Tuesday, April 22, 2014

EDC Spring 2014: A Few Words from our Choreographers (Part 9)

It's finally here! The Emory Dance Company spring concert, Pluto's Renaissance, is finally here!  We've also come to the end of our journey exploring the choreographic processes of our nine student-choreographers. Here is our last choreographer, discussing the inspirations, processes, and aspirations for his piece.

James LaRussa, Sophomore

The title of my work, Involuntary, spawned from my thoughts, experiences, and exposure to emotional manipulations.  Throughout my choreographic process of this work, I brainstormed different ways, reasons, and effects of emotional manipulation and control.  The movement in Involuntary explores the physical and mental effects of someone’s state of mind and self-control, becoming overtaken and misused by another.  Often times the victim of such control theft fails to realize what is happening until some tragic experience opens her eyes to the realization.  Other times if the victim sees the negative direction of the situation, what kind of heartbreak or betrayal will this individual experience after such intense deception, and how will she recover from living as a victim of dishonesty and deception?  Throughout the work, I experimented with different ways to embody these feelings and how to evoke an emotional reaction from the audience. 

I am rehearsing with 8 women regularly who embody the choreography and physically devote themselves to the movement.  I find it important for my dancers to connect emotionally with the movement, so that they may better evoke the emotional depravity of the work.  This spring I have been choreographing around this main vision; however, I highly value my dancers’ input and choreographic techniques as well.  Often times, the dancers and I collaborate on different movements and effort qualities, adding admired variance to the work.  Because of how devoted my dancers have been throughout the semester, I haven’t found any major challenges or obstacles that halted my flow during my choreographic experience, which I am greatly thankful for. 

I value the feedback sessions I attend every week as equally as I value my dancers’ dedication to the movement I create.  Watching the developing processes of the other choreographers allows me to remain aware of possible ways I can develop my own choreography.  During these feedback sessions, I also receive student and professional feedback on my created movements.  I highly value my peers and professors’ opinions and recommendations of my work and in what direction they see it moving.  I do my best to incorporate everyone’s critiques and to constantly reevaluate my work to produce a mature piece of art.  I’d like to give a final thank you to my cast for all your hard work and dedication, as well as a thank you to my fellow choreographers and professors who helped guide me toward my finished product.

Thanks, James!

Don't miss the Emory Dance Company Spring Showcase.  Click here for more details.
For more information on the Emory Dance Program, please go to our website.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

EDC Spring 2014: A Few Words from our Choreographers (Part 8)

This is it: only two more weeks until the premier of "Pluto's Renaissance," the Emory Dance Company's spring showcase! Our nine student-choreographers are setting the final touches and preparing to bring the Emory community an amazing show! Let's continue our journey into the processes of our student-choreographers and hear what they have to say about their works for "Pluto's Renaissance." 

Sarah Beach, Junior

I began my work with the notion that I wanted to explore the concept of nostalgia, particularly when one thinks of a happy memory that brings a feeling of sadness because it's over. I like the contrast between the two, and from that idea created a phrase of choreography. I tried to incorporate many level changes while maintaining flow with abrupt accents.  Upon watching my dancers perform this bit of choreography in rehearsal, my thoughts for the piece completely shifted. It was like watching the waves of the sea shift and crash and flow and fall. 

This image influenced the rest of my piece and took it to a completely different place than I initially intended. From there on out, I thought of other images related to the ocean: waves gently rising on the shore, the soft rocking of a boat on the water, riptides silently but aggressively pulling something under, or the morning fog that slowly rolls in on a bay. I used those as inspiration for my choreographic choices, both movement-wise and spatially. The sinusoidal motion of the dancers is largely representative of the movement and depth of tides. 

When trying to decide on a title for my piece, I asked my dancers how they felt while performing it. My dancers are so incredibly talented (and patient!) and I love hearing their feedback and opinions, especially when I've hit choreographer's block. One responded that she felt as if she was wandering, as if she was reliving a memory. This lead me to realize that even when I thought I had completely left my initial idea behind, it still lingered in the undercurrents of the piece I ended up creating. This lead me to the word adrift, which worked for both the ocean imagery, the feeling of wandering through a memory, and it added a sense of buoyancy. 

I'm so grateful for all the incredible resources that we have access to through the Emory Dance Program, such as professional lighting designers, costume makers, and seasoned choreographers who offer valuable feedback.  They've allowed me to create a piece that fulfills my vision, something I never thought i would have the opportunity to. Most of all, I'm thankful for my five beautiful, intelligent, and talented dancers, who all work so hard to get everything right and deal with my insane analogies, like "egg-rocks" and "hatching kelp creatures." I'm so excited to see it on stage so soon!

Thanks, Sarah!

Don't miss the Emory Dance Company Spring Showcase.  Click here for more details.
For more information on the Emory Dance Program, please go to our website.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

EDC Spring 2014: A Few Words from our Choreographers (Part 7)

This is it: only a few more weeks until the premier of "Pluto's Renaissance", the Emory Dance Company's spring showcase! Our nine choreographers are refining their pieces, their works coming to conclusion, but we still have a few more to hear from. Let's delve deeper into the processes of our choreographers and gain some insight as to what they'll present in "Pluto's Renaissance".  

Lu Arechiga, Senior

My choreographic process is very jumbled: there’s an array of ideas that intrigue me that I want to incorporate. Incorporate, not highlight—I don’t want any idea but the main one to dominate the others. With that being said, it’s been a struggle to try and discretely incorporate everything and stay focused on that dominant idea. In the incorporation of multiple ideas I’d like to think that my main concept has morphed rather than shifted.  Rather than portraying something fun and jumbled with a performance mind set, it has shifted to setting something on stage that doesn't belong there while still performing. I want to have a party on stage that disregards the audience for the most part and let’s them just sit back and experience a “dance” in the wrong context.

I often create movement I really like and then try to manipulate it to fit in with the rest of the piece. Even though I like my choreography it is a challenge to translate it onto other dancer’s bodies. For example, I know I have to articulate my movement super clearly because poor phrasing creates entirely different choreography. Sometimes I inspire movement within my dancers that brings out their individuality and sometimes I just modify their ideas or use them as inspiration to fit them better into what I want. My dancers have collaborated and created sections of movement together that I manipulated to intertwine with mine. My dancers have had the greatest influence on the piece by expressing their individuality and highlighting their own personal movement quirks.

The feedback sessions during the Choreography II class have helped me stay focused on my goal by making me realize what I definitely don’t want even when I’m not sure of what I do want. These sessions have also made me realize that you can’t please everyone with the final product, so the main purpose is to please yourself.  My cast is great though, a little too gentle for my taste at times, but I think rehearsal is always fun! When it comes down to it, I trust my dancers will perform how I want them too because they trust me to put it all together and create a really abstractly enjoyable piece that comments on stereotypes I hope to convey!

Thanks, Lu!

Don't miss the Emory Dance Company Spring Showcase.  Click here for more details.
For more information on the Emory Dance Program, please go to our website.