clarity

I am on a train to Toronto to create a little choreography on the Dancemakers company. For some reason I woke up absolutely exhausted and feeling slightly ‘defeated’.  As soon as I got in the train station, the skies opened up and the sun shone through with its majestic brilliance. This must be significant as the timing to be in Toronto could not have been better as I have been itching to work on what is really important, to create and be an artist once again. I have been realizing more and more how much that I have accommodated for others and actually neglected my own needs or wants. This cannot go on much longer or I will become absolutely resentful and insane!  Everything can all turn to nothing and nothing could all be everything. There are just so many questions to be answered and yet there are never always answers for each question. Just trying to figure out what it is ‘right’ for the moment. To take action and control for a certain moment until the next situation occurs. It is a question of clarity, perhaps just a moment of clarity, clarity for a brief period in time before disorder imposes itself, it is inevitable that it returns in life again and again. It is an ongoing question in life; we can try to steer ourselves towards somewhere but the path seems to always lead us to another destination. Often the destination is not the significant but it is the journey or that act of getting there  is most important.

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The final week and then it is show and tell time

chanti’s processWell we are now in the middle of the final week of Chanti’s process. Everything is coming together and taking shape as we head into today’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s showing in front of an audience. It is funny, often the choreographer only begins to truly ‘see’ the work while there are ‘witnesses’ to his/her work. What may seem so clear and ‘obvious’ in their heads may not be so evident to others who are disengaged or are not privileged to the actual process. Chanti has been working hard and doing a great job in making sense of the world that she has created. The work has come a long ways from just a couple of days ago as it is becoming a very interesting study. As well as exploring an idea of nature and man, Chanti’s goal here was to challenge herself by not relying so much on improvisation. She has been using the Lab to its’ potential and has taken advantage of the opportunity to craft and choreograph movement phrases. This has been a good learning process for Chanti as she is learning how to create on a group of dancers that she is not familiar with. I can tell the dancers are at times having a difficult time in this process with their glazed over eyes and subtle signs of annoyance. They have been all very good sports in being patient and professional as this is part and parcel of being an interpreter at Le Groupe Dance Lab. Their role is to be generous and to help the choreographer the best they can and I recognize that can be very trying at times. It is just human nature to be impatient however patience and versatility are the virtues that make a Le Groupe dancer unique and special. I’ve spoken to Chanti about being more clear, to make decisive choices, and be perhaps less esoteric in the directions. Of course each artist has their own method of working and that must be accepted however communication is always an issue that can always be improved upon. It is an ongoing challenge for her but at least she recognizes her difficulties. It is challenging to be here as there are so many pressures that the choreographer must face with their time at the Lab; a short intensive creative time, unfamiliar dancers, a monitor that is constantly on their backs, creative decisions to be made, media, and a viewing audience. I believe the outcome of her process will be extremely valuable to Chanti’s path as a choreographer. Not only is she answering creative questions here at Le Groupe, she is also adapting to different circumstances, situations, and demands. In my opinion whether the work is ‘successful’ or not, this has been a very good Lab.

chanti’s process after week one

I am writing this while we are in the studio during Chanti’s process. It is the start of the second week of Chanti’s process and after she had the time to reflect over the weekend of all that she has accomplished, I told her that it is time to narrow it all to what is considered as essential. The theme of her research is about working with the senses, and that she means physically and the surrounding environment (nature). She is very influenced by man’s place in nature and how it affects our way of being. We had a very good talk about really concentrating on ‘creating’ and actual construction of movement and vocabulary rather than relying on only improvisation. This is a challenge for Chanti, even though it takes more time and it forces her to make physical and artistic choices, it is a great exercise for her. I can see she wants to give it up at times but I’m encouraging her to break the resistance. She is working on motifs that have a life and world to its’ own. Not wanting to create a ‘piece’, she wants tableaus. The challenge for her is to bring these motifs as far and as far it can go, don’t just touch the surface of the idea. The idea should bring us on a journey, it should somehow reach a transcendence for the viewer, the dancers, and perhaps the creator in some form. I’m sitting here observing her working on two of the dancers, Lori and Alanna.  Chanti is working on a ‘dance’ duo that is based on the idea of cause and effect. I’ve asked her to her to craft and create each movement on them and to limit the choices of improvisation.  This will be a good exercise for her as it forces her to work and clarify what it is that she wants to say.   Continue reading chanti’s process after week one

Monitoring Chanti Wadge at Le Groupe

The company is back in action with choreographer Chanti Wadge from Montreal doing a creative process here at the Lab. I am her monitor/dramaturge/artistic councilor for this process. She has so many ideas of what she would like to accomplish with her research time and it is my job to narrow it down. Sets and lighting propositions are being constructed to deal with her question of man’s place  in nature. Or is she talking about how small we are in the grand scale of things? Is this an existential questioning or is does she want to express a sense of acceptance of our place on this massive world? Chanti wants to play with ideas of installation, performance art, and theatricality. Wants to avoid working with movement that is arbitrary but has difficulty doing that without working on just improvisation. She wants to craft or ‘choreograph’ in a formal fashion without straying away from her conceptual idea. The main thing for me to do is find the core of what she wants to try, do, and say. Chanti has so many goals that she wants to achieve here however I have to get her to eventually decide on one clear path. I’ve spoken to her to stop over thinking and analysing as it often hampers the potential for true creativity. Allow the movement to grow and speak then eventually she can start structuring, crafting, discarding, and choreographing. She needs to just generate material, try new things, try new ways of creating, avoid the comfort zone and ultimately to take chances. This may open up new ways of seeing and perhaps open up new possibilities in her work. After her second day, I already see her struggling with this in her head but I believe that it is a good thing.

Winter and dance

Wow it sure has been a cold winter. There has been so much snow here in Montreal this year! The weirdest thing is that it really doesn’t bother me this time. I’ve learned to perhaps like the fact that winter is a wonderful thing. Of course it is the duration of the season here that really annoys me. By the time April arrives, I know that I will be cursing the cold weather. There is a huge season of creating and developing coming up. Really looking forward to working on the Dancemakers company in Toronto! I don’t know any of them except for Kate Hilliard, so this should be a real adventure.  Have tons of images and ideas in my head that I want to try on them. Can’t wait to work them out on those guys in February.