Friday, July 10, 2009

All the World's a Stage

One interesting thing that summer brings for us dancers is the opportunity to perform outside of the normal OBT season. Sometimes this can be a tour arranged by OBT, sometimes it's a tour arranged by a fellow dancer, and sometimes it's a few of us who are wanting to get out in the community and just to dance raise awareness about our art form. Along with these other performances can come many interesting challenges, one of which is the physical floor we dance on.

When we perform in the keller we have a nice sprung floor and marley to help us perform to the best of our ability. However, when performing in alternate venues we don't have the luxury of a sprung floor, and sometimes we don't even have a marley*.

*Technical note: For those who don't know, a marley is a plasticy/rubbery sheet we put down where we're performing to keep us from slipping or sticking. It gives us a nice uniform floor to dance on.

Anyway, I've had 3 experiences so far, and a 4th coming up tomorrow, of having to adapt to dancing on a different floor than we're used to.

First was on the most recent First Thursday. Alison, Julia, Lucas, and I took to the streets (well, sidewalks) and danced some improv around in the Pearl. We danced on loading docks, sidewalks, and Jameson Square. Since we weren't doing chroeography it was a lot easier to dance in a smaller space since we could adapt to the space we had. It really tears up your shoes though...

Second was that same day at Forkfly ( Forkfly was having a benefit for OBT at their headquarters and so Adrian, Gavin, Anne, and I offered our services to perform since they were being so kind in trying to raise some money for us. We danced two works by Anne, one is a new creation and the other is something she had previously created with a fellow OBT dancer. For this performance we did have a marley, but it was laid over carpet on a concrete floor, and it was a much smaller performing area than we were used to. We had to change spacing a little bit, but since only 2 people were dancing at a time it wasn't too terribly difficult. All in all, that performance was really enjoyable and seemed to be a big success.

Third was a project for Anne's husband Lars. He wanted to create a looped film with some movement based around the idea of flight. He used an old 16mm camera (I think) and no lighting equipment or anything. We headed out to a park near their home in NE and while he set up Anne, Brian, and I created some basic movement phrases, with Lars' help, and then got to work. It was a really enjoyable afternoon. We did our phrases all sorts of different ways and then finished up with some partnering improv and solo improv stuff. However, moving around on grass and uneven ground can be quite tretcherous. Your feet stick a lot more than you expect them to, and sometimes you hit little divits you can't see. Irregardless, the weather was beautiful and it was a great time dancing outdoors.

Fourth will be tomorrow at Bastille Day down in Jamison Square. Candace, Lucas, Leta, Brent, Gavin, and I will all perform. Candace and Lucas will dance a Pas de Deux choreographed by company member Paul DeStrooper, Leta and Brent will dance a tradition minuet, and Gavin and I will be doing a version of the Finale from Christopher's Zaïs. It should be interesting. There will be no Marley, and we'll be danceing the cobblestones that slope down towards a fountain. To prepare for this Gavin and I rehearsed out in OBT's parking lot today. I'm sure it was quite an interesting sight to those who didn't know what was going on. Here are some shots from the park, and from rehearsing in the parking lot:

The performances tomorrow will be at 2:15 and 4:15. Stop by if you get a chance, it should be a really interesting event.

Hope you're having a great summer!


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