Friday, January 1, 2010
After much mental and physical preparation, I auditioned for Mike Esperanza's piece. This year, above all other years, I feel a sincere sense of urgency in that I am graduating and am unlikely to encounter another dance experience similar to Orchesis again. Sure, there'll be studios and master classes, but the incessant practices, where you are surrounded by the same dancers you were surrounded by the previous day, will be gone. The opportunity for choreographic experimentation, theatrical performance creation, and consistency in dance material is a unique one, and we are all lucky to experience it. Because this is my last year with Orchesis, I am feeling not only like I need to savor every moment, but that I am running out of chances to grow as a dancer.
From this perspective, being in as many groundbreaking dances as possible is the highest goal. Therefore, it is not surprising that Mike's piece was of great importance to me. The day of the audition, I succeeded in holding back nothing. I put as much effort, grace, and emotion into the audition phrase, which we cycled through endlessly across the floor, as I could in that moment. After two minutes of discussion, Diana and Mike announced the dancers who would be in the piece. All I heard was my name, as understudy. I was thrilled. A few tears collided with my beet red face as I made my way outside.
The rehearsal started that day. Being understudy meant that I was to learn all the parts, which is a sizable task. Simply learning one part, and dancing it accurately and to the level desired by Mike was a challenge. In order to accomplish the role of understudy, I needed to be completely focused and dedicated. So I danced HARD. I took as many opportunities as possible to learn other parts, and continually practiced individually throughout the weekend. The dance is a beautiful piece of art, and yields itself nicely to complete devotion by the dancer. I utilized the power of the piece to focus myself so that I could keep up. I am still pushing myself to get better at the choreography and to be aware of all the parts. That weekend of dancing pushed me and helped me grow. I wouldn't have wanted to spend the time any other way.
Photo: Sara Tollefson