Friday, April 3, 2015

Emory Dance Company Spring 2015: Inside the Choreographer's Mind

Now that we're in April, the Emory Dance Company Spring Concert: Searchlight is just around the corner! With only two weeks until the beginning of tech rehearsals, our choreographers are beginning to bring their pieces to a close and starting to fine tune their works!


Elyse Schupak

I began this process with the concept of sentimentality, the idea of recalling moments of the past that are filled with meaning, but are nearly impossible to communicate to someone who wasn't there. I have taken on the challenge of trying to communicate some of my own deeply personal memories through choreography and I have called upon my dancers to do the same. Central to this idea are personal connections and relationships. Fond memories are often so, not because of the time or place or important event experienced, but because of the people or person the moment was shared with. Translating all of these ideas into movement has presented so many questions and challenges already, but I look forward to finding as many answers as I can.

The choreographic process started for me in a logical way. I created phrases in chronological order, and in true Type A form I came into each rehearsal with a typed out agenda. But as rehearsals progressed, it became clear that in order to explore the emotional themes I was interested in, I would need to relinquish some control. I started allowing myself to improvise more and encouraged the dancers to discover movement and ideas with one another. I am not used to letting go in this way, but the movement my dancers have created has been so impressive and so important in making the piece something personal for all of us. As the semester progresses, I am trying to value the process as much as the final product. I have the opportunity to take ideas that have been swirling around in my head for so long and turn them into something real. What an incredibly rare opportunity!

Looking forward and thinking about seeing my piece on stage in front of an audience is exciting and extraordinarily scary. I told my dancers in our first rehearsal that I want to make someone in the audience cry (and my mom doesn't count). Although I wasn't totally serious when I said this, I do believe in the sentiment. I want the audience, or at least someone in the audience, to feel an emotional connection to the piece, to the dancers, or to the choreography.  Emotional connection is what engages me in dance and I would love to offer this to someone else.

As we get closer and closer to performance time, I am excited to see how it all comes together. I am also incredibly excited to see how the work of my peers continues to develop and progress. This choreographic process has been a community endeavor and I can’t wait to see what myself and my fellow choreographers produce!

Don't miss the Emory Dance Company Spring Concert, Searchlight! Click here for more details. For more information on the Emory Dance Program, please go to our website or check out our Facebook page.

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