Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Hanna Satterlee, Flynn N.A.S.A. Grant Recipient - Blog #3

Friday, October 23 - "I am beginning to clarify my purpose of this project. I was recently reminded by the Flynn directors that my time in the studio is not 'rehearsal' time. We are not supposed to think of the final result, nor should we be preparing for a big show. The grant is intended to provide time to answer questions through movement, to process creative ideas and themes, to mix talent, and experiment. I am used to treating studio time as work time, as I enjoy drilling phrases until they are crisp and clear, leaving with a satisfying sense of completion in some form."

"This grant is a challenge for me, asking me to focus on subtler details, honing in on creating a comprehensive 'style' that we as a group have created. Even though we will ultimately present our work in a showing, my purpose of this project is to create movement experiments without attachment to the results."

"To keep myself entertained, I have been focusing on details of joint rotation, placement of limbs, and articulation of fingers and toes. Small concepts, but when they’re paid attention to, it creates a big difference in clarity and style of a group."

"I started this rehearsal with Mike, wondering if we could be a set of movement twins. We are both large movers, tall and with a demanding presence. We cut and pasted the phrase from the audition, and it felt good to do it standing side by side. Since I am moving not watching, I am interested to hear what details we can focus on to bring our styles closer together."

"Andrea and Julie then arrived, and we began as a group by referring back to the diagonal pass theme we had worked on last week. This week instead of setting all steps and counts, we sourced their old phrases in an improvisational score. I gave different directions to each dancer—Andrea focusing on horizontal movement in arms; Julie focusing in spine initiation to move through space; Mike growing from the floor up to a stand, elbows helping the lift. All three instructions were layered on top of a general movement image—inwardly-rotated shoulders, sickled feet, with the two sides of the body wrapping around the core line."

"When you have smart movers, random ideas like this can turn into beautiful images. All three wowed me, again, with their willingness to try, and mix of contemplative mind-work with ease in body movement."

"After a show I saw this summer, created largely on the theme of improvising with initiations of the spine, I spoke with one of the dancers about the process and learned that they repeated the same idea every time they met (almost without any discussion) until it became more comfortable for each dancer and they were able to define their understanding of the concept. I think the score we created at this rehearsal would be an interesting one to come back to every week."

"Mike, Julie, and I continued into the rehearsal after Andrea left, reviewing the floor phrase we created together last week. It took most of our attention to remember the nuances, leaving little time to add on. We moved into the standing phrase between Mike and Julie, which is when I began to feel stuck. I tried repeating the phrases four times, making a minimal sequence change for every directional shift (front, left, back, right). I am unsure of my interest in this standing phrase, though I don't feel ready to throw it out. My dancers, so far, always comply, though I should have made more time to hear their feedback."

"I will be adding Lucille next week, the oldest dancer from the audition, who came with stunning poise but reluctance toward pop music and fast floor work. I plan to weave her into Julie and Mike’s standing phrase, and will try to focus on who they are as people for movement."

"Personality is important, perhaps something I should further study in all of my dancers."

"Also, what more can I tell them about what I am thinking? I've always hated feeling like an uniformed dancer, so in my switch to choreographer role I must remember their side of the experiment."

Please feel free to watch, comment, join, and enjoy the rehearsals!

The next open rehearsal is Friday, October 30 from 11 am to 2 pm in Chase Studio at the Flynn Center.

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