Monday, July 25, 2011

Sibyls in NYC

Our first week of New York City rehearsals for Julia Pond’s the little difference words make/song of the sibyl has flown by.  What serendipity to be staying at Looking Through Trees’ composer Chris Chalfant’s Bay Ridge apartment while we are rehearsing in Park Slope. This has been my first time working at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), but it has been a convenient and easy commute on the R train and such a pleasure to spend my first few days in the city in Brooklyn. I always have to have a diner meal when I come to New York, and I ate a great breakfast of eggs, potatoes and toast before our first rehearsal.

This year has been full of creative collaborative experiences, and I’m excited to be working with two of my former Duncan colleagues. Julia developed this forty-minute dance/theatre piece first in Italy and has also presented it in England, where she is currently based. Our Saturday, July 30th performance at the Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate) in Old Saybrook, CT, constitutes the US premiere. We are previewing the piece next Thursday, July 28th, at 7pm at Jennifer Muller/The Works studio in Manhattan and will do a second preview at the Noyes School of Rhythm in Portland, CT on Friday, July 29th.

My role in this piece is twofold—I’m both dancing and acting as the Oracle. This is the first time in several years that I have worked with spoken text, and the poetic monologues are evocative and rich in imagery. I love exploring the resonance of sound and finding ways to deliver strong language in an organic and believable way. These poems are haunting, and I’m enjoying permeating the boundary between the poetic, verbal landscape and the nonverbal, movement realm.

Julia is setting this piece on a new group of American dancers, including our Duncan colleague Elizabeth Disharoon, who also has choreographed a new suite of dances that will open the show. This week we have sketched through some sections that will be choreographically developed in the coming days, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all takes shape. We added the musicians on Saturday, and I’m once again grateful to be dancing in dialogue with live music. I’m also speaking a bit in dialogue with the soprano’s ethereal vocalization of a 13th Century chant about the sibyls, and the viola da gamba accompaniment completes the soundscape.

Sometimes I really miss New York—it has also been great this week to take Duncan technique classes with both Lori Belilove and Cherlyn Smith. Cherlyn and I grabbed lunch after her class on Friday and had some great catch up time. I’ll also be seeing Lori in another week for her Artist in Residence experience at the Noyes School in CT. Friday night dancer Jessica Rogers and I celebrated Duncan-turned-Baroque dancer Alexis Silver’s birthday at a salsa club in Williamsburg. And yesterday, I was able to train it upstate to visit another Duncan colleague Marie Carstens, who just moved into a beautiful new home with an expansive lawn and a swimming pool—can’t wait to do some tunic-ed skipping in her backyard some day. Such joy to catch up with so many of my Duncan dance community here in the city!