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It has been more than a four years since I’ve danced a whole evening’s show and now I find myself learning a piece in four days in order to perform it in Vancouver. Louise Bedard Danse called me up yesterday telling me one of her dancers is out with a serious case of bronchitis and needed a replacement asap for her tour of the west coast!! Tried to come up with some names but everyone was already busy or elsewhere then suddenly out of left field (insanity most likely)…. I volunteered myself. Now I haven’t been dancing seriously for years and my mind has not been in dancer’s learning mode either – there are some serious rust issues here. What a crazy idea to jump right in to dancing once again and especially in a high pressure short working/learning period. Louis Bedard’s work is very complicated and dense. The piece will not be a walk through the park as she packs in so much within an hour and a half. This piece Enfin Vous Zeste has six dancers, lots of demanding movement, choreographically complicated, and a live musician on stage…. and I’ve never seen the piece until last night on DVD. Well there is nothing liking plunging oneself into what the world has to offer at each given moment. Woohooo, lets go for a ride!!
Well 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.
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.