Saturday, October 19, 2013

Classic, Archaic or just plain Dancing

Now that I've become a filmmaker, it's quite rare for me to choreograph a live dance. So I was pleased to be invited to make a dance for a lovely group of 10 students at Manhattanville College right across the river in Purchase, New York. 

The above was taken in the early stages of rehearsal. [NB: this was visible on a Facebook link which has since been removed. Because broken links are no fun, "the above" is a slideshow of the completed Book of Breath.This silent phrase - our baby name for it is whoosh - was one of several in a dance that will be presented as part of Manhattanville's Fall Dance Concert November 14-17. A real change, after all of the pop music I've enjoyed sharing with dancers and audiences, to settle into some quiet.

There is music, of course: classical sounding choral music by way of the avant garde, written by Pulitzer prize-winning Caroline Shaw.  As for the movement material I've devised, it's not my usual vernacular, throw-away vocabulary; what's coming up is more two-dimensional, Greek vase-ish.  As the piece was evolving, I kept saying to the dancers: "you have no idea, this is not what I usually make!" Apparently, the very idea of modern dance to be shown in a proscenium setting brings out the archaic in me.

I'll probably end up filming the result, for the chance to practice both camerawork and editing.  And it will be followed by a new dance/film commission by the visionary and energetic Angelica Vessella who has invited me back to Rhode Island College where Year, Make & Model was made a few years ago.

Other news in brief: 890 Broadway won best Short Short in my hometown film festival - and I have the trophy to prove it!  And here's a trailer for Adagio & Danseuse Live at the Cotton Club, which had one memorable - live - performance at The Flea.  Naturally, I had to commemorate the ephemeral pleasure of making a duet with Chisa & Arthur by editing something more durable.  I've submitted it to a few adventurous festivals, even though I suspect it's a child only a mother could love. However, the more work I see, the more I can say in all humility that no one makes dances like mine. After all these years of making work, I've learned to respect what I add to the conversation - while remaining my own harshest critic, believe you me.

Next post I'll share an update on ongoing projects, notably The Circus According to Cecil which I swear will be finished, finally, a year after it was shot.  Also Wild Wood, which has been waiting patiently since early August for its turn to be shaped. 

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