Last weekend I attend Melanie’s rehearsal at the SUNY Purchase studios. I traveled to White Plains, NY to see this young choreographer work with her dancers and give feedback on her progress so far.
Melanie’s piece is contemporary ballet and features three men and two women on pointe. She entered the room with clear and precise directions for her dancers. She knew exactly what she wanted to get done and worked straight through. Respectful of her dancer’s bodies and their time, Melanie did an amazing job of being as productive as possible while respecting their time.
One element she and I discussed throughout the rehearsal was the use of transitional movement. We worked on creating movements that would smoothly transition between sections of strictly ballet versus more pedestrian-inspired material. She took notes and began working on creating these moments. Another challenge for Melanie was working was the inconsistent tempo of the score she choose. Steve Reich is famous for his offbeat and uneven tempos. The more she worked with the piece, the more challenging it became to regulate the counts. My advice to her was to forget the counts and try to find musical landmarks. Sometimes trying to be too precise can stifle creativity and make the piece feel heavy and predictable.
I cannot wait to see her piece on October 13th (at the Martha Graham Studio Theater, at 7PM and 8:30PM). Do not forget to reserve your tickets to see it as well!