As we rapidly approach the Emory Dance Company Spring Concert, we have the opportunity to hear from more of our student choreographers about their works in progress. They will give us some insight to their choreographic process by detailing their challenges, triumphs, and aspirations for their pieces.
The inspiration for this piece I’m working on came after I had sprained my ankle badly and ended up on crutches for two weeks. In the weeks that followed I found myself on the phone for hours trying to reach the billing department at the hospital, the insurance company, the doctor’s office etc. It was frustrating being put on hold one call after the other and being subjected to listen to awful call waiting music, which really only made the wait worse. This piece is investigating these everyday, mundane situations where we are forced to wait. I initially also wanted to experiment with the concept of weight itself through using contact improvisation as a choreographic tool, so this may (or may not) be incorporated along the way.
Working with a small cast of four has been extremely rewarding in that we have really been able to have meaningful exchanges during rehearsal. My dancers are eager to learn and embody the movement, which I really appreciate! When movement isn’t working they are also great problem solvers and give a plethora of suggestions on what we can do instead. Each of my dancers has a unique movement style and I want to give them the opportunity to contribute to my piece. At our last rehearsal they each manipulated a phrase using different choreographic tools, which we will work on piecing together to create a duet and two solos.
The greatest challenge in the development of my piece has been trying to figure out the message I want to convey and how to go about expressing that. I have many ideas and trying to narrow them down has been difficult. Additionally, since this piece will provide commentary on everyday situations, such as awkward elevator rides, I’m trying to find ways to balance pedestrian movement and theatrics. I have no background or previous experience in theater so it is path I’m hesitant to go down, however I do acknowledge that it may very well assist my piece.
The feedback sessions with other choreographers have been extremely helpful in providing possible future directions for this work. Moreover, living inside the piece, my dancers and I know where we are coming from and what we want to convey. At the same time we are not always the best at evaluating if our message is getting across. Being able to share my choreographic process with my peers and fellow choreographers has been extremely helpful in this regard and I am very grateful for their honest feedback and commentary.
It has been very interesting to witness how this piece has morphed, which is very different from what I had imagined it to be at the beginning of the semester. I'm excited to keep working on this with my dancers and to see the final product in April!