Tuesday, March 8, 2011

SEA-MOVES in SEATTLE (Last Day/Last Picture)

Directors of Choreography and Music.
(I always have to chuckle when I see this photo because, there I am gleaming and beaming!-a product of that "special Thai soup" I ate all Conference long. For more background on the "special soup", please see the Thai restaurant blogs.)

Thank you for all the excellent teaching I received! I will always be grateful for 2 things:
1) The "Details": this includes all those technical issues we studied. Inversion, retrograde, site-specific performances, countless choreographic exercises-my notebooks are filled with your comments and teachings...indeed the "craft" of choreography.
2) The "Big Picture": this includes what it means to be a creative artist and how to keep "what will "they" think?" or "will "they" get it?" in perspective.

While I incorporated "the Details" into my choreography, I probably draw most on those talks about the "Big Picture". I remember towards the last days of the Conference, when we all sat in a circle and (led by you), we pondered how a choreographer knows if a piece they did is successful. Sure feedback from others is important, but how does one really know? Also, how does each choreographer answer the questions: "what will they think" and "will they get it"?

To define "they":
anybody coming under the category of friends, family, colleagues (both those friendly and those "not so much"), critics, grant facilitators, dance aficionados, teachers, balletomanes, audience members, fellow choreographers, fellow dancers, dance historians, arts administrators, mentors, collaborators, dance partners, artistic directors, ballet mistresses, lighting/set designers and anyone else who might see your work.

After putting out your best effort and incorporating feedback from all the above, it was decided that at the end of the day, each of us is a creative artist, and must do the work we feel we must do, in the way we must do it...When you are settling down to sleep at night, there is one fool-proof way to answer the question "was my work good"? ....(drum roll)....
Simple: the work will tell you so.
You told us that we know a piece of work was good if it "winks back" at us. :)
It means: you know and I know, and in fact WE know it was good, despite all the praise or negative feedback, as the case may be.

I know that as I review my work while I am drifting off to sleep at night, I see a LOT of "winking", and I fall asleep as fast as possible in the hopes of meeting new dance ideas in my dreams!

P.S. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have attended this Choreographic Conference. I incorporated both "the Details" and the "Big Picture" ideas into my work and have received this amazing feedback (for a few of the works I completed in the year following the Conference).

In essence, here is some of what "they" told me:

Asked to perform a non-dance work! A last minute injury to my fellow actor meant my director asked me to re-choreograph it (8 hours before we performed) to practically become a 1-Woman, 1 ACT play. On a dark theme...I used the music I received in Seattle at the Conference, (for one of our assignments there), as background music in the Play, as that gave me confidence because it reminded me of all the support I received there.
described as "magnificent" by another director, my director told me I moved her and much of the audience to tears and that is when I knew I could handle the dark subject matter in the Tell-Tale Heart that I would do 6 months later. I had already picked out the Poe before doing this theatre work, but having this success gave me the confidence to do it.

My condensed 1-Hour version of the 3-hour Operetta, (performed with 6 New England Light Opera singers and dance collaborators).
described as "a feast for the senses, so many textures/feelings, each more gorgeous than the last", "fascinating", "one-of-a-kind", an "extraordinary, extraordinary dancer-better now than before her injury-puts on shows/does things that no one else does", "wonderful to sit so close and watch so much talent", a "complete package", "star presence", "wonderful-great" and "such a good performer/dancer".

ARIAS AND ARABESQUES, the Carmen Suite at the Boston Center for the Arts (BCA):
My popular combination of live opera singing and beautiful dancing in a concert setting. Performed with artists from New England Conservatory.
I was described as "Isadora Duncan in a drawing -room", "impressive", "spectacular", "amazing", "beautiful choreography" and
a "powerful,1-Woman tour-de-force".
My format, combining singers and dance, was described as "flippin' awesome".

The TELL-TALE HEART Ballet at the BCA (a truly Poe-etic Ballet)
My dance version of Edgar Allan Poe's famous short story. I had the story narrated live during the performance. It also included a commissioned score by composers from Berklee College of Music and was conducted live with 5 musicians and their instruments onstage! Lighting and set design completed the look and gave a truly "Poe-etic" effect!
the concept/choreography was described as "Phenomenal", gave "goosebumps", "totally believable", "sheer genius", "mind boggling" and many "loved it".
I was described as "awesome", "captivating", "powerful", "strong acting", "knows music so well" and "good on all levels".

As my goal since I was a teenager was to only be known as a "good dancer", I have FAR exceeded my wildest dreams and am totally satisfied and fulfilled by this huge amount of feedback. These are a partial list of some of the comments I wrote down in a copy of each concert's program, directly after each performance. (so I would be able to remember the feedback even years later).

I could never have received all this feedback without your teaching. Thank you!