nola/Thomas duet #2.  I then added material from before: the stage wash section that leads to a group scatter (à la a handful of pebbles), the group exit USR.  I then had Nola, Tara, Jillian, and Alie take their exiting pass into their spots at the start of the quartet they built a long time ago (all individual variations of my modified bridge phrase from Berlin).

I had them build more material - this time interpretations/variations of a circling phrase I developed on the spot.  This is the first movement section into the second:

Guiding questions:

  • What influences peoples' navigational choices?
  • What does it feel like to travel alone vs. being part of a group?
  • What happens to individuality when people join groups? Enhanced? Lost/forgotten?
  • How do I go about translating my solo material captured in Europe into a group work?
  • The difference between directing and being directed.

I am using videotaped movement material created in Europe to use as a springboard into some of the movement phrases.  Here are two videos: