On November 13th and 14th at the Capital Theatre at 8pm, I’ll be performing a piece by Bebe Miller titled “Events and Other So-Called Virtues”. We’ve been rehearsing four times a week since the second week of classes and it has honestly been an amazing process. I cannot wait to finally get to perform the final product with my fellow cast on stage and in costume.
The process started out very rough for me. It had been a while since I had been asked to improv and generate material on my own. The setting I had previously been in was demanding but in a much different way. The movement itself was extremely physical, technical, and aggressive, and my director usually loaded a lot of choreography onto us at once. I loved it! It became a game of “how quickly can I pick this up?” and “how quickly can I execute this super difficult phrase?” He was an extremely detail-oriented choreographer and left not a lot up to interpretation.
Bebe’s process challenged me in a completely different way. It forced me to be comfortable in the ambiguity. From this place of non-clarity, I was able to see how many different interpretations and permutations there can be of one idea, both in my own choices but also in my peers’. Clarity and concreteness are things that I cling to in choreography and it’s been humbling to have that stripped from me. I’ve never seen myself as much of a choreographer (and still don’t, although stay posted I suppose) but I think realizing that you can be a collaborator is an important step on the path to choreographic endeavors.
One thing I have never experienced in a process or choreographer before that I believe to be integral to Bebe as a creator is how open and receptive she is to allowing the piece to be what it wants to be, as well as letting the dancers in it inform it’s final form. The advantages to this approach (from a dancer’s perspective anyway) are in abundance. The piece feels very genuine; everything that’s in it was what came naturally. It’s low stress which I think allows us to really delve into the intention of the movement itself. Another great thing about the openness that Bebe works with is that everyone ends up looking really great in the choreography that makes the final cut because nothing was pre-prescribed. The movement became what it is because of us, not because that’s what Bebe necessarily specifically envisioned. And that’s not to say at all that Bebe isn’t a visionary–it all distinctly fits together because all of the ideas behind all of the choreography were put forth by Bebe herself.
All in all, I feel so lucky to have been cast in a piece that gave so much responsibility to the dancers. It was exactly the atmosphere I needed to be thrown in my first semester here, and I cannot wait for all the processes to come during my four years.
Tickets for Dance Downtown can be purchased HERE.