Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Week #1: Supper Rehearsals "Decisions move you"

My first day on the job took place in the beautiful studios on Walnut above Banana Republic. What a beautiful space! The first rehearsal was with two dancers: Beth and Will. I found it interesting that Silvana (the director and choreographer) choreographed before hearing the music. The music for the entire work consists of short soundscapes that were created by Nick Zammutto. I immediately saw an emphasis on shapes and visuals in Silvana's work. The duet's physical choreography produced many images for the viewer to follow. There was also discussion that the choreography was meant to portray mobility and decisions. This is based on the movement and decision making that immigrants experience when they are "on the move".  Silvana instructed the dancers by saying “decisions move you” and “that each decision has its own set of moves”.  It is interesting to watch Silvana direct her dancers. It seems to me that each choreographer has his or her own language and method of transforming a vision into movement. It became clear to me on my first day on the job that Silvana has specific images and stories that she is drawing from and she is replicating them on the dancers. 

The duet between Beth and Will is all about support. The movement is harsh on the body and physically demanding. It’s supposed to be hard and it’s not supposed to look easy. It’s supposed to show the struggle that the “People on the Move” go through. And as partners, they are there to support each other.

Here are some pictures of Beth and Will from their rehearsal.

My second day on the job included working with the entire cast of six dancers. This rehearsal focused on a piece called “Truck”. The piece’s intensity is brought on not only by the music, but the props. Three tables are built to emulate a truck that people migrating would be jumping off of. There are two dancers opening and shutting the tables while, one by one, the other four dancers are jumping off in more of a pedestrian-like than dancer way. This adds to the intensity because the scene brings the viewer to a different place; it doesn’t feel like you’re watching a dance. Maybe the most chilling part is that someone screams, “GO!” every time the tables open. This is raw movement. There are props being used such as oranges, coffee, bags, and paper to show what the people are traveling with. 

Silvana told me during our meeting earlier in the springtime that she doesn’t get inspired by emotions but rather images. She told her cast to have an “invisible attitude” during transitions by feeling it in their spines, faces, and movement. Immediately, during the next run of the choreography, her vision clicked with the dancers and Silvana was pleased. I am learning so much about directing rehearsals. I am learning first hand how to turn something that you’re passionate about into movement on dancers and furthermore into a show or experience that is designed to influence the audience. I’m watching Silvana’s intent to bring compassion to immigrants or “People on the Move” come to life. She collaborated with a photographer who gathered portraits and stories of immigrants. These will open the show in a gallery setting. Then the audience will watch dances that are inspired by the immigrants’ stories. Lastly the audience will have dinner together, concluding the experience. From the large details of piecing the entire performance together to the small details of how she speaks to her dancers, learning about Silvana’s artistic process is extremely rewarding.

Aside from the constant learning, I also help Silvana with music, video taping, taking notes, and taking pictures. I also have the responsibility of updating the twitter account to promote the show with pictures from rehearsals as well as news or information regarding immigration.

Check out the twitter account for pictures, articles, TED talks, updates, and more!

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