Summer Solo Studio Practice #15

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.

  1. Statue of Liberty
  2. World Trade Center
  3. Brooklyn Bridge
  4. Washington Square Park
  5. The Highline
  6. Union Square
  7. Empire State Building
  8. Times Square
  9. Columbus Circle
  10. Central Park
  11. The Met
  12. Museum of Natural History
  13. Columbia University
  14. The Cloisters
  15. George Washington Bridge
  16. 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:

  1. Gantry Park in LIC
  2. the Unisphere in Corona Park
  3. My boyfriend’s apartment
  4. My favorite coffee place in LIC
  5. Eden’s Expressway
  6. the Starbucks on 72nd St
  7. the DVP office in Harlem
  8. My friend’s apartment on the UES
  9. The restaurant I was fired from (ha!)
  10. The Joyce Theater
  11. Think Coffee in Union Square
  12. My private client’s apartment
  13. Chelsea Piers Park
  14. Gibney Dance
  15. Danspace Project
  16. 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.


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