Amanda’s Journal: May 13, 2005 Friday

Friday, May 13, 2005

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I finally made it back to class this week, after being away on Monday and in the studio with SharpWire on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sean Feldman was teaching and the class was great. It was very luscious and high energy and my brain had to work very quickly to pick up the complex combinations that they had been working on all week. You know, I just really enjoy moving my body in that way. You sort of consciously move back and forth through the passive and active.

After class Sue and got to talk about my stay so far. We talked a lot about the art of choreography and of the quest to let things happen. She made a comment last week regarding the desire to have her work be about one or two concepts, and of the realities of always wanting to add more in. To hear someone I admire talk of the fears and insecurities is amazingly refreshing! It is also an important element in my development to understand that things will work and things won’t work and that is forever a part of it. Sue and I spoke a bit more about what I am aiming to get out of my fellowship with her. I am interested in the process of bringing the movement sketches into the practical application of setting it all into a choreographic context and staging the work. I understand the process of being in the studio with the dancers to develop movement, and I understand working on a constructed pieced to get out of the dancers a physical interpretation of what already exists. Those are the things that the dancer is inherently involved in and those are the elements that I have been a part of both in my career as a dancer and in how I have staged and created works so far. It is the in between that I want to dive into, the process of picking, and choosing, and constructing.

Next week, for three days anyway, the company will be working on some more movement ideas for the new piece. I am looking forward to getting back into the new piece and to getting more information in regards to what the piece will be focusing on so that I can have that as a reference when observing the creation process. I will be coming back in the fall when the new piece will be what is worked on, probably exclusively. So far this has been an enriching experience and one that is almost immeasurable in how I have been affected. My ideas regarding spacing and staging are really getting an overhaul. Even my ideas regarding movement and style are being challenged. Of course there are always the insecurities of moving yourself in a new direction. I still feel a struggle in letting go of my classical background. I have spoken a bit about this with Sue and she continues to keep me thinking, and she continues to tell me that I do not have to abandon anything. Just today she said, rather simply but quite complex, that my medium is dance. I am using dance to tell my story and I can use dance in any way to get that across. (This is so not as eloquent as she was in saying it to me but I am just going to have to live with my own re-interpretations for now.) There is no reason that a large sweep of the arm cannot come from a genuine and sincere place, or that a pointed foot has to be a balletic re-hash of an old idea. If I am clear in what I want to say then I can use any means to speak.

It has been a pretty full on week here as the Scratch performances at the BAC opened last night. Tobin and I spent the weekend in Brighton with Pete and Tina B. Pete and Tobin got to work on some music and video elements for the piece and I was given a scientific paper on Saccades and Fixations and how to go about figuring out which eye movements were which. Tobin knew he liked to sounds of the words and the cold science of the idea but could not quite make out the concept of the article. It was actually through this article that I came up with some movement ideas for the piece.

In mapping eye movements there are saccades and fixations, the saccades are the moments of fast movement where the person is not seeing, the fixations are the moments where the eye is seeing. When one removes the saccades and collapses the fixations one image is created and that is the whole picture that a person sees. Or something liked that! So my thought for creating movements was that in a dance phrase there would be moments that relate to the elements of Oedipus that we wanted to explore. If one were to remove all the unrelated elements and then bring together the related ones to create a new phrase, the new phrase would have a central moment that can be highlighted expanded and explored in its own right to become the most clear concept of the story. ???

So, in the studio with Matt and Helen, the performers, we sort of worked backwards. First finding what movements would clearly express the central idea, then how that movement could be the center of a short, simple phrase. I wanted to be sure that the performers were comfortable with the movements and that they had a personal and emotional investment in them because these would be the movements that we would draw from for the piece. Instead of setting choreography in two days, as they were just getting libretto and music and text and stage directions for operating in the videoscapes, I would have them improvise with the key moments that we had created. My thought was that that way they would be able to react emotionally to the time and space in which they were performing while still having relevance to the piece as a whole.