Pardon our Progress 3, the cast

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…

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