Wednesday, January 6, 2010

From the Audience Eyes!

As a member of the audience, dance mom and energy therapist,  when I attend a performance I am looking around and taking in all I can from the production, not merely focusing on what's happening up front and center. I feel the color of the costumes, the props and backdrops.
To me, there is a symphony of events on stage that create a complete experience and feel that we as audience members demand.  

And then something shifts ...

Oft times dancers are posed in the background or sitting beautifully as 'people props.' They may be sitting, standing, in a position and there is very little movement as the soloist/leads dance. When  core is posed, you/I can feel if they are in sync with each other and what is happening up front, or disconnected. I am referring to a sense of togetherness, not just in movement and rhythm, but in spirit.  This is often referred to as 'being unconscious.' Inseparable. One.

Core is positioned to support an aspect of the story line that may not always be apparent, especially if there is incongruency among individual facial expressions, meaning, one is smiling because they are friendly with a certain soloist and then another  enters that they know less and they look away. Or they are distant and moody, or flirty and playful with the dancer beside them.  How they are 'being' is out of sync with what needs to happen  within the piece.

Their purpose becomes lost really and does not offer the support to the movement, the choreographer, the music, the dancer, and so on. 

Here is what I would liken it to ... Congruency is when everyone is one the same page. There is a natural movement, a cohesiveness, a energetic bubble among all. It would be like having coffee with a group of your best friends and you all talk and chat together without interruption. You feel connected. You have felt that.

Incongruent is scattered and chaotic. Moods and personalities rule. Affections are selective, maybe. Like this - You are having coffee with  a group of folks and conversation is disjointed, on and off, awkward. You could care less. You have felt this.

Informing core dancers to assume a certain facial expression, posture (not the actual position) and emotional energy, to emotionally move with, or maybe it must be against, the soloist/lead, ignites the performance. Everyone is truly one and everybody feels it. It's beautiful.

It's why I go to performances and you dance.

Tell core members how to 'BE'  as supporting cast. 

1 comment:

Nichelle said...

I come from a contemporary dance background where the focus is usually ensemble dancing as opposed to the ballet hierarchy of soloists, corps, etc. In this environment, more time is generally spent on getting on the same page.

With that said, though, I've been in ensembles that really seem to click and those that did not. Some personalities naturally gel better than others but I think the choreographer/director can play a big role in allowing time and space for dancers to bond or connect - inside of rehearsal time this has typically meant giving time for play and improvisation when the focus is not on creating something but finding and getting to know one another through movement. Doing this first has always made the creative process a smoother one but not every group has the luxury of devoting time to this type of work. In the ballet world especially I would imagine this rarely or never happens.