Malcolm's blog

Snowed In: Rehearsal Notes for Philly Dance Show

Snowed in all last week, unable to rehearse. I miss rehearsal when I can't get it! I believe that quality of work has a direct relationship to the time spent crafting it. I begrudge every hour missed. My fundamental goal as a choreographer is to make good work, work that at least I enjoy watching. This takes time.

I trust there will be enough time eventually. Spent rehearsal on Saturday with Alex sledding down and up and around and along the ramp. Such fun! So strenuous!

February Blues

I feel sick. A cold has just covered my face and shoulders like sackcloth. The street outside the window glints in sunlight. The hazy blue sky promises to melt the snow caking the lawns. The day has a hopeful vibrance that I feel even through my mask. This is an aspect of January that I have not yet captured in my dance: the outside and the inside may feel starkly different.

Big Changes

We will miss Florencia! She has left the group for personal reasons.

I spent the last two rehearsals learning Florencia's role in "January Night." I had it in mind to hire a new dancer and teach it to her. I am having so much fun with the role, however, that I will keep it instead.

New Notes: Editing Soundscore for Philadelphia Dance Premiere

Spent the morning finding sounds for the soundscore to "January Night." I went to a playground. It was cold, so I had it to myself. The playground has one of those intricate metal structures with bridges and tubes and slides and many toeholds for climbing. Many of the metal parts make bright, resonant sounds. I clanged and banged on that playground equipment until I thought someone would call the police because I was disturbing the peace.

Quick Sleepwalking Brainstorm

Have been brainstorming before rehearsing with Alex and Amanda. Amanda sleepwalks in this section, Alex supports her. But I need to find a unique quality, one that makes this section distinctive. I will try the idea that Amanda sleds on Alex just as Alex and Florencia have sledded across the ramp. Alex will be slippery because Amanda will, from time to time, convulse, jerking like one in a deep dream. She will slip from his grasp. Periodically, he will help her to her feet for a short pause, poised, suspended, before she breaks again.

Tidying Up: Preparing for Philadelphia Dance Premiere

Spent Saturday's rehearsal cleaning and polishing the opening section. It looks tighter than before! I love it when reality approaches vision. It takes time, but it can happen.

Back to Work on Philadelphia Dance Premiere

Contemplating a title change. January Dances was the working title. I understand the piece better now. It takes place over a single night, a single cold night. I'm feeling Long January Night right now, although any modern dance title with the word long in it may scare audiences. Maybe just January Night or Cold Night. The sections are more focused this way. Restless is the opening in which they roll out of a cozy slumber into space. In Awake, they battle insomnia. Sleepwalking is the section we are building now. Dream will follow.

Sleepy Duet: New Section of Philadelphia Dance Premiere

Thursday, I start on a new duet with Alex and Amanda. I hadn't been planning it, but Florencia is out of town. Sometimes these accidents lead to happy moments. I think this will turn into a rich section.

Proposal Drop

Dropped off proposals to presenters this morning--always a mixed experience. I believe that it's good for me to go through the process of considering my work, writing up a cover letter describing it, putting together a packet…it gives me some perspective on the work. I consider us an up-and-coming company. We put on good work, but do not have the following to sell out theaters or the resources to package ourselves to the best effect. This all brings up the question of our ultimate goal.

Post Thanksgiving: Renewed Engagement with Philly Dance

Have been away for Thanksgiving. It was a good holiday, but not enough dancing, too much driving, and too many papers to grade late into the night. I am stuck in my mind today. I found it challenging to open into my body. I started with meditation for half an hour. I circled away on tangents in my head, looped back to awareness for brief spells, then floated off again. It's a bit like chasing rats in a cage: every grasp just a moment too late. But I danced. I danced and found my way to sensation eventually.

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