Monday, August 1, 2011

Sibyls in CT

What a whirlwind! The Sibyls showings were fantastic—many thanks to all of the friends and colleagues who came out in New York and Connecticut to see the performances. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring and sharing this work.

During our second week of rehearsals, we had space daily in the afternoons at Jennifer Muller’s Chelsea studio. This was my first time in her space, and the loft studio has a great, homey feel. There are several desks up front, a kitchen area with a counter and fridge, and the Marley floor, mirrors, and barres demarcate the dancing space in the rear. Beth danced with Muller’s company The Works for nearly a decade, and it was great to spend so much rehearsal time in the space where we would have our first public showing of the Sibyls piece.

There are several sections to the Sibyls piece, and while much of the choreography had been set, some of it was still in structured improvisation form. In the European showings of the work, my role had been played by a much older dancer/actress. So this week, we spent time more fully choreographing and refining the movement aspect of my part. It was great to work in this way with Julia—she has a strong, clear vision for what she wants, and I enjoyed being directed by her. Her discerning eye for developing movement quality and vocabulary in collaboration with the dancers makes working with her a satisfying and mutually creative process, and I had fun exploring the sensuous, earth quality she created for the Oracle. I especially enjoyed dancing the duet we made with Beth—it has been years since I have danced with these women, and it was great fun to play with them again onstage in the space of performance.

I was also able to spend time with a few other Duncan dance colleagues while I was in the city—Faith Kimberling and I managed to grab dinner on Tuesday night and we caught up so late that I ended up sleeping over. Thank goodness for friends who can lend you pj’s and dance clothes! Wednesday evening I cooked dinner in Brooklyn with Jessica, Rosita Roldan, and Rina Rinkevich, and we had the most amazing Spanish rice and beans (thank you Rosita) and a great rubarb pie by candlelight in Rina’s backyard.

Thursday evening we previewed the little difference words make/song of the sibyl at the Muller studio, and had a warm and supportive audience. It was great to see Lori Belilove, John Link, and Cherlyn Smith there. Cherlyn and I had a great laugh when she started to give me feedback, and I knew she’d have comments about my costume and hair (it was our first costumed run, and I hadn’t managed to properly pin my cross-your-heart elastic over my tunic and had one or two long-hair-in-my-face moments). Nevertheless, the feedback was strongly supportive and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the work.

Friday we headed up to the Noyes School in CT, where we gave a preview performance in the Pavalon by kerosene lantern light. Many thanks to the Noyes Rhythm Foundation for generously housing and feeding our traveling company and providing the perfect atmosphere for informing the subtext of the piece. The evening was threatening a storm, and while the rain held off for our showing in the historic, outdoor dance studio, the winds did seem to blow through on cue.

The Saturday showing at The Kate was beautiful—the tech went smoothly and the lighting for the Sibyls was exquisite. The house was also warm and supportive, and I’m looking forward to seeing the video footage of that full-production showing. In just under two weeks, we put together an amazingly tight show. I’m holding out for another run of this piece in the future.

Yesterday, Julia drove me back to Noyes—I’m looking forward to another creative and inspiring movement experience in this coming week. Noyes Rhythm classes in the mornings and Duncan dance with Lori in the afternoons. I’ve been embodying a dialogue between these two practices now for several years, and I can’t wait to put my teachers in direct conversation and see what new insights emerge.