First of all this school concert format. Spring Concert includes a lighting rehearsal, tech rehearsal, dress rehearsal and 4 formal performances. There is something both brief and extensive about this, maybe because it is all done in one week, and because each piece is 5-8 minutes long, I feel the brevity and my little pieces, Katherine and my duet at 6 minutes and 20 seconds and April Biggs’ ensemble piece, Booze & Ketree, at 7 minutes 30 seconds, require me to exist on brevity. The time in between is not performed and so these sets of minutes exist singularly without much distraction.
Landing second, in the second act, running on six performers deep, each performance started with nervous excitement and ended with a sense that we had carried each other through, and that the audience became hard for me to remember.
I have a similar experience dancing with Katherine, in Running around the house, and resting too, although our piece is much less improvised. We are dancing together, we know what our internal logic is and our timing is personal. In retrospect, I have a desire to give a little more to the audience. I remarked to Katherine as we went on for the second to last time, that I feel like for both these pieces, I am seven and I’m doing MY show and the adults all have to watch. I don’t gather that too many people minded this, and from some feedback, some folks even enjoyed it. I enjoyed that we arrived at something and it felt like us, and we kept it. Katherine often talked about how we were making something that was outside of our own prior experiences and expertise. I think this is because she and I have different approaches to making and had to use a bit of both ending up with elements from each other, but not necessarily the contours that either of us expect from a dance. Geography became an anchor in this process: our dance was a house. We sat and looked out the window in the bedroom, leaped/ran around the upstairs balcony, ambled through hallways, and clamored down the diagonal (metaphorical stairwell), riskily staring up at the ceiling.
It is remarkable to think back on our first rehearsal, when we made lists of body parts and lined them up to each other, generating a phrase where neck connected to the inside of the elbow, back to back, ear to belly. Mostly I remember that I couldn’t figure out how to give or take weight, my approach felt too strong and it was hard to play. We diverged often in my wanting to try something to see what happens and Katherine looking for clarity of purpose or direction in whatever we tried or chose. I was challenged to articulate why I wanted to do something, and learned that I often did have a reason, but that also Katherine would sometimes give it a try even if I couldn’t drum one up. By the end of the dance, we were literally banging against each other, finding the impact and rebound that I tend towards. I hope in our coalescing of swinging free flow and impact and rebound, we were able to maintain the dynamic of difference in our movement and approaches, sharing support and space.
Holding all that memory in 6 minutes 20 seconds is worthwhile to me.