Tuesday, September 20, 2011

dance process journal #19: lots of Philly Fringe footage

I thought about posting more than one full performance from our Fringe shows, since the dance was different each time -- but I've decided that might be a bit much!  So I'll just post one full performance, and two clips of highlights taken from several shows.

In this first video you can see the whole dance from beginning to end.  I really enjoy watching the dancers taking their individual movement phrases across the grass in the beginning of the piece, and the audience participation at the end of this one was especially good.

Next, a clip of audience moments from several shows.  I can never watch these without smiling... thanks to all who watched and danced with us!

While looking through the footage, I've continued to think about why I enjoy watching this dance and what I see in it.  The movement is repetitive and ever-changing.  There's not really a story, even though there are some dramatic and thematic elements.  In large part, this piece is "about" its movement qualities, its dynamic shifts, its continual variation of levels, pathways and points in space.  The dancers struggle with each other, with themselves, and with the environment but it is an abstract struggle.  For me the dance embodies something about living in the moment and adapting to changes.  At times I am simply observing the strength, beauty, creativity and commitment of the dancers.  They are all strong and interesting movers and maintain a very consistent focus throughout these performances.  They dance with strong intention and allow their emotional expression to happpen in response to the movement, rather than imposing preconceived emotions.  I like that the dancers come to each tree, bench, or dance partner and just have to find a way to do the task.  They don't know how they will achieve it until they get there; they just have to go for it.

In these Washington Square performances, perspective and distance affect the dance more than they have done in other environments.  The effects of distance become even more noticeable when framed by the camera's lens.  At times some dancers are in closeup when others are quite far away.  On the second day there were many more birds flying through the space.  The birds, wind, and moving trees are interesting to have in the dance, along with the people passing by or staying to watch.  Of course, in these Fringe performances the thematic material of the dance is underlined by the presence of the memorial to the Revolutionary War soldiers.  The grass and earth itself is a partner in our dance here too -- for many reasons, and specifically because the Square is a burial ground.

In the clip below I've collected a few more performance highlights that are not included in the first two videos.  I know this is a lot of footage and I doubt that most people will watch it all!  I just really enjoy watching the various  choices that the individual dancers make, and I wanted to share some more of those choices here.

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