Work Song: Shift on the Fly
Turns out I won’t be able to use GM after all. I think I’m going to reset for three dancers, even though it means shaking up the dynamics of the piece.
I originally conceived it as a piece for like 8 male dancers (8 female or neutrois or whatever would work, too), then reset for two men and two women. The basic idea was to avoid traditional male-female partnering, because there’s too much cultural freight attached to it. I guess I hadn’t yet stepped away from the idea of working in even numbers, though 😛
Using two girls and one boy will make it more challenging to shake off that baggage—but, on the other hand, as an artist, I can use that.
All this is good. It’s forcing me to get out of my own head and take risks I might not otherwise have taken. I’m not always great at rolling with the changes, but, honestly that’s part of working in dance.
I’m also trying hard not to cling to my own ideas about how audiences are likely to understand things. If anything, though, I can use those expectations; if I reset the opening to work within them, then use the part to step out of them, that would work, too.
I need to remember that part of art is going where you’re led, even when you don’t want to.
Truth be told, it’s a little funny that I’ve gotten so hung up in this. The long ballet I’m working on, Simon Crane, is arranged in such a way that both the principal roles (Simon Crane and The Naturalist) could conceivably be played by dancers of whatever gender you’ve got on hand.
On the other hand, Simon Crane is a love story (albeit a strange and complicated one, but is there any other kind in ballet?) whereas “Work Song” is basically the antithesis of that: it’s not about any kind of romantic entanglement, period.
I’ll work with AM and AS on communicating the intent of the piece as clearly as I can. In the long run, one of the best (and most dangerous) things about art is that as soon as you put it out into the world, you no longer get to control what it means.
The audience that watches this piece, ultimately, will take away whatever meaning they see, and that’s okay.
I’m beginning to realize that that’s one of the hardest things for me, as an artist. Once I create a thing and it’s out in the world, I can no longer control what happens to it. That feels scary, but I’m glad that I’ve figured out that’s what I’m feeling.
Honestly, though, more than anything I’m immensely excited about being given this chance to show my work to the world both as a choreographer and as a dancer.
Also, the fewer people in the cast, the easier scheduling becomes 😀
So there’s that.
Posted on 2016/12/24, in balllet, choreography, dance, work and tagged advanced topics in cat-herding, art can be scary sometimes, casting is hard, letting go of the need to control the audience, Work Song. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.