Monday, November 16, 2009
This year has been a very different experience, which I am really enjoying. So far I really enjoy Diana’s process. The 3 hours rehearsals a definite test of my attention span, but Diana’s resilience and willingness to try new things and not get stuck in a certain phrase is helpful and keeps the dancers engaged. She is demanding and requires a lot of presence from her dancers. I know I have to really focus and fully engage in the material that I am presented with. The one thing I am really enjoying is the warm up. It is a great mental and physical preparation for the remainder of the rehearsal. I get to really concentrate and focus on my body and what it needs that morning. I can work on using my breath, and really breathing into my body to wake it up and fill all of those little places we tend to forget about. The main difference that I notice with Diana’s rehearsal compared to the student pieces that I am in is the pace at which she moves. She comes prepared with ideas to try, phrases to work on and things to fix.
This allows Diana to keep the pace of the rehearsal up. And if something isn’t working quite right, she is not afraid to say “okay…let’s leave that and try something else”. I think many of the student choreographers have a certain idea in their mind and will get stuck in a rut trying to make it happen instead of moving on and allowing the piece to take on its own life and path. I think this is partly why Diana always says that her pieces are never what she first intended them to be. In a way this is a really cool process and creatively has the most logic, but it also the scariest. You don’t know where things may go and that can be intimidating. There was a quote from a director in my theatre textbook that said “If I understand a play just from reading the script, there is no point in my directing it. I need it to be a journey through which I discover and understand the message and purpose of the play.” I think this idea more or less fits Diana’s choreographic process where as student choreographers seem to tend to “pick the plays they understand”. In other words, they have a clear image of what they want to say and do when and in what way. Neither is right or wrong but they each have a different process and maybe even a different purpose in the eye of the choreographer.
PHoto: Sara Tollefson