Thursday 8 September 2016

Technical Rehearsal

Here is the dance, the sound and the lighting all coming together ready for the first (and final?) live performance.

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Third and Fourth Rehearsal

Following the first two rehearsals there were about 3 or 4 weeks with no contact as I was on holiday. I had been very pleased with the improvisations that the dancers had made around the themes I wanted to explore with extremes of emotions. It had become clear to me that a duet between Jem and James would work well as the main part of the performance. There is something about the way they move that creates a sense of 'unheimlich' (literal translation from German is 'unhomely') or uncanny and that is a theme running through the work that I want to explore. Dan and Jack could provide an interpretive role by watching and using their moves to puzzle over and decipher the emotions between the dancers and eventually join in to explore their own emotional states.

I'd been thinking about trying to make a music cut or a storyboard or something to begin to work out a structure but didn't really know how I should approach this or where to start in terms of dancers expectations. Rachel advised NOT to start with music as this would be too rigid. She kindly picked my brain, contributed some good ideas and acted as scribe extraordinaire so we had a plan for the third rehearsal.

On Saturday morning we cracked right into it! And it worked surprisingly well. Rachel had the playlist from SamULG for the music and we found about 4 tracks that were good to use. We set the first 3 parts/phrases/scenes (what do you call in dance - no idea???) quite thoroughly although we didn't have music for the 'control' duet. Again I was absolutely overwhelmed by the dancers skill and ability to translate my garbled instructions in to something amazing. Thanks to Sally and Rachel for help with interpretation. And to Dan and Jack for some really good ideas to progress the choreography for Jem and James. I became more confident to give instructions, make changes, say no to suggestions that really didn't work for me and so on.

The last rehearsal was the following day. My daughter was having a little party so the rest of the day was spent cooking and hanging fairy lights. No time to reflect before we're in the studio again. The one thing I could do over breakfast was to try to find the music we were still lacking and - bingo - looking through the playlist on my phone I discovered a strings version of Joy Division's 'Shes Lost Control' by  the Vitamin String Quartet (VSA). Perfect!

So by the end of Sunday morning we had cracked it and with a 'flocking' ending. Apparently this is a technique that is bit of a cliche in the dance world but for the purposes of finishing the work on a playful and upbeat vibe, and with Sally's advice to the dancers to refine it, I think it works perfectly.

So I have edited together video of the whole piece and it runs about 12 minutes. I'd love to post it here. But I won't! Not yet! Come and see live on Sunday 21st at 8pm. Farnham Maltings.

Sunday 14 August 2016

Finding the structure and the music

A big thanks to Rachel Palmer for helping me sort my ideas into a structure before 3rd rehearsal on Saturday and to SamULG for recommending some great ideas for music that we have used along with a great string interpretation of Joy Division's 'She's Lost Control' that I found minutes before the last rehearsal this morning.

So now we have set the whole 12 mintue performance with a possible few tweaks to follow at the technical rehearsal next Saturday. The last two days have been so exciting and fantastic to see this piece come together with my ideas, improvisation from the amazing dancers and guidance from Sally and Rachel.  Further blog to follow about Jem and James' duet with Dan and Jack as the puzzled watchers who join in the dance in the final stages.

Saturday 6 August 2016

Second Rehearsal

I have just returned from a lovely family holiday in Santorini and didn't get a chance to blog about this before I left. My recollections now are that I wanted to lift the mood and work with a more calm, loving and fun vibe than the first rehearsal as a counterpoint to the anxiety, stressful and manic modes we had explored in the first rehearsal.

The dancers really engaged with the four areas of the room that I mapped out for different emotions and interactions and I will be going through the video rushes in the next few days to try to pick sequences and begin to 'set' (if that is the right term) for the final choreography.

During the week I also hope to work on music and sounds that we can sequence into some kind of timeline to structure the finished piece.

Here is Rachel's updated post on The DanceMovement blog:

Thursday 14 July 2016

First rehearsal

Somewhat overwhelmed. I came away from this first rehearsal quite numb - even slightly traumatised - and needed to wait a few days to revisit the video and make some sense of what we had achieved. The dancers were completely awesome and gave so much energy and support to my ideas.  I didn't expect this so a massive thank you to you all.

I was a bit apprehensive, shy and not a very able communicator when it came to direction. Sally Marie spent a lot of time with me trying to understand what I am trying to achieve which is a complex task given I'm not even sure. But she teased out some meaningful themes and she guided the dancers to improvise around these ideas.

I have about 15 mins of video that I have edited back to 8 mins of great sequences that we can begin to develop next Sunday. On reflection - it all got a bit more angst ridden and violent than I imagined it would. We cut to the chase really quickly and that was weird. So next week I think we can work on calm and love! Perhaps explore that as a meaningful contrast and juxtaposition to the completely relevant and necessary structure of difficult themes around mental health for which the dancers have already created some amazing choreography that we can build on in future sessions.

Rachel made a great post on the DanceMovement blog that summed up the day perfectly... my video upload to follow later.

Saturday 9 July 2016

I've not got a lot of laughs in here!

Oh no - what to do about that???

Note to self: I need some humour to communicate a difficult subject!

First reheasal tomorrow

So not sure where I am going with this... but excited about the first rehearsal with the dancers tomorrow. I will need a lot of help from Sally Marie to translate all this into some kind of sense for the dancers but hoping I can show them this blog to start developing ideas.

Push and pull
Chaos and calm
Fast and slow
Big and small
Loud and quiet

Need to think about music...maybe examples

And about space... here are some plans of the Brislington Asylum near Bristol that maybe helpful for mapping out movement in imaginary spaces.