Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Learning from the Master: Noa Wertheim

Noa Wertheim (center) teaching class. Photo Credit: Lori Teauge
On Saturday October 18, Emory Dance had the honor of hosting a master class taught by Noa Wertheim, founder and artistic director of Israel based Vertigo Dance Company!

Emory sophomore and dance student Emma Neish attended class and now shares with us what she learned from her encounter with Noa. 


I have so much respect for the talented individuals who not only make art, but also incorporate it into their life. Noa’s movement and teaching immediately identified her as one of those gifted artists. 

Photo Credit: Lori Teague
In the span of a short morning class she helped me identify patterns in my dancing and aspects of my movement that I typically return to. While familiar movement can create a personal style, it can also be limiting. She first showed us how to continue with a movement. Instead of creating a snapshot image, we created a video. We began with a slow shift of weight and felt how one movement connects to another. Her movement felt very deliberate and grounded. She emphasized connectivity within the body, around the body, and between the body and the floor. By simply refocusing attention to my feet, core and the floor, I was much more stable- a key element in not only her movement but all dance. We continued with leaning and rolling, trying to make the movements feel effortless. Noa showed us that movement is simply weight transfer and if you can master and control your body in relation to gravity, the movement becomes “effortless”. 

Her advice resonated with me because after an hour of experimenting with weight transfer, rolling and falling I felt a new ease to my dancing. The feeling of effortlessness in dance is freeing and this inspired new movement and experimentation. Her suggestion to continue with a movement became clearer and instead of returning to my familiar affinities, I began to push the limits of weight transfer and balance. 

This class definitely inspired "aha!" moments and improved my self-awareness, creativity, and attention to connectivity.  ​

What great insight!

For information on the Emory Dance Program, please go to our website or check out our Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Restaging, Reflecting: Bebe Miller's "Prey"

Bebe Miller and the cast of "Prey"

This semester, Emory University students had the honor of restaging Bebe Miller's "Prey"! In a joint intensive with Agnes Scott College, students first learned the work from a Labanotation score, and later had the privilege of working with Bebe Miller herself! 

Emory University sophomore and dance major Talia Gergely took a moment to share her thoughts on the restaging process with us, as well as some of the wise words Miller left with her.


Working with Bebe Miller was an experience beyond what I could have expected. I also loved collaborating with Agnes Scott Dancers. I always enjoy working with new dancers and these dancers contributed such a loving and supportive energy to the rehearsal process. In the work, 
Prey, I perform a duet with dancer Diarra Web, from Agnes Scott College. Considering the fact that I was working with someone I have never met nor danced with before, we had a really great experience moving together. The one thing we did have in common was the mutual language of dance and sharing weight. Like Bebe said, "you may not know who you are dancing with, but you know how much they weigh".

A small portion of the Labanotation score for "Prey"
Learning from a Laban Score was also a new experience for me, but I enjoyed it! Every question that came up in rehearsal had an answer that could be found in the Laban notation, and as Bebe said, the Laban notation should also be helpful in a way that it includes the intention behind the movement, more than just the gesture or physical shape of the body. The purpose of notating a work is to record the intention and essence of the piece, which, as Bebe said, is stronger than a video.

Talia Gergely rehearsing
Bebe reminded us that when we move it is important to distinguish the energy behind movement as opposed to simply placing the movement in the space. In her Creativity Conversation, Bebe stated that her inspiration comes from "an unexpected moment of beauty" and "moments that become artful and 3-dimensional are what make life worth living for".

Overall, I found so much depth in this three day intensive with Bebe Miller and I appreciated how she encouraged us to be more grounded and connected within ourselves and with the dancers around us.

I'm so excited to perform this work at both Agnes Scott College and Emory University!

Thank you, Talia!

For information on the Emory Dance Program, please go to our website or check out our Facebook page.