sharing is caring

So this past weekend (Oct. 18-20) was the moment of truth, time for my thesis Mapping to hit the big stage. We’ve been rehearsing since mid-August, and I’ve probably seen the piece at various stages at least 70 times; it’s safe to say at this point, there are very few performative surprises. Having worked together so closely for so many weeks, I could argue that things between the eight dancers have become sort of predictable (predictable = consistent)…consistent that is, until a new set of eyes exists in the same room as our dance…

…then all is fair in thesis and war…

As the choreographer, I tense up and sort of break out in hives…ok not sort of, I get a rash sometimes. I become so protective of our work together, that I almost can’t watch if other people are in the same room also paying attention. It’s like I’m being forced to give something special of mine away that I’m not yet ready to part with. Having that new set of eyes makes my perception of the dance completely shift. What was once predictable and consistent is now something I’ve never seen before in my life. Woof Daddy.

photo: Rebecca Puretz

It’s so weird, but it happens ALL THE TIME, even with composition assignments for class. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen my own work, the minute there’s an audience, my body literally trembles…

Let’s not even get started on what my nervous energy does to the dancers when they can see me foaming from the mouth with anxiety.

I do think there’s something to be said for having people watch your piece while it’s in the developmental stages; I value feedback thats honest and respectful of the work in progress—and really, the only people I’m comfortable letting in are those whom I know give (my version) of constructive feedback. Let’s just say I work well under a compliment-sandwich situation. The minute the feedback portion is removed however, and people become just spectators viewing my work, I automatically go on the defense…maybe because I’m no longer in a position to defend my choices, as the piece in fruition is finally no longer mine.

Another thing I’ve grappled with throughout this process was not being able to share the narrative that the dancers and I developed. Trying to be a POMO choreographer of the concert world of dance, I left it all up for interpretation…but not really…I mean, absolutely have an opinion, but it’s probably wrong…just kidding…not really…sort of

pure dyvalicious glitter
photo: Emma Scholl

I know what you’re thinking, why do I feel the need to defend myself? Well, for this piece in particular, so much of ME is in it…how could I NOT go on the defense?? Everyone is entitled to their opinion, yes (I mean it this time!), but to sit anonymously within a crowd of people who are busy formulating opinions about the work you’ve devoted hours of your life to without being able to claim any part of it…it’s sort of isolating and an extremely frustrating challenge (especially for me, an attention whore/control-freak).

Those are MY ideas on stage that YOU are watching–and you have NO idea that while you’re whispering to the person on your right, I’m the person sitting to your left…the same person responsible for the tutu-spectacle that’s been assaulting your face for the past 18 minutes.

Not to the same extent, but I sort of feel the same way when I watch people I care about performing. I’m not confrontational (AT ALL), but I become a pitbull, open-mouth growling at people who make side-comments under their breath while people I love dyva-stomp on stage.

Am I alone? What’s the “normal” way to negotiate that point when the dance is no longer yours? Being a firm believer that the process is never-ending, and knowing very well that ready or not, at some point there will be an audience, what are some tactics for that painfully vulnerable stage when it’s finally time to share your work?

you can look but you cant touch

I mean, remember, sharing is caring!!

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