So, the first two rehearsals with the whole group of dancers, I ran just as a class. This ended up being really helpful for me to see where each dancer is in her technique and also how she makes movement her own. My secondary objective was to get everybody upside down, since that's one of the scariest things that dancers do, and something that I like to do a lot. So far I've been really pleased (oh, and for anyone who wants ideas for structuring a modern class---The Flaming Lips Yoshime is pretty much a perfect album to structure a class around...it was really fun).
On Sunday we ran through the most important exercises and warm ups and then jumped into manipulations of my main phrase for "Duet"...so I did a basic little adagio based around movement from "Duet" and then we improvised with that phrase. (I had the dancers break into partners and one would perform the phrase and the other would improvise around them and interact with them). This gives me some ideas of ways to manipulate the movement and gets the dancers used to partnering. I also played with some music choices with that. Most of my choreography lacks structured counts...I often sing to my dancers to get the timing together (thanks, Marcia for rubbing off on me in such a crazy and annoying way:)).
Finally I began teaching some of the choreography which is already set from the original performance. I pretty much want to put all that choreography on these new dancers and then introduce the props as a way of manipulating and varying the movement. Once I see it on these new dancers it will be easier to see what i need to cut and what i can add.
Another concept we talked about was this element of internal motivation to movement. One of the most important things about this piece is that, even though my motivation for the movement is pretty freaking clear (I think...it's almost a dance that bashes the audience over the head with it's message), I don't want the dancers to think about my meaning when they dance. Their motivation through the entire dance is based on what they wrote about when I asked them the question: If you were a message in a bottle, what would you say? So, they are trying to spread their message through the performance...and that's something different for each of them.
I semi-diagrammed "Duet" so I have a pretty clear idea of where it's going. I'm hoping to get into a recording studio at some point and begin putting together the sound recording using the text (see last entry) or if Ian still has it somewhere from when we made the video (www.myspace.com/clynndi) that would be perfect to use. The structure of the piece, with the music runs as follows:
Soundscore with spoken text starts before the first duet enters (all entrances are from stage right, all exits stage left). Duet one is "first love" or children playing...these are really the same things aren't they? Dancing moves from stage right to stage left, and the dancers sit at the table. Soundscore ends, music starts (current thoughts on this...The Book of Love by the Magnetic Fields). Dancers manipulate the props and dance with them, and then move away from the table towards the stage left exit...
Exit of duet one is overlapped with entrance of duet two (music continues). Duet two is a chronic and sustained "picking" between two partners, which escalates to the point of fighting. Their manipulation of the props includes sweeping the plate and cup of water off the table onto the floor...Music should fill the entire second duet.
Exit of duet two is overlapped with the entrance of duet three. Duet three is a very old and familiar couple who have been living a tandem life for many years. They are pretty much continually in uison or supported by one another. One partner exits (music ends here). The person who is "left behind" goes to the table and performs an empty reinactment of the first duet's manipulations of the props (those props that are left after the second duet's rampage), and speaks text ("my mind crashes up against your body, I break on your shore, bits of you cling to me"). Left behind dancer performs the rest of the solo in silence and instead of exiting stage left moves continually upstage until there is no where left to go. So that's the gist:)