Friday, March 29, 2013

Choroegraphy? What's that? Choreographer? Who's that?

Dance Magazine titled April as "The Choreography Issue.ID (inveterate dancer) got to thinking-- What is choreography? Who is the choreographer? If you're a dancer choreography and is what the choreographer tells you to do, how to move. (often in collaboration, but still)
If you're a choreographer, you are making the dance, choreographing something out of an idea, a gesture in your body, or someone elses', something you see, or feel.

And for ID in the audience it’s a little bit of both. Choreography that I can feel, that's what I long for in performance.  It's like poetry where even as I read the words, I know what it means, not because the sentence makes sense but because it evokes something that I understand intensely and  purely. Martha Graham would say it has "necessity."

I have the great good fortune to have a friend  who teaches and choreographs at the College of  Marin. For the last 5 years I have watched Sandra Tanner Mack, and her ever changing groups of dancers, ping-pong, swirl, swoop and dive like birds, in and out of formation, while making pieces.Sandra calls herself a "choreography doctor, " and a few Saturday's ago I popped in to see the "good doctor" at work.

Sandra was there with her six dancers, five women and one man, and her cards.  She would periodically go and check her dance notes, at the front of the studio, addressing the dancers and the mirror. She would watch them, check the movement flow, correct, re-design, re-purpose, then apologize for "not taking a picture of myself doing this." She is reaching for her thread, what she had in her head, her body, when she made this piece, while still being here, now, in the studio with the dancers.

They want to get it "exactly." They want to take the steps into themselves, and make them more than phrases, sections. Sandra listens to their questions, answers a few, trying to give them confidence.

Then she stops, cues the music, "Lets run it."

They run it. Over and over. And then it happens. A world takes shape, its edges, its colors, the movements become a sensation surrounding and taking me in.  I'm seeing differently, my breathing in in tune with the sweeping arms, the swinging legs.

It has happened.It's a piece. Ready as any dance ever is, for opening night. 

1 comment:

  1. thank you, Susie!! I can't believe I only read this today...what a nice piece!! xo Sandra


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