After making a number of adjustments to the piece, we took a break and I asked the dancers if I could record them discussing their experiences with the movement and how they approach working with this particular type of physicality. I thought that I was recording them, but unfortunately the first great conversation that we had did not actually record. We didn't have time to talk about those aspects again, so I just moved on and recorded a little bit of discussion about what it's like for the dancers to work with trees rather than walls to push against, and what it feels like to perform this dance in such an open space. At the very end of the clip there's a bit of dance footage showing our current strategy for entering the performance location, and then a very short bit of the dancers beginning the conflict movement. After that, I had to switch the video off and focus on watching so that I could give them feedback. I think the discussion below will give you some insight into the dancers' interior monologue during this dance -- the mental/emotional/spiritual work that the dancers are doing along with their physical work. It really takes their whole beings to create this dance. I find their efforts quite beautiful and heroic.
Looking back at the experience of maintaining this journal, I really feel that I haven't shown you as much as I would have liked to have shown about the specifics of how the dancers are creating their movement. In other words -- what do they have to keep in mind when they are partnering each other? What physical adjustments do they have to make to each other, to the environment, and within themselves? Dancing is such a complex and profound activity and even when the movement looks simple, as this dance might appear to be, the dancers are working on SO many things at once. As most Graham dancers hear at one time or another, "tis a gift to be simple" -- but simple is not necessarily the same thing as easy! Sometime in the near future, I will see if I can manage to get some video of the dancers talking about what they are doing as they move.
I was thrilled today, during one run-through of the dance, when three women came along behind me and stopped to marvel at the dancers' work. They stayed for quite a while and continued to exclaim with delight at the dancers' various actions and skills. I had to keep rehearsing, so I couldn't talk to them much about the piece but they were seeing so much for themselves. It's exciting when observers can appreciate so much about what we are creating, since sometimes I wonder whether the audience notices the subtle adjustments that happen with each shift of the dance. And I wonder how many viewers realize just how hard it is to do what these dancers are doing. In the videos that I've already posted to this journal, I hope that you've been able to recognize something of the complexity that's involved in creating these movements.