I spent the last three days performing in the dance department’s show at New York Live Arts. I was in a piece by Pam Tanowitz which was really great: it’s focused on connecting with the other dancers inside the piece, structurally interesting from the outside, and also just really physical, quirky, and fun to do.
Something that Andrea Miller told us in class Thursday morning, which really stuck with me through the weekend was
The performance is not a cemetery for the dance you’ve been working on. It’s still alive.
Makes sense, right? There are living, breathing humans up on stage doing that dance, and why shouldn’t they be experiencing something new in that moment. Maybe the strict division of process and product was never really meant to be applied to performing art anyway: it’s really always about doing and not (as the piece exists) about being done.
The piece this weekend felt very much like a living organism. Despite being tightly crafted and well-rehearsed (we finished this months ago–I know, that never happens) it’s not a piece where everything can go perfectly in a run, nor does it have to be. It’s filled with challenging technical moments, timing cues taken off of other dancers, and extended, uncounted unisons based on feeling a group rhythm, which mean that it will never be formulaically consistent. As a group, though, we can adjust to the inevitable little inconsistencies in each other’s timing, spacing, and movement and make to piece work wherever it is that day.
We had stronger and weaker moments each show, but I really felt like it kept growing throughout the weekend–the last run felt particularly connected and on-point. (Of course, these feelings may have nothing to do with how the piece actually looked–I’m excited to see the video and know what it’s like from the outside.)
Also, my shiny legging costume has inspired me to buy shiny leggings.
I also managed to not really get sick until after the last show–I was starting to come down with a cold yesterday, but it didn’t really kick in until today. Typical post-event cold I guess: my body is taking advantage of it’s little break to just slow down and get sick. (Actually, that makes no sense at all. I mean, why are we assigning conscious decision making processes to bodily functions? Besides, if I was a magically conscious body with the ability to control if and when I got sick, why wouldn’t I choose to not be sick over breaks either? Seems more restful than cranking up the immune system and being unable to sleep from congestion . . . So really I have no idea why this happens . . . Google?)
Anyway, the point is I’m done and temporarily dead. And a little relieved. And a little empty. And grateful for this process and everyone who was a part of it. And now I have to finish a paper.