Goucher College’s 361 Advanced Choreography presented Altered, finally! It featured video adaptations from each piece and a closing video for the show. The show was great and it was sold out two nights! I choreographed a piece called The Secrets Bare. I created the most of the music except for the last section which featured the song Gravity by Sara Bareilles.
(The Secrets Bare- Gravity Section)
The Secrets Bare, is a group performance, in seven short sections, which is based on events that have shaped me personally and helped me grow. At the core of the work are my secrets that I have kept to myself. My keeping the secrets for long I have a hard time balancing my world and lose myself. The piece looks at self-image, emotions, and the journey to finding yourself again. The piece is dedicated to Shawnia T White for helping me see my potential, beauty and strength in myself.
(The Secrets Bare- Beautiful Pain Section)
I was nervous and excited to present my work to the greater Goucher community. I had injured dancers and honestly they struggled with the timing of choreography to the music. My dancers however did not fail me and presented a perfect show. They danced from their hearts and got the emotion across to the audience.
(The Secrets Bare- Twisted Section)
After the show I had students, teachers and family members approach me telling me what a strong and powerful piece it was. I even had one girl tell me the story she got from watching my piece. It wasn’t my intention, however I wouldn’t say she was wrong.
Overall the show was a grand success and it was called one of the strongest 361 shows. I am happy that I got to present my work to large audience and it was accepted. It makes me want to continue with choreography and continue to follow my dreams. The closing video of the choreographers dancing to “Sexy and I Know It” must have sealed the deal with the audience based on the amount of laughter and applause.
Dance photography is becoming more popular now that dance is in the media. Today dance photography is more than just bad lit studio portraits in ugly costumes, they are beautiful pieces of art. Dance photography is no loner confined to indoors, it is all over and thanks to Photoshop dance everywhere even outer-space.
(Images Top: Me Bottom: Tumblr Images)
Dance photography is important, it can be in an art gallery, used as advertisement, used as a fundraiser, found in a calendar but most importantly it is promoting dance to a wider audience. Some examples are The Ballerina Project, Ballet Zaida and Alvin Ailey. They all use dance photography for different purposes. The Ballerina Project sells beautiful ballet pictures that a photographer has taken over a period of 10 years using film. Ballet Zaida is also a photo project, but its features only the best ballet technique and has a focus on spreading ballet to everyone. Alvin Ailey uses dance photography for advertisement for their shows, school and dancers.
(Images: Left- Ballet Zaida Right- Alvin Ailey)
I have personally been interested in dance photography because there are magical moment is dance that I wish were captured on camera. For my photography class at school I have taking picture of dancers at Goucher College in black and white film and the results have been amazing. The dancers are happy to work with me and help me build my portfolio and they get a photo-shoot for free and have pictures to use in their portfolios for auditions. It is important that dancers help spread dance awareness any way possible.
(Images were taken by me)
So what is dance photography really doing to help? It is allowing the arts to prosper off of one another and flourish. It is changing the way media shows dance and it helps expand dance all over the world through the internet and prints.
Great performers are hard to come by , but dancers who inspire other people to dance are rare. That is one of the major problems in the current dance world. Michael Jackson, a great performer and dancer help shaped our dance culture. Today he is still inspiring people to dance. Michael Jackson used ballroom styled moves in his dancing along with a fusion of break dancing moves. He combined both styles to give him the swag we know him to have today. The move Michael Jackson is most famous for is known as the Moon Walk.
[Google Images ]
Michael Peters was Michael Jackson’s choreographer and he had a specific style of movement. He choreographed to the sounds of the instruments he didn’t use established dance steps or rhythms. Together the pair would create and popularize other dance moves seen in today’s culture. Beat It 1983 introduced a new dance the Worm, also choreographed by Michael Peters. It is not the traditional worm we say today that break-dancers do, which is an undulating movement on the ground on your stomach creating wave-like movement, but a standing undulating movement that travels backward. Which you can see at 3:57 in the video below.
In his music video Beat It you can also see jazz dance influences, like fan kicks, Ballroom styled movement, which you see him effortlessly glide along the floor and break dancing movement where he balances on the tips of his toes. That pose became one of the many symbols that represent Michael Jackson and dance.
Michael Peters most famous choreographed piece for Michael Jackson was the dance in Thriller. Each movement Michael and the zombies dance to is on the sound of the instrument the very basic steps forward with the head tilting is on the sound of the drum which is emphasized. Thriller incorporated so many different styles of movement that it created the perfect blend. It has hip rolls, glides, fan kicks, spins, toe stands and the famous crotch grab all combined into sharp clear movement.
Michael Jackson was a large force in the popularization of break-dancing and dance. He has influenced many generations and his legacy lives on today though his music videos, movies and even his dancing game the Michael Jackson Experience. Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009. He has left the torch to everyone waiting on someone to pick it up and influence the dance world. Who is up to the challenge?
Dance is the new black and everyone is watching it. TV shows like Dance Moms and So You Think You Can Dance are changing society’s view on dance. Dance began as a social movement full of expression and technique but today it’s a competition with lots of tricks and lack of emotion on television. In dance as a child you take technique classes in Ballet, because it’s said that it is the foundation for all forms.
Dance Moms shows the competition side of dance at an early age. It follows six young dancers who battle it out every week in new competitions across the country competing in solos and group pieces for the Abby Lee Miller Dance Company. The girls are learning a multitude of styles and tricks for each genre of dance. You can hear Abby screaming about technique and creating technically sound dancers but where is the passion? How can one find the passion behind the tricks and the flashy costumes.
(Google Images- Dance Moms)
Dance Moms is preparing the girls to go on to So You Think You Can Dance. I love the show, however it’s becoming more about the tricks you can do and less about the technique and quality of the movement. I think it’s great that the show makes everyone dance in multiple styles that they usually wouldn’t get, but if it’s a competition let’s make it one, lets take out the dance form “contemporary.” Most of the dancers getting picked to go into the top 20 are jazz or contemporary dancers. Lets challenge them take out contemporary and add African or better yet, take it back to the foundation lets add a Ballet pas de deux.
(Google Images – So You Think You Can Dance Lauren)
The issue is dance is more than tricks and flashy costumes. It is a creative and artistic outlet for expression, that serves a deeper meaning. Classical dance forms like Ballet and Modern are being overlooked. Dance on television is just entertainment, it’s the glamourous side. Dance is not glamourous there are many struggles, one has to be determined and passionate to do it. Media should show both sides.
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 companyperformed 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.
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.