Once again our creative residency in Princeton, NJ was a success. We worked hard, relaxed, and received excellent feedback on our new work-in-progress. I can not thank our gracious hosts enough. As always they were beyond hospitable, and everyone felt completely at home.
At the end of the residency, we showed around 30 minutes of work varying from quiet duets to busy quintets full of texture and counterpoint. At first, I was concerned that the heart of the work was still missing. I was glad to hear during our feedback, that the audience had connected with the piece ,and that while it still needs some editing and clarification, it’s core is clear.
During our next few rehearsals we will focus on adding onto sections that resonated with the audience including a duet between Michael and Tara. We will continue to dig deeper into the layering of the work, ensuring that crucial moments can be seen and that the loose nature of the piece works for us, and not against us. I am delighted with what we have created. And am extremely pleased to hear how audiences are receiving the work. I can’t wait for our next showing.
mvworks is busy this fall with work from NYC to Coyoacán, Mexico! This weekend we head to Princeton, New Jersey for our cherished Egg South Residency. Kendra, Michael, and Yarden will be joining us for the first time and Tara and Alli know the drill. I am counting the days until we leave. Egg South has repeatedly been a time of great discovery, forward motion, and laughter.
Up until this point we have been in heavy research and development. Creating movement, duets, trios, solos and trying different combinations of all of the above. This weekend we will try several different choreographic structures and then show a small group of loyal supporters what we’ve come up with. I look forward to getting more feedback, and getting the dancers in front of another audience. Watch out Banyan Rd. here we come!
Tomorrow marks the end of Susan Marshall and Company’s SUMAC (Systems for Understanding Movement and Choreography) Intensive. I have relished this 6 day escape into dance, movement, choreography, and the inevitable muscle soreness. I have learned a great deal, and have enjoyed the group immensely.
There is a certain nostalgia that comes with this kind of intensive. Remembrance of days when sitting at desk never crossed my mind, and a day full of dancing was expected. I hope that someday, I will again find a daily dancing practice. In the meantime I vow to you, my few but loyal blog readers, and to myself that I will take these movement holidays more often.
It is true. Nothing bonds a group of people more than a little alcohol (ok, 4 pitchers of beer) and good (greasy) food. Last Sunday, mvworks 5 gathered for our first burgers and beer, and once again McMannus did not disappoint.
I can not express how confident I am in the current company. New, old, and in between, all of the dancers are committed, genuinely interested, and working toward the same goal. Every Wednesday morning I am grateful for their presence and their willingness to do the work required to create a piece anchored in their ability to be themselves.
We have begun a search for genuine movement vocabulary for each dancer. Our current process entails journaling, movement investigation, and show and tell. Our strategy involves using self recognition (of positive and negative traits) while dancing to produce the purest sharing of ourselves with the audience.
At the beginning of each rehearsal we write down a list of traits we both like and dislike about ourselves. We investigate these traits for 30 – 45 minutes through movement improvisation. Then we watch each of our movement phrases and tell the dancer what we saw. At this stage in the process the dancer is not allowed to share the traits they are working with. This feedback system gives the dancer the ability to hear what is being portrayed solely through movement without the viewer overlaying their personal representations of their traits. For example, if someone is working with strength but we see stubborness or anger, the dancer can continue to look for a truer expression. If we know we are looking for strength, we may see it.
Eventually, once the movement vocabulary has been refined and structured, we will share our traits with each other. We will then begin a similar process but one structured for a group a people.
Michael Ingle likes making stuff, moving his bod, the feel of the sun on his face, challenges, contradictions, wide-open spaces and also trees. Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Michael was a shy tike who loved drawing, collecting things and playing soccer. He began dancing while at the University of Kansas where he earned a BFA in Art History. Since moving to New York City in 2007, he has had the good fortune of working with delightful artists like Ellie Goudie-Averill, Emily Pope-Blackman, Paul Singh and Sarah Young as well as creating and performing his own work. Presently, Michael has the glorious privilege of working with these awesome folks: Tyler Ashley, Daniel Clifton, Hilary Easton, Dawn Poirier and, of course, the lovely Megan Spenger. This is his first project with mvworks. (thanks to my peeps for standing by me/putting up with me. it is all for you, my loves)
Yarden was born and raised in Rishon Le’-zion, Israel. She danced for The Boomer Dance Company as a teen. After serving in the Israeli Army she begin to study and explore Gaga – a dance technique conceived by Ohad Naharin, the artistic director of The Batsheva Dance Company. She was very lucky to work in couple of projects with The Batsheva Ensemble. Since moving to NYC, Yarden has danced in works of Stefanie Nelson Dance Group, Oliver Steele, and presented her own work at Triskelion Arts. She is thrilled to work with Megan and with this lovely, inspiring group of dancers.
mvworks just turned 5! Honestly I can’t believe it, but if we were founded in 2005 (which we were) then it is so and there are so many people to thank.
mvworks has been and is blessed with amazing dancers (Alli, Kendra, Michael, Maria, Tara, Richert, Yarden), kick ass designers (Aaron, Brad, Jason, Joe, Mary), loyal donors (huge thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Sprenger and Mr. and Mrs. D’Augusta more amazingness here), and courageous audiences. What else could a choreographer ask for? Well, I’m asking for more. These past five years were just the beginning. mvworks is larger and stronger than ever, and we are headed with full force into the next five. Join us as we raise a glass and celebrate our accomplishments and work to bring powerful performance to every single person willing to experience it.
As we work through casting and I am talking about my ideas with others, new sides of this story begin to reveal themselves. Here are a few to ideas:
the awkwardness of connection
the inherent disconnect in trying to connect
the truth in someone’s eyes