This week we'll post some reflections from Emory Dance faculty members Gregory Catellier and George Staib. In January, they presented a collaborative concert at 7 Stages Theater in Atlanta. Greg shares his thoughts on the collaboration below; look for George's blog post later the week.
Recently my colleague and friend George Staib and I presented our fourth collaboration, I, at 7 Stages in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta. We each premiered three pieces. Simultaneously we produced I.C.E.: Independent Choreographers Exchange, a showcase of works by emerging and recently transplanted Atlanta choreographers. All in all, it was a successful endeavor.
The collaboration George and I enjoy is happily multifaceted. It does not center on our dance making processes, although we ask and give each other advice on choreographic predicaments. I also design the lighting for his work, another traditional collaboration.
I would claim that we collaborate more profoundly through the structure of our process leading to the performance. We share space (the theater), resources, and some dancers. We plan the show order, select stage settings, and choose the postcard and program design. We divide some of these tasks and trust each other to make the appropriate decisions. While they may seem mundane, it is these decisions and hundreds of others that craft the show.
I would also contend that the choosing of each other as partners constitutes a critical component of the collaboration. By sharing a performance with George, I assert that I admire his choreography and want my work to be seen with his. It is also significant that by placing our pieces next to each others, the dances change. This is the peanut butter and chocolate effect of our collaboration—two great tastes!