Monday, December 13, 2010

THE PROCESS: Discovery & Integration

National Choreography Initiative:  This summer I participated in Molly Lynch's choreography workshop, which is an opportunity to work on anything you want in a 3-week period. I chose to create a "piece about a piece" called The Process: Discovery & Integration.  What is in this Blog is some of the Text I spoke on stage as I gave an insight into my choreography process - that of discovering what dancers can do in terms of different dance styles and abilities and then integrating their special talents into the final work.  This workshop was about creating a piece about "creating a piece", as well as developing materials that could be used for the new Marvin Hamlisch song I'm Really Dancing, that I ended up creating for the Career Transition for Dancers gala on Nov. 8th in New York.

PART ONE: The Opening

Part One (me in rehearsal sweats)

AMD Text i.e. "me" speaking on stage!

(AMD moves on stage, crossing DSR to DSL)
Before I show you the dance material I came to work on for the new Marvin Hamlisch song, I wanted to give you a little insight into my creative process of “Discovery & Integration”.  Although I come from a ballet background, my aesthetic is to mix styles (since the 1980’s actually) and one of the first things I do when I see a group of dancers for the first time, is them who can do 'more than one thing, more than just ballet".

(AMD hits her mark on stage, in the Upstage Left down-spot on quarter, I continue to speak)
Ben, showed me some Hip Hop and Break dance moves (will file that I thought); Chris showed me some Tap (not my most favorite dance form).  And there you go, two of the most authentically American dance forms to use!

(AMD then walks thru dancers and moves back to DSR where her table and chair is)
Next I spent some time getting to know the dancers - asking them questions; teaching 3 aspects of Focus that is essential to dance. With Thomas I worked on Inner Focus - the power in standing still and doing nothing. With Pedro, Projected Focus in a simple walk - one of the hardest moves to do on stage. With Susan the “ography” part of “choreography”, which is the relationship of steps to space. I also learned things myself. When I gave Greg the gymnastic step called a Kip to do, he said to me....

Greg: A Kip is 1,000 tons of engineering!
AMD: Something about engineering.....anyway....

(AMD crosses DSR to DSL for the “chorus line”)
Then we all had some meaningful conversations that included why they danced; magic moments in theater; the importance of Art that allows the commercialization of it; transition. And I thought of maybe giving them all a chance to say something profound on stage, since dancers don’t talk, don’t get a change to have a voice...
Dancer one-liners (see video)

PART TWO: The Dancer Band
(AMD is DSR and Sits at Desk)
Then I wanted to show the dancer’s in their solos, but I didn’t have any music so I thought why not make our own music. I think it was Thomas who started it....the dancer band....

Part Two (Dancer Band)


(AMD crosses to Center - then exits DSL)

In the middle of the whole process I felt guilty - that I should be constructing an actual piece that had a beginning, middle and end. And I had a piece of music from a show I was choreographing in China of 2 Homaii singers in it that I taped. So I decided to expand the solo’s that both Adrienne and Thomas started out with into more.

Duet: Adrienne - Thomas

Part Three (Duet)

End in a Downspot and AMD from DSL

Ok, so I had that ending for the piece (am glad you see it as clearly as I did!) which is a statement about connection - we’re human and need physical connection.....not sure the internet really provides that.

PART FOUR: The SONG! I'm Really Dancing (music only)

(Lights come up at same time as Hamlisch Cd)

OK - now it is time to show you the material I came here to work on. The Integration of what I discovered in the process before. Ted can you come measure? About 18 feet - 3 feet past center is what it would be at City Center.

Last year after one of the gala’s I produce and direct for Career Transition for Dancers, Marvin Hamlisch called me praising the show. I thought it was a prank call because he didn’t say “who” gave him my number - so I wasn’t very responsive. Finally he said he liked that I used a clip of his music (which was from A Chorus Line) in the film montage (about American dance) - he said...”you know I wrote A Chours Line”. It was at that moment that I realized tha it was not a prank call - and I said “Yes of course, I am a fan!”

Part Four (Integration - Marvin Song)

(Can you bring on the Piano, please?)

Anyway, I asked him to write a dance piece or a song having to do with transition - the spectrum of years. I said Chorus Line was about dancers trying to get into a show - but what about dancers who have stopped and the trajectory of what happens - staying in the field, moving into other fields or not stopping? Whatever, we never stop being dancers. The dancer is alive in us always. I am a dancer dancing when I’m moving or not, I am a dancer dancing even when I stop. So the song is about dancing no matter what else we do. Lyrics are by Rupert Holmes, the dance arrangements by David Caldwell. And what I have to show are these dance segments....
(Note: I might reference A Chorus Line as an American classic is root of commercial formatted shows like SYTYCD where the insight into people (their stories) and competitive-ness was first exposed in the Bwy show (the art). Can’t loose touch with the soul of where entertainment comes from...etc.)

(Dancers come on stage)

Soft Shoe/pseudo-tap bit....(use some of the material re-arranged later)

AMD counts maybe. Then the WALTZ comments (won't use any of this material)

BIG FINALE Dance Segment to End (this is what need be taught to some extent later in NYC)

(AMD comes back with Mic) OK great, thank you everyone! Ted can you get a lead sheet and sing a couple lines?

Ted sings “I’m Really Dancing”

Slow fade to BLACK OUT


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