I enter the space. I warm up. I practice.
I think about the difference between practice and rehearsal. My time in the studio this summer has felt so much more like a practice, which has been incredibly satisfying. Taking the pressure off of needing to have a finished product has helped keep me out of rehearsal mode.
I’m wondering if there’s a way to maintain that intention even when rehearsing?
I make a few changes and review by New Landmarks Body Map. It feels great to do:
I want to make some new material, so I think about why this idea of landmarks is so interesting to me. What else can they represent in dance besides places in my body?
I decide to go literal: I look at a map of New York City (the place I’m currently in) and make list of 16 landmarks moving from downtown to uptown.
- Statue of Liberty
- World Trade Center
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Washington Square Park
- The Highline
- Union Square
- Empire State Building
- Times Square
- Columbus Circle
- Central Park
- The Met
- Museum of Natural History
- Columbia University
- The Cloisters
- George Washington Bridge
- The Hudson River
Rapid fire, I make a series of movements using these words as a score. To avoid mime, I try to stick with my first impulse, an immediate, physical reaction to these places:
I draw what this map from south to north would look like and place it on an east/west axis:
It occurs to me that choosing landmarks actually leaves out quite a bit. So much of the New York I know isn’t on this map, and my experience in this city was not nearly so direct.
So I try again, this time on a personal note with the places that stand out to me:
- Gantry Park in LIC
- the Unisphere in Corona Park
- My boyfriend’s apartment
- My favorite coffee place in LIC
- Eden’s Expressway
- the Starbucks on 72nd St
- the DVP office in Harlem
- My friend’s apartment on the UES
- The restaurant I was fired from (ha!)
- The Joyce Theater
- Think Coffee in Union Square
- My private client’s apartment
- Chelsea Piers Park
- Gibney Dance
- Danspace Project
- Steps on Broadway
For this map, instead of going in order, I mix up the numbers and draw them out at random. My map of New York looks something like this:
I love the sense of motion it conveys, so much like my time in NYC, always moving.
I make another rapid fire dance from these associations:
I don’t mind the gestural nature of it, but I want a more dynamic sense of physicality. I need to find my weight.
I free myself from the task and use it has a base for another phrase. I tell myself to find the peaks and valleys:
This, finally, feels like I’m on to something. A different way of dancing, but I’ve already laid out the path so I know the way.
Trust is a huge part of the creative process.