Friday, August 01, 2014

Can't keep up

The big news is the Book of Breath mini-tour, which included a glorious evening on the Inside/Out stage at Jacob's Pillow.

Being back at the Pillow was a treat for me, returning to a series I had helped inaugurate 30 years ago, presenting work to a large and lively audience, enjoying a prodigal's welcome.  It was also a reminder that I do love making and sharing work in a live situation, especially outdoors. Eight dancers and a big ole table - and presto, modern dance comes alive! The 8 Manhattanville students got to stroll through history, adding their signatures to the wooden walls of the Inside/Out dressing room, gracing the stage for an audience of over six hundred. 

We’d preceded this triumph with 3 days of rehearsal at Marta Miller’s beautiful outpost in Stamford, Vermont – and followed it with 2 performances in a Quaker meeting house in Newport, Rhode Island as part of the Great Friends Festival. And it was, and I do have!

Her Children Mourn just screened in Roca, Spain, just north of Portugal - and will also screen as part of Autumn Shorts in Somerset, Kentucky at the end of September. The (electronic) mail continues to bring unexpected boons that brighten my day. Recently, I heard that both 890 Broadway and Wildwood were accepted into a festival in Brussels called L'art difficult de filmer la danse.  Last year the same festival selected Her Children Mourn. I guess our definition of dance – or difficult – must agree.   

Upcoming, from August 10th to 16th, I return to Harbor for the Arts Festival in Cape Charles, Virginia to cast, choreograph shoot and edit a short film. The cast will be untrained locals, the subject to be determined. Am I full of trepidation? Yes. Will there be enough time?  Never. Then in September I'll be heading to Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania to work with Jennifer Keller, a faculty member, to make a video dance with students there.  We've allotted a bit more time, and Jennifer will shoot, but there’s the same trepidation.  How much should I (can I?) plan in advance? Which music? Who are the dancers?  What’s the story?

But the recent blossoming of The Book of Breath encourages me that I’ve made these leaps of faith before. Its seed was planted almost a year ago at our first rehearsal - outdoors on a lawn, with my car radio for playback, eager if not experienced performers, and no idea what was coming. The students were ready to work as an ensemble and absorbed the movement quickly; the music immediately defined "character;" the location upended academic expectations and inspired; shape and form emerged; and we ended up at Jacob’s Pillow!

I have to trust something similar will happen again. And I’ll report back here on the results. 


Elena said...

wonderful news, Marta, you Incredible Woman you!

Vicki Solomon said...

Marta, I breathlessly submit that piece is so beautiful...and the dancers look wonderful!