The Spring semester of the Training Program has always had a more accelerated momentum than the Fall. January started off with an intensive week of movement and repertory research with Alonzo King and the beginning of student choreography rehearsals. This semester ten first and second-year students were chosen to create solo and group works on their Training Program peers, four of whom are International students from Italy, France and Brazil in the final semester of their cultural exchange.
As the LINES Ballet Training Program Student Choreography Showcase Spring 2016 approaches, we are featuring the thoughts of several of our emerging artists on their experience working on their new pieces.
1st year from Orange County, California
1.) What made you want to choreograph a work this semester?
After watching my peers choreograph the first semester it gave me the push to try choreographing work myself. I knew it was not something I was completely comfortable with and wanted to push myself to exploring new aspects of the dance world.
2.) Why do you choreograph?
This is my first time putting my movement on another dancer and it has really helped me understand the way movement can be translated from one dancer to another. I choreograph so I can expand my vocabulary in movement and learn to communicate my ideas for a piece.
3.) What is the inspiration behind your work?
I had absolutely no clue how I wanted to begin this solo. No story to tell, no music in mind, no ideas to start with. It wasn’t until I got in the studio and shuffled a few songs that I remember dance is a way to express and discover parts of yourself you always want to hide. Not every piece has to have a story to tell or a message to convey. Sometimes dance is about appreciating movement and using your own personal interpretation to relate to the piece.
4.) Describe your favorite memory in the Training Program?
I think one of my favorite memories from my first year was a workshop with all the 1st years. It was after a few rough weeks of fatigue and feeling drained from dance all together. I felt like I lost the feeling of what dance was supposed to mean to me. It was not until during class when everyone was so invested in their movement that i lost every doubt and fear I had about dance. Knowing an entire group could connect on an energetic level through movement reminded me how powerful dance can be.
1st year student from Joinville, Brazil
Inspiration: Standing for equality and sharing the same ideologies; women fight relentlessly to break old standards imposed by society. Pretty and sexy but also very strong. Supporting, helping and fighting for themselves and each other.
The commensurate rights are yet to come.
1) What made you want to choreograph a work this semester? The opportunity to try out something new and make my brain work in a way it is not used to do.
2) Why do you choreograph?
At first I just wanted to expose the dancers to the way I personally like to move. Using my background and style I am comfortable with my idea was to try it out in other people’s body. I can say that I am happy with the results that came out and I think all this choreographing thing is very fun.
3) What is the most interesting thing about working with your Training Program peers?
I think it’s all the laughter thats happens when someone is having a hard time with steps. It makes the “mood” in the room better for creation process and rehearsal.
4) What do you most look forward to getting out of this creative process?
The confidence to create. Believing that what I make is good enough to be called a choreography.
5) What is the inspiration behind your work?
I want to show that women can be pretty and sexy but also very strong and all the help and support the feminist community has within themselves.
6) How did you make your decisions behind your music, costume, title etc.?
The title I heard once, I think it’s from a play and I couldn’t take it off my mind. For the music I spent a couple hours in front of the computer looking for it on internet. I had a sense of what I wanted just needed to find it. And the costume is basic but pretty and it comes along with what the piece is about.
7) Describe you work in 3 words.
Grounded. Fast. Strong.
8) Describe your favorite memory in the Training Program.
I think my favorite memory is from the very beginning, when on the first day we were surprised by having a workshop with a guest choreographer who would choose people to be part of his new creation. It was sort of terrifying because it was my first day, meeting new people, in other country. That was very challenging and by that time I thought that wasn’t fair but now I remember this with a smile on my face because I made it through.
Photo by Quinn B. Wharton
1st year student from New York City
My work is not structured in a way that most choreographic pieces are composed. After the LBTP showing yesterday afternoon, I realized that my work is not made to be performed in the conventional sense. My dancer Marguerite has beautiful facility that I am sure most of my peers would have enjoyed highlighting, but in my process with her I was more interested in what was intuitive rather than what was learned. This, I thought, was more important to me than setting a piece. It proved to be challenging because this way of moving had not been uncovered. I didn’t want my choreography to be manipulated and regurgitated because this wasn’t about me and my work. It was about Marguerite and her dancing.
1st year student from Milan, Italy
I decided to choreograph a work this semester not only because I wanted to experience something new but also because I wanted to be in contact with a different dance perspective that I’ve never seen before. I choreograph because it is a big chance for me as a dancer to put my passion and my energy out in a different way and it is the perfect moment to play and collaborate with my peers. The most interesting thing I experienced working with my peer was the good, positive energy we had in the studio and the constant approach of learning from each other. The thing I most look forward to getting out of this creative process is the unity of my dancer. I face this experience as a real collaboration between my dancer and me; rehearsals are moments to experiment and play together. I don’t like going into the studio and teaching some steps without a real meaning just because I feel comfortable with it. I prefer a deeper research of the movement in order to underline the strengths and the potentialities of my dancer. I try to find the balance between the passion, inspiration and mind of my dancer and her body and movements.
The inspiration of my work comes from a clear idea: Sigmund Freud’s interpretation of dreams. According to Freud, dream is the fulfillment of a desire from our unconscious. He believed that the manifest content (actual literal content and storyline of the dream) served to disguise the latent content (the unconscious wishes of the dreamer). The dream process is created by the fight between the dream image and the censorship that we place on our unacceptable wishes and instincts in order to make them acceptable to our conscious. It was not so easy to understand actually, but my dancer and I knew immediately how to play and experiment.
I knew clearly in mind the creation process before starting because I think that the process of working is fundamental for a good result. Therefore, I asked my dancer to think about an important dream she’s had and to write it down. Then, we meditated together and I suggested that she focus on every detail of the dream. As soon as we finished, she wrote all the thoughts, feelings or changes about it. After that, we started working in different ways: improvising or teaching, but always focusing on the dream first. In my work the focus is on the intention and on the idea that leads the movement and the reason why we are doing it.
My purpose is to reproduce my dancer’s dream in the most possible real way, analyzing Freud’s concept of the censorship which acts on the person’s mind while she is sleeping. I find joy in playing with different ways of allowing the free flow of exploration. The music is another important component of the collaboration with my dancer. It came out almost at the end of the working process because I preferred to organize the rehearsals working without music to have a more intimate and deeper environment. Afterwards, I asked my dancer to record some important daily life sounds to her or from her dream. At the same time I looked for music among the most famous contemporary composers like Bela Bartok, John Cage, Debussy, Gustav Mahler and Philip Glass. I was attracted by piano melodies but also by the idea of having a real pianist during the show who could have improvised and experimented with my dancer’s performance. At the end, for technical reasons, we chose one of the melodies I’d selected before.
As a result the music of our piece is a conversation among sounds, breaths, silences and musical notes. Then the idea for the costume was to wear ordinary and comfortable clothes which still made it possible to see the lines of the dancer’s arms and the legs. Considering the choice of the title, my dancer and I chose one of the statements she wrote on her dream. I’ve also added one significant statement from Freud’s “Interpretation of Dreams” to connect with the initial theme of the piece. I felt really supported by my dancer in this process, we are a nice team! My work in three words is: intention, research and sensitiveness.
LINES Ballet Student Choreography Showcase Spring 2016
March 17-18 at 7pm
at Joe Goode Annex
401 Alabama Street, San Francisco
$10 suggested donation at the door
Premiering new work by: Marguerite Bouvier, Khristina Cayetano, Danielle Coleman, Rebecca Erroi, Cameron Lasater, Caitlin Miranda, Alencar Reinhold Neto, Laura da Costa Rios, Mallory Swanick, and Shekinah Thompson
Engage with choreographers in a Q&A session following each performance.
Cover photo by Rob Kunkle | Good Lux Photography