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!
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