Friday, April 15, 2016

Emory Dance Company Spring Concert 2016 "undertow": Choreographer Spotlight

After a successful opening night, read below about a few of our choreographers and their choreographic process!

Eliza Krakower

Junior, Dance & Movement Studies/ Human Health Double Major

I began this piece with the simple intention of making a work that was pleasing to the eye. It would be dynamic, detailed, and highly athletic. My choreographic process called upon the heightened creativity of my dancers, asking them to explore movement connected to verbal phrases such as popping bubbles or crawling through tubes. With no inner narrative guiding the structure of my piece I leave it up to the audience to draw their own connections and find meaning, or take the work at face value. In a dance about the movement and the architecture that four moving bodies can create I charge my dancers to find the rumble within their bodies that drives all impulses and ideas, and the rhythm beneath their skin that’s biting to escape.   

Jessica Bertram

Junior, Dance & Movement Studies/ Anthropology & Human Biology Double Major

I was initially interested in creating a movement vocabulary that was full of energy, power, and strength. I wanted my dancers to embody a percussive rhythm even without the music score being set. From the beginning, I instructed my dancers to "feel" one another and to stay connected and never leave each other behind. This movement concept and quality transcended into a piece about the agency of the group and the individual. I was captivated by my dancers individuality since their audition process and even though they often dance as "one", it was very important to me that the audience see the dancer's individual story. 

The music score was selected from composer Steve Reich's Early Works, as it combines looped text from the civil rights movement and cuban missile crisis. These historical elements are not only a reflection of the past, but an analysis of why these events are relative and reoccurring today. Almost as to say, why are we still fighting these battles?

The concept of  this piece became layered in themes of politics and spirituality, as my intentions shifted to create a work that dealt with the human struggle. Through exhaustion and physical difficulty, I wanted to portray the fight and commitment towards a common goal. This piece, titled "For Ev'ry Mountain" is touching on taking action and actively overcoming life's obstacles. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Emory Dance Company Spring Concert 2016 "undertow": Choreographer Spotlight

Tonight is the final dress rehearsal before the premiere of "undertow"! Read below about our choreographers as they anxiously await opening night!

Elyse Schupak

Senior, Business and Dance Double Major

In creating a piece for the Emory Dance Company concert this spring, I was interested in exploring disconnect, the idea that we are often the most lonely when we are surrounded by people we love or the most unfulfilled when our lives are filled with achievement. The choreographic process was extremely collaborative. I called upon my dancers to translate the way they experience disconnect into movement and much of that movement was incorporated into the piece.

Working with music was a central element in the choreographic process. I wanted to use familiar songs that many people have a personal connection to. Elvis Presley seemed like a natural fit to create a nostalgic and emotional environment. I strived for the choreography itself to be largely unemotional. I wanted to create juxtaposition between the emotionally charged music and the detached choreography to convey this idea of disconnect.

The title of the piece, Prologue, stems from the idea of exploring what comes before. I am interested in how our experiences, upbringing, and perspective influence our ability to cope with disappointment and failure as well as how they influence how we experience joy and success.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Emory Dance Company Spring Concert 2016 "undertow": Choreographer Spotlight

With just a few days left until opening night, read below about a few of our choreographers and their choreographic process!

Allison Carr

Senior, Neurobehavioral Biology and Dance Double Major

My original idea was to create choreography inspired by the music. This piece explores the dancers' relationship between both the music and between each other on the stage. As the piece progressed, another theme emerged - the power of moving as an individual compared to the power of moving as a group. The piece also explores movement's strength and meaning when dancers move in groups of different sizes.

Virginia Spinks

Junior, Dance & Movement Studies/ Religion & Anthropology Double Major

This work, really began with an idea; the idea of resistance to change. I knew that I also wanted to make a piece with emotional impact. I have learned form my time in the department that often the impact is created in a more effective way when a mover can fully embody an idea or emotion, and pour their intention into their physical performance, rather than focussing on an emotional performance. I then had to figure out how to embody this idea, and I translated it into the physical wish to not want to be moved--to remain stable. Thus, I started with the movement vocabulary, creating it from thinking about a force outside of my body that I was resisting, which created really bound and uncomfortable movement. I did not want the first part of the piece to be aesthetically pleasing--I wanted it to fully embody what it feels like to want to stand your ground despite so much force trying to pull you away. For me, form was secondary--I let the movement create the form. 

Additionally, I knew that I wanted the piece to follow a loose narrative structure that showed what it is like to just accept change--without emotion or judgement. So I decided that the second part of the piece would use the same movement vocabulary as the first, just with a different physical intention in the performance of it. The process of setting this work was challenging at times because I was asking myself and my dancers to work in ways that none of us have worked before. I wanted us to stray away from craving to create a dance that is pleasing to the eye, and to fully invest ourselves in this one particular idea. It was difficult to teach movement vocabulary that was sometimes foreign to the body knowledge and experience my talented dancers have, but through much deep physical work and imagery work, I think we have arrived at the place I intended. I am excited to see how it will all come together this week and to see how the work will be received. The piece is entitled "After It Expires."

Emory Dance Company Spring Concert 2016 "undertow": Choreographer Spotlight

With just a few days left until opening night, read below about a few of our choreographers and their choreographic process!

Cherry Fung

Junior, Dance & Movement Studies Major

As a Beijing native, I have witnessed and experienced the increasing impact of smog on people's lives in the city. From apathy to worry, desperation and pure dejection, people are constantly shifting and readjusting their mental states to better cope with the situation. As a choreographer, I am interested in abstracting movements from behaviors driven by the feelings stated above. Furthermore, I want to explore the concept of individualism and community within my choreography. Inspired by how people deal with smog in Beijing, I want to translate the mental state of a community coping with something unavoidable and seemingly unfixable into movements.

Kaitlin Lipner

Senior, Biology and Dance Double Major

To create this work, I adhered to an overall structure that I imagined before the dancers were even cast. That structure was to start as group, move into a solo for each dancer, and to end as a group. Further, each solo would be framed by the other dancers arranged as if in the corps of a ballet. Very soon after I began choreographing, it became clear that there was something humorous about the piece and I decided to fully embrace the comedy. Ultimately the purpose of this work is two-fold, to both showcase the amazingly talented dancers and also to entertain.