I have been working on my dance piece called the Secrets Bare. I love to dance and I love to choreograph. Im finding it hard to get my dancers to emote a real emotion while they dance the piece. I need to figure out a way to put an image in their mind so that the emotion is real. I had to switch two dancers around because one girl just could not give me an emotion, she was empty. I think that I am being picky for the simple fact that they are dancing my story, my struggle with myself, and my journey to where I am now.
The Secrets Bare is about me, and how I was sexually assaulted my freshmen year at college. I didn’t know how to deal with the situation and I kept inside of me till it started to destroy me. To put the icing on the cake my boyfriend at the time cheated on me and the girl he cheated on me with would verbally abuse me over the phone, Facebook, anyway possible. This went on for four months, I developed bad habits and hated myself it wasn’t until a good friend of mine helped me see my inner beauty and gave me strength to heal and I learned to love myself again.
This dance is my coming out story. I am creating the music and its powerful the emotion is crystal clear, you can hear the pain, visualize my journey. The dance is more difficult to explain. I have seven dancers all being a different version of myself but still representing other people at the same time. I have three dancers playing hate, anger, and the source of the problem. The remaining dancers are playing the different emotions I felt, lonely, worthless, ugly and unloved.
My goal is to have the piece take you on the last day that I felt those emotions right up till I realized that I am a beautiful and strong woman. The dance is in rough shape right now I am half way there. I Just need to figure out how to get the dancers to emote those emotions clearly.
“We either make ourselves miserable,or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda
Sporadic, warped, yet extremely intriguing and danced beautifully the Bill T Jones/ Arnie Zane Dance Company’s Story/Time, is a unique dance theater experience for everyone. The Bill T Jones/ Arnie Zane dance company performed at The Vets in Providence, RI.
Bill T Jones and his company has shaped the evolution of dance through the creation and performance of more than 140 works in multiple venues of modern dance and theatrical dance. He has created award-winning choreography for the musicals like Spring Awakening on Broadway. He retired at 60 and decided to come back with the world premier Story/ Time.
The visual landscape of Story/ Time is defined by Bill T Jones sitting at a table center stage with a digital clock appearing behind him counting the minuets. It is based on Indeterminacy where Cage sits alone on a stage reading one-minuet stories.
(Photo: Taken by Matt Rainey for the NY TIme)
There are nine dancers dressed in yoga pants, bright T-shirts, hoodies and printed dresses that orbit around Bill T Jones, and the ever-changing scenery. The dancers executed one-minuet choreographed pieces that invoked both ballet and modern techniques. There are duets and trios of dancers bending and swinging their arms, creating flowing lines parallel with their lunging legs. An exciting moment is when a dancer stands on another’s shoulders and falls backward into the group’s outstretched arms, which in flows into interesting partnering and lifts. Later in the work you see men and women rolling across the stage and they encounter a man and woman performing naked. The movement is constantly changing style, just like the story and the musical accompanying it.
The composer Ted plays a wide arrangement of music from playing both acoustic and electronic guitar, vocal samples loops and percussion. The music was generally warm and pleasing, which helped complement Bill T Jones voice. There was two sections however, that were deliberately loud that had you wishing you could mute the music. But after a long two minuets it quickly changes into a different section with a hammers sound banging on steel springs. The constant changing music and movement combine with the lighting produced a hypnotic atmosphere.
I thought the performance was great. It was sporadic yet intriguing all at the same time. Bill T Jones grabs your attention from the moment he steps foot on stage. Bill T Jones gets the audience involved by asking how long we think a min is and everyone is surprised to see how long a minuet really is from there he says “well you 70 more of those left” and then sits down to begin the performance. At first you find yourself trying to focus on either the movement or the story but it isn’t until you give up and just sit back and accept then do you get to enjoy the work. The only thing that was unpleasing is the back to back section with the over amplified music combined with the harsh bright back lighting that the dancers move across the stage slowly. If you thought a minuet was quick that will be one of the longest minuets of your life after it is over however, you will be relieved and can go back to enjoying the rest of the show. The work all feels like a dream in the end because there are 70 short stories you cant remember them all and when it is over you a just amazed with what happened and struggle with the fact that you only remember a few specific stories from the show like Bill T Jones talking about a conversation with his mother. Overall I think Bill T Jones/ Arnie Zane Dance Company performance of Story/ Time was dance beautifully and it is a must see. The show will always be slightly different with the fact that the order of the stories are read at random and left to chance. You will be in for a roller coaster ride with many twist and turns that will leave you breathless and wanting more.
Time is ticking down quickly and I am having a hard time adding new choreography. Some one is always missing and that makes it hard for me to add anything on. I am currently working on five solos and two duets. All of it is done except the last duet because I was missing the partner for it. I am building music for each solo which is difficult because I want the timing to be perfect with the movement and if I am missing people all I can do is guess how long it will take.
I made a new section of the music, I don’t know how I feel about it yet, I guess I will have to let it grow on me. Here is the song, let me know what you think.
That song will bleed into beautiful pain the powerful solo section. That section is about the person not being able to hold themselves together anymore, due to peer pressure, bullying, sexual assault and their boy friend cheating on them. I really think the song captures the emotion from those experiences. Here is the song again. Listen to the music and let a dance full of emotion just materialize in your head. What do you see?
Well I am home on spring break injured so I can’t physically dance right now but I am working on the beginning of the Secrets Bare and the music. I have so many great thoughts in my head it’s just a matter of translating them in to music and dance. Well off to get back to work on it, let me know what you think of the music.
This weekend I performed in the show at Goucher College called Attack of the Monster Crabs. I only performed the first two nights, but it was great the show was sold out! Sandy Ungar the president of Goucher College was there for opening night!
Saturday I could not perform in the show because I flew home to audition for the New England Patriots Cheerleaders. I was a nervous wreck in the morning, I felt like I was going to pass out in the shuttle ride to BWI airport.
The whole plane ride I kept telling myself to try my hardest and don’t freak out. I didn’t know what to expect because I was unable to go to the workshop they held earlier but I didn’t let that stop me. My plane arrived in Providence, RI at 9:00 am, and the drive to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA is 40 mins away from the airport so my mom kept driving in circles to avoid parking and wasting time. My family and I had a plan to get there before registration opened at 10:00am.
I got there at 9:45! I also ran into a friend from high school so we walked into the audition together. She went to the workshop so she knew what to expect. It was nice waiting in line with her and getting to audition with her. I was number 212, there were 300 people at the audition.
They started off my introducing the judges one of them being Marina Ortega, the Celtics Dancers coach. I was excited because I plan on auditioning for them as well. After they quickly stretched us and we went on to learn an across the floor combination. We performed it four at a time. So my friend and I went together. They made a cut right after all of us had gone.
They cut 150 dancers, luckily I wasn’t one of them. Round two was freestyle and we had to perform 7 counts of 8. I hate free style to unknown music, but I made it work. I think I should have done more kicks and more jazz but I let my personality shine through. They made another at 530 after this round ended. I was cut, however it was a great experience and I will audition next year. My friend made it to the finals so I’ll be rooting her on!
Next stop Celtics audition this summer!
I have been preparing for a theater and dance show called ATTACK of the CRAB MONSTERS since November 2011. The show is this Thursday, March 1 through Saturday, March 3rd. It will be at 8pm at Goucher College in the Dunnok Theater.
The show is about the crabs in the Chesapeake bay getting up and leaving because humans are destroying their homes and them. It has two main characters Martha and Dale who go on this journey and transformation to see how crabs are living and what humans are doing to them. It takes place in what seems to be a dream like state where the worlds are reversed. Crabs eat humans instead and go to school.
The show is funny, interactive and will keep your attention the whole time. Every member in the audience will receive a survival kit which the things they need, like a poncho or soda can. It the survival kit there will be a surprise for everyone to go home with as well.
I am currently on my way to the tech rehearsal now, so hopefully it goes well tonight seeing we are so close to the show. There is a lot of stress on everyone seeing as Sandy Ungar, President of Goucher College will be attending opening night! I am excited to see what everyone thinks of the show and I am nervous that I will not make it back from the New England Patriots audition on Saturday in time for the show.
How do you take your thoughts and turn them in to movement that is true? Does your movement reflect your personality? Can you teach someone else your movement vocabulary? These are things that I have to consider while choreographing for 361 Advance Choreography.
My piece is about losing yourself due to everyday occurring events that slowly break you down, like being bullied to the point where you believe what they say about you. Due to the bullying you now have self esteem issues and that causes you to not eat. Depression, Pain and Emptiness, those feelings will be evident in my work.
I am thinking of naming the work The Secrets Bare. I feel like its time to let the secrets out and let go. By holding on to them they have just weighed me down and held me back I think its time to let myself be free.
I am currently creating the music for my work, it is called Beautiful Pain, you can listen to it and let me know what you think. What emotions do you feel in the music? http://soundcloud.com/jan-delle-varinique/beautiful-pain
I will be talking more about the piece in the coming weeks and I will be posting video soon so you can see the process behind my method of choreographing.
“Dances without purpose have false starts and stops.”
– Hanya Holm
This past week at Goucher College we had a special guest artist in residence in the dance department who would be setting a work on students for the Spring Dance Concert. The guest artist was the beautiful and amazing Ballerina, Susan Jaffe! If you do not know who Susan Jaffe is she danced as a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre for over 20 years. Many people in the dance world would consider her to be a “Prima Ballerina,” very different than a ballet dancer. A ballet dancer is anyone who takes ballet and loves it a Prima Ballerina is Principal dancer in the company the role model that little girls dream of being when they see a dance show by American Ballet Theater or the New York City Ballet. On top of creating and setting a work on 7 lucky dance students at Goucher, she taught ballet master classes for the week in the dance department. I can honestly say that after taking class with her and observing her classes I have improved so much in ballet. The way she explains things to you like how to breathe from your back and expand without opening your ribs up makes moving and breathing in class so much easier. She draws upon her experiences to help explain things to us in class, which in turns inspires and motivates us to work harder. I am not a ballerina, I am a dancer and it is my passion, however after observing her class I looked forward to going to ballet and applying all of the things she talked about and seeing if they work, they did. After one week the dancers at Goucher College have improved greatly. It has been an amazing opportunity to have Susan Jaffe here and getting the opportunity to know her and ask her questions at Meet the Artist on February 10, 2012 along with watch the first movement of the piece in production was incredible. Susan Jaffe, had an amazing performance career. She accomplished her goal that she set for herself as a little girl. She has been a breath of fresh air for the dancers at Goucher College and I look forward to seeing the final performance. Currently Susan Jaffe is the Ballet Mistress of American Ballet Theatre and has published a book “Becoming a Ballerina” for children.
“Why do I need to be good at math when I’m going to be a ballerina?” – Susan Jaffe in middle school.
On the subject of dance and performance in class with Susan Jaffe
“Today am I going to be Mediocre or Beautiful? Blend In or Stand Out?… Beautiful it is.” – Susan Jaffe
To see the Performance of the work Susan Jaffe set on Goucher Dancers the concert will be held in April please check the website for more information. http://www.goucher.edu/x5706.xml