Emory Dance Company student choreographers are blogging about their choreographic process throughout the semester. This week senior dance major Leigh Ann Kabatra describes the piece she is developing for the spring Emory Dance Company concert.
My piece explores the decay of a relationship. At the beginning of the piece, the relationship is loving and healthy but quickly becomes tense and strained. The dancers’ movement alternates between elegant and sharp. Parts of the piece are very gentle and relaxed, while others are bound, athletic, and jagged.
I begin each section of the piece by creating a core phrase that all the dancers learn. After practicing the phrase with all the dancers, I manipulate the original phrase so that each dancer has a unique version. The dancers then perform their unique phrases at the same time, allowing them to move in and out of unison and indulge in parts of their phrase work without worrying about timing or cues.
My dancers have developed much of the piece’s movement themselves. We began one rehearsal with a structured improvisation in partnering, and the dancers developed such rich, natural movement that I had them continue partnering and improvising to create even more. The dancers developed more exciting movement with one another than I could create on my own, and we are still working with improvisation to develop more partnering phrases.