There are four short rehearsal videos here. Studio trials 1 and 2, and, 3 and 4 respectively show a progression in movement quality from undefined, to held and tense, and in movement vocabulary from varied to selective and focused. Ultimately I placed restrictions on the spatial aspect of the dance in the same spirit as those restrictions placed on movement quality and vocabulary.
The entire dance comprises a very limited number of vocabulary ideas that are explored through timing and attack. It was a breakthrough choreographically to discover what quality and vocabulary would work in the second half of the dance which I understand as the point the music begins the second and final part of its structure, at approximately 5’32. See “Build Fluidity Spirals” below,
It is remarkable how often composers work with visual images. As a consequence when composers see dances performed with their music they often experience a profound cognitive disconnect. In his comment below, written prior to his viewing SWW 10, composer Howard Bashaw articulates in movement terms (cycling, descending, spiralling, waves of struggle, release) what he imagined during his creative process.
“It is interesting – and reassuring in an unexpected way – that you selected this particular movement. You have me thinking back to what was behind the compositional process. Here’s what comes to mind. The underlying vision, right from the start, was the wordless, poignant voice of the Sylph – rising above the relentlessly cycling, descending spiral of ever-increasing forces. And while most of the movement is engaged with recurring waves of struggle and eventual anguish, it is the brief concluding passage that holds the real meaning. For it is here that the sudden and powerful understanding of acceptance occurs; it is at once both release and transcendence as one dimension gives way, shifting peacefully into another.” February 12, 2023.
In my choreographic process I was drawn to feminine archetypes, the Madonna, and the goddess of compassion and mercy, Kwan Yin. Was there something in Bashaw’s music that led me there? And how would Bashaw receive this apparent alignment?
A contrast between tension and release, request and denial. Flow and feminine power prevail.
SWW 10 began with looking at images of classical grecian & roman marble statues.
Both Davida and I were drawn to something about all the folds of fabric and the play of shadow on white marble.
I began asking myself how to translate this into a costume.
I found an image of a dress where the train loops up to create a hood and we decided to try something like this and see where things went
I chose a light weight noile silk as the fabric for the dress – it had the right kind of drape and I liked the matte finish and somewhat rustic texture.
After working with the dress in rehearsals and experimenting with movement potential Davida felt that there was too much fabric and the hood element was not working or adding anything to the dance so I took some fabric out and added arm slits in the train to allow for different ways to wear the dress.
More experiments in rehearsal and further simplification led to the final version of the dress with the train stiffened with horsehair crin to allow for better shape, control and movement.
The train could be easily worn up with the dancers arms going through the slits at the end of the train and the costume could be manipulated by the dancers movements.
I felt that the costume worked well for this dance and that there were some interesting discoveries made in the process in terms of movement potential and creative expression.
Clearly a moving sculpture, I used a strong intensity of light from the back and top lights to emphasize the folds within the costume to create deep sculpted shadows. I tried to emulate what I had seen in the Louvre Sculpture Garden. As we worked setting and filming, I could see the piece being performed amongst the famous statues with the sunlight pouring through the glass roof.
BUILD 1 Tension
‘0 to 1’52 in score
Section A in dance – focus, single hand, slow hard shifts, interspersed with 3 low defeats, staccato travels with single arm extended, one hand on body
Through the low chords sequence: 1 / 2 / 3 / 7 after begin one hand on one hand off /1’20 – 1’50 extended exploration/ 3 come up to next idea in the low chords
1’52 to 2’18
Section B – side to side w both arms working to wide legs and spine off,
Lots of pauses, and pliers,
spine off, side to side leans to low defeat left hip off, take time to get to bend
Leaning side to side wide leg and low
3’00 – 3’45
After a strong arrival, final left hip off defeat…do not speed arms ,…speed feet
Section C – gathering, dropping, moving back with fast feet
3’27 – begin up downs
3’45 – 4’28
Section D – keep holding back, up/downs and walks forward
Up/dwons wo rises 10 seconds, w rises and arm shifts 10 seconds, w rises and walk shapes 10 seconds, walking ds and stay pressing ds with shoulder
4’28 – 5’00
Section E – twists, landing the twisted shape and quieting before arms
5’00 – 5’32
Section F – Transition
Fluidity enters the body
4 times piano theme
BUILD 2 Fluidity
5’32 – 6’36 (’56)
Very slow walking circle on the spot w reversals, brief tightness, hands over head, and chasse right to drop train behind, take time,
Circle one w reversals
6’56 – Forward back reversal pattern finishes circle one, weight shifting back and forth and forward and around (big falling music #1)
Another larger half circle forward
7’07 – big falling music #2 – forward and back reversal patterns
A number of circles w chaine turns, reversals and train kicks, banking, stay smoothe with arms chest level floating front and back with torso
7’40 – reverse and reduce to begin arm throws
Possible shifts in vocabulary, between circles/spirals on path allow body to willow and change facing as the walk progresses
More study January 11, 2023