A friend of mine recently posted an interview with me on her website. So great to think through my dancing history…thanks Bonnie!
Archive for February, 2012
We had a wonderful, fun rehearsal this week at the lovely Greenspan dance studio in Williamsburg, and I found myself gazing at the dancers like I often caught my dad doing to me and my sister as teenagers. We’d start to feel a warm spot on the backs of our heads and when we turned around there he was, glowing at us. I’d roll my eyes with a loud “DAD!?” and the spell would be broken.
Well, now it’s my turn. Of course with my children it’s much worse, but these dancers pull such sweetness out of me, even I can’t stand it sometimes. They are amazing…beautiful, smart, tireless, and mind readers to boot!
Back in July 2011 I decided it was finally time to take the plunge and begin this new work that had been brewing in my soul for over a few years. I knew the piece would be about family. My family, your family… I knew the cast would have to embody these characters vigorously and have a vibrant chemistry with one another. I immediately invited Xan Burley and Alex Springer over for dinner and asked them to play Mother and Father. I had worked with this dynamic duo over the previous two years in the creation and reincarnations of Selvedge, and I knew they would be able to fulfill the piece with their gloriously nuanced movement invention, savvy and fearless partnering, and general aesthetic chutzpah. Plus–they’re married!!! (I found this a very helpful quality during our recent love scene video shoot…more on that later.)
Which left Daughter and Son. The tricky thing about casting this piece is its character-based nature. I had pretty specific notions of what I wanted these characters to be like, so it was a little like searching for the people who looked and behaved exactly like the fantasies in my mind, hoping that they even existed outside the confines of my skull…and if they did, hoping they were modern dancers. Who lived in NYC. Who were deeply talented performers willing to spend hours and weeks and months together going to awkward and exquisite physical and emotional places with an equally quixotic hope that they’d get paid at the end.
I almost can’t believe it, still. But these people do exist, they are dancers in NY, and they are talented, generous and daring enough to explore and embody this vision with me. Thank you, Janna Diamond and Niko Tsocanos! Hope you don’t mind the warm light radiating toward you from my face…
I thought I’d write about the waters from which the idea for Requiem for This arose. But as I swim backwards through the creative dreamings and schemings that led to this project, I’m finding those waters pretty murky. It seems that the work’s genesis is less a linear river of thoughts and events, and more a circling eddy of permeable and osmosing ideas, longings, interests and experiences. I have no way to identify the exact moment of conception…I suppose I could cite the moment of my conception, but even that loses sight of the influence of my parents’ histories and their parents’ histories, etc., etc. Anyway, you get the idea.
Well, a few generative moments are floating to the surface, and I hereby attempt to make sense of them…
–The summer of 2009, I worked briefly on a new idea exploring identity as a kind of “core sample” of personal history, but viewed and experienced not from the side, as individual strata delineating clear seasons in time, but from above, looking down through the core sample and getting all that history mottled and compressed into one moment. The piece never found its feet but I find myself referring to it now as a potent descriptive device for many elements of Requiem for This.
–About 2 years ago Evan Mazunik (composer, friend) asked me to answer a handful of questions as the featured artist of the month on the blog he and his wife, Colette, created in search of an environment “where exploration, improvisation, and expression are encouraged, where making things is valued more than consuming things.” (You can read the interview here.) The last question prompted a series of ideas for a piece that takes place in a home. With candles. I’m pretty sure this dreaming starting the ball rolling, consciously, and it turns out that candles will indeed play a prominent role.
–Also a couple years ago another idea really captivated me, and I was sure this was the next big piece I’d make. It would have been a reworking of my earlier Flypaper Dances (2005), with a darker tone, set to a Requiem to be composed by the aforementioned Mazunik. I had gotten through the initial brainstorming phase, cast a few dancers, written a couple of grant applications, worked with Evan on a few musical sketches for the piece, and began toying with the idea of titling the piece Requiem. Then I discovered I was pregnant again and all work ceased.
–I believe it was then that my family life took on a more dramatic and pained quality, and my features began to cultivate the constant look of an unwilling martyr. The subsequent experiences with my children and husband probably influence the work most directly. Requiem for This being somewhat autobiographical, I’ve got a lot of serious research under my belt! Thankfully for us all, the experiences have finally begun to sweeten, so the dance will encompass the rapturous glories as well as the frustrations of family life (especially as this year I’m attempting to give up complaining for Lent).
–With Orion’s growing independence, Leif’s entrance into Kindergarten, and my emergence from a depression that convinced my husband I needed to be making dances, I allowed myself to consider the tentative possibility of maybe attempting to explore the potential of endeavoring to embark upon the unfolding journey of a seed idea that I began to allude to by the working title, Requiem for This…
And we’re off!!!!!
Alright! It’s nap time, Leif’s at school and I have 7 minutes before my alarm tells me to go pick him up. The perfect, focused time to jump start a production blog about my upcoming show, Requiem for This. So…