Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Working with the Narrative Dance Form

As part of our series of Emory Dance Company choreographer posts, this week senior dance major Lindsay Reich describes the piece she is developing for the spring Emory Dance Company concert.

My current project for the Spring Emory Dance Company performance is a duet with Jaqueline Woo and Stephanie Binkow. We are developing an abstract narrative dance to George Gershwin’s most famous composition, "Rhapsody in Blue." The choreography is inspired by black and white silent films, creating a humorous exchange between the two dancers. By rapidly manipulating the dancer’s role within the relationship, the audience is challenged to develop their own understanding of the characters and the constantly shifting narrative.

We began the rehearsal process discussing the complicated dynamics between female friendships. We asked a variety of questions including: How do friendships emerge? What do girls want or need from a friendship? What kind of arguments do girlfriends get into? What causes a friendship to end? Based on this information, we outlined a simple narrative that provided a structure for the dance. Once we completed a draft of the dance, we are now in the process of editing and elaborating the movement.

Currently, my biggest challenge is to find a balance between a literal narrative and abstract movement. I want to allow the audience to draw personal meaning from a non-sequential narrative rather than causing complete confusion! This project has been a challenging yet fun approach to the narrative dance form and I am looking forward to see how the work unveils.

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