the tree dance

You’re wondering how to make use of your idle hours now that you’re home, huh? Well since it’s finally nice outside for more than 12 minutes at a time, I think it’s more than appropriate to craft some glitter out there in all of that sunshine and soil.

HURRY, Dyva!!! Slip on your Tom’s and go explore your local scenery ASAP; it’s time to boogie.

Vegetation, architecture, even the annoying bird that wakes you up chirping every morning can be an undiscovered source of inspiration just waiting to be revealed.

Once a location of interest is identified, I often find that my site-specific work continues in one of two directions:

1. I interpret the location litrally…yes…litrally
Ex: If I were to choreograph a piece that explores the texture of a tree, I might actually climb the tree, acknowledging the bark, branches, and the leaves as I do it. My work does nothing more or less than at least recognize that what I’m working with is in fact…a tree.

2. I approach the source through a more abstract lens.
Ex: The tree now represents a person that refuses to acknowledge me; what a jerk!

What I’m getting at, is depending on your interests and preferences as a choreographer, site-specific work can offer many different approaches to an otherwise familiar terrain. The beauty of this type of composition is the opportunity to use your imagination in innovative ways that can never be duplicated in any other environment.

oh hey stranger, fancy seeing you here!

I think it’s really interesting to set a movement phrase in the studio and then transpose it to a few different locations that are totally removed from one another. The fun part of this process is watching the dance transform as more and more elements are introduced. Each site offers a new variation of the original version, and as changes happen, an eclectic compilation of new phrase work takes shape without much stress on your end.

Voila, nine new dances in one day!

I once created a piece that stayed on a very linear pathway, I set it in an open studio, in between a row of library books, in a bathtub, and in a grassy field. Each version offered something new and interesting, and while the movement held the same foundation, the environment in which it was performed begged for choices on the spot that all had a tremendous impact on the final product.

Hint: Solicit smart dancers to work with. (trust me…and you’re welcome)

As you work on adjusting to life back at home, this little experiment may offer both an inroad to rediscovering the beauty of your hometown, and also a friendly reminder as to why it’ll always hold a special place in your heart!

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