Freefall Week One – 6/8/14
By Becky Miles, Apprentice
I came into rehearsals on the third day of week one.
The morning started with an open company class that was team-taught by Emily, Grace and Rob. It was great to be moving in an energetic class environment after the amazing Freefall summer intensive. It was also great to see some of the dancers who had attended the weekend nursing happy aching bodies in class too.
With our bodies and minds awoken by dance, class was over, and after a small break for stretching/trick practicing (I can’t resist being upside down in some form of gymnastic/yoga madness), rehearsals began.
I sat in the corner for the first hour or so as I wanted to observe and absorb; I’m also very aware of respecting the space; especially the “creating” space. The focus of the week was on a re-work of a piece called ‘Effete’. It was at the stage of comfortably (and sometimes not so comfortably) working through the sections, developing material, pinching out the gold dust and refining what “IT” is.
Within the first hour there were roughly five things I felt inspired to write about, either taken from things that Emily (choreographer) or Grace and Rob (dancers) had said either off the cuff, intentionally or just by way of vocalising their path through the movement.
I felt excited by watching broken down and developed movement slot into what appeared to be the original phrasing, like the pieces of a puzzle coming together. It was interesting to witness this knowing that although Emily had the closest version of the picture on the puzzle box, she had the incentive that the whole picture was still open to change and that the little pinches of gold dust which came out of improvisation, chance or playing with ideas, were the details of change.
What was so great for me was to actually put time and effort into observing, and by doing this taking time to retreat from my body. It gave me the chance to understand what the mind and movement process was about for Emily, Grace and Rob. I think the passive outside eye can be so very different from when you are in the thick of it. I’m so used to being ‘in it’ that this perspective was a new experience and many times I had to resist the urge to jump up and dance or give my voice to what was happening.
It very much gave me the sense that the rehearsing/ creating process is similar to how we can phrase our lives: We have pockets and sections that we sort into boxes in our mind, in this case, choreography, that we name, rename and label. Bits we like, parts that stick, parts which flow. Mainly it’s like life. A journey, a continuous path of events, the choreographer in someway holding the map and the dancers paving the road with instinct, instruction and the guiding hand of their developing story.
Just like in life it is very much a shared process and no one person can truly go it alone. Watching the collaboration between Emily and the dancers was great. Instinctive to what they needed, setting goals, helping them understand her creativity and also giving them room to find their own understanding.
The week continued in this manner, bodies and brains became more tired but determination set in and was there to stay. There was also a certain wiser experienced understanding that the piece needed time to resettle in their bodies. There was also a lot of laughter, a confidence that time and rehearsal was respected but that those in the space were human, not dancing robots. There were ‘oops’ moments, ‘ahh’ moments and ‘sorry I dropped you’ moments and although these were not the main attraction of my viewing they were definitely part of the highlights.
Photo: Becky Miles