Monday, May 9, 2011

Garden Rehearsals

 Duncan dancers find each other. At least, that’s how I feel about the current group of adult dancers who will be joining me in a few original Duncan choreographies at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum on Sunday.

I am so blessed and honored to have spent the past several weeks rehearsing with these women, and they each bring their own wealth of knowledge of a wide range of dance and movement practices to the Duncan work. I feel like a Duncan dance pioneer in Texas, which is kind of cool, because it is enabling me to bring together dancers who may not yet have worked with one another and to witness their discoveries of common colleagues and artistic interests. This process reiterates the relational aspect of Duncan dance—we are not single bodies dancing individually through space. We dance with one another and together. Through our shared breath and our shared rhythmic movement, we create supportive community that provides space for growth and transformation.

Joining me and The Girls’ School of Austin Duncan Dancers at the Umlauf on Sunday will be guest artists Kate Cleary, Kirsche Dickson, Amy Priest, and Yelena Konetchy. Kate, who danced Isadora’s work in St. Louis, found me through Tapestry Dance Academy here in Austin. I was thrilled to get an email from someone who had experience with Duncan’s work.  Kirsche and I met through yoga practice, and I later learned that she wrote a dissertation on Duncan for the dance studies program at UC Riverside. Amy is a colleague of Divergence Vocal Theater’s Artistic Director, Misha Penton, and she came to the Duncan workshop I taught in Houston in January—we’ve since discovered many other overlapping connections. Lena teaches ballet at Tapestry, and we’ve been taking a Saturday morning class together. After class one day, we got into a conversation about improvisation and theatre, and she is beautiful in Isadora’s work.

Sunday’s event will begin at 2:30pm with an audience-participatory tour through the garden and will culminate with performances of original Duncan choreographies, structured improvisations, and a new work for young dancers set to Stravinsky’s “Firebird” score. Austinites, join us for an afternoon of joyful frolicking amid the artwork and grounds of the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum—and afterwards, for a cool dip in Barton Springs Pool. Event is free with regular museum admission: $3.50 for adults and $1 for children.