Creative Work, Dance, Perfect 10

Dear Nature: Week 5

OceanIt is show week! We premiere portions of dances with Dear Nature tonight at Artspace. (We premiere the entire piece on September 18.)

Rehearsal this week was all about the details: see the dancers in their costumes, practice all the choreography and find any details that need “fixing.” A lot of choreographers and dancers talk about “cleaning” a piece prior to performance, and we do want everything to look precisely how it should, but I really do my best to handle this cleaning as we learn material so incorrect placements or motions do not get stuck into the dancers’ “muscle memory.” So there was not a ton of cleaning to do, just reviewing everything – especially those transition points between sections, those were a bit more shaky in everyone’s bodies.

Also this week I needed to decide which portions of the work we would show on Friday. It sounds like a fairly easy decision, though, it comes harder than you might think. Once the entire work is complete, it can be tough to look at only part of it and have that part feel like a complete work. Naturally there are sections I feel are stronger than others; however, so I started looking at those sections to choose what would be best for our short shows this week.

Other factors came into play, too, in this decision. Because we are performing during First Friday, when hundreds of people will be checking out the artwork in Artspace, I know the gallery will be a bit loud, and you may have people just wandering in and out to see part of each show. The opening section of the work, “Ocean,” I believe is very strong and striking, but I also believe you need a captive audience, sitting comfortably in a quiet space to really tune in to this part of the work. Not having those conditions, that piece will have to wait until the full premiere on September 18.

We still have some great portions to be performed this evening, though! Audience members can expect to see two great trios (one to part of Julia Price’s Sun Kiss and one to Proxy’s The War), as well as a dance to one of Jessica Temple’s poems (2508 Circle Drive). Come check out one of the shows: 7pm, 8pm and 9pm in Gallery 2, Artspace, 201 E Davie St, Raleigh. See you tonight!

-Autumn
(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

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About Us, Creative Work, Dance, Dancers, Perfect 10

Dear Nature: Week 3 (part 2)

Open company technique class, August 24.

Open company technique class, August 24.

I’m adding in a second post for Week 3 (following our weekend rehearsal) mainly because of the wonderful company technique class we had on Saturday. This is the first season we have been able to open some of our company classes to community dancers, and so far the response has been great! We had eight dancers join our company and apprentice dancers on Saturday morning, which is probably the perfect number so our space doesn’t get too crowded yet we have lots of extra dancer-energy jumping around.

I certainly love teaching class, so much that sometimes I wonder if I should keep choreographing? Wouldn’t life be easier if I just concentrated on teaching? The answer is surely yes, but I know I miss creating new art when I’m not. (That hasn’t happened very often lately, but I do still know that!) Besides that, a huge element of being a choreographer is also being a teacher – at least in small companies without rehearsal directors or dance captains, etc. It is my responsibility to teach each dancer to perform the material the way I envision, even if that changes slightly based on the nuances of that individual dancer.

Over the past five seasons with Code f.a.d., I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of the same dancers for all those 5+ years. I’ve had the joy of teaching technique class and teaching my choreography to these dancers for so long that it feels easy now. (Well, relatively easy.) While the dancers have kept their own individual performance styles, we have all merged into a collective vision – a unified style of movement. This is the only reason why it is possible to create dances with Dear Nature over such a short amount of time. These dancers are wonderfully dedicated (in addition to being talented), and have absorbed anything I’ve taught them over the years. (It is also worth mentioning one of our cast members in this work is a much newer company member, only in her 3rd year with Code f.a.d. while the rest are in their 6th. Kristina is learning quickly!)

So, thank you dancers! Thank you company dancers for dancing with me for so long, and thank you company class attendees for bringing your energy into the mix. I look forward to seeing you (and maybe a few new faces) at our next class on September 7.

-Autumn
(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

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Creative Work, Dance, Perfect 10

Dear Nature: Week 3 (part 1)

Week 3 (as crazy as it seems) marks the halfway point to our first performance of dances with Dear Nature. What a quick process! We’ve made great progress so far, but I’m also starting to panic a little during this week – wondering how we’ll have time to finish everything before the shows. I am smart enough to realize, though, that panicking will not help my efforts, so nothing to do but get to work.

We begin our mid-week, evening rehearsal with a couple runs of “Ocean,” and I can tell Natalee and Brooks have practiced their roles outside of rehearsal. It is a definite perk that those two are roommates! They able to get together easily to at least think through new material, and you can just tell they know each other well and so make for great duet partners. This section of the dance looks pretty ready for performance already – minus a few “forgotten parts” that we promptly review.

And it is on to new material! Today’s focus is to learn another trio that will fit into the last portion of Julia Price’s Sun Kiss. The “Phrase in 3′s” already had some falling or collapsing into the floor is its movement vocabulary and “Ocean” added to that theme of grounding into the earth with much of its opening material. So, this led me to explore keeping the dancers absorbed in this lower level – in this case by having the dancers laying down for almost the entire section of dance.

Laying Trio 3This is a very pieced-together section, rather than a phrased section. That means instead of teaching everyone a dance phrase to then manipulate into a trio, I’m working with one dancer at a time, giving them their choreography one movement at a time. And nothing is “counted” to the music in this section! Each dancer learns a bit, then I look at all three performing together to tweak timing or orders of movements to insure the dancers are not completely running (well, rolling) into each other. (Remember we are working in a small space; this section takes place on our 6′ x 10′ section of floor.)

Eventually we make it through the trio, but it has taken up most of our rehearsal time this night. We’ll have to save reviewing our other sections for the weekend rehearsal. Until then…

-Autumn
(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

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Creative Work, Dance, Perfect 10

Dear Nature: Week 1

The beginnings of a dance are easy, exciting, invigorating, exhausting, and difficult. I know those things may not seem to coexist, but believe me, in creative work, they certainly do. As I begin any new dance work, I am flooded with ideas – about the movement, the stage, the costumes, the props, the film, the music, the dancers – really everything. The tough part is focusing those ideas and really getting to work! It’s fun to sit around and think about what a dance might be, but it is another thing to get to the real business of making everything fit together into a coherent piece of art.

But, it is that time to work. Before heading into my first rehearsal with the dancers several things happened:

Sound:
I connected with a new composer for our company (Julia Price) and selected one of her compositions for use in our dance (Sun Kiss).
I was inspired by several poems by my long-time friend (Jessica Temple) and asked her to record them for us (sound clips coming soon!).

Props/Stage:
I ordered (and received) foam flooring to use in our show – both for color and to protect us from any uneven areas in the Artspace floor.

Costumes:
No sewing has started on the costume-front, but I have colors (yellow, blue, green) and textures (voluminous, fluffy ruffles) in mind at this point.

Movement:
Movement is always the tough part – to start finding your vocabulary for the dance. A few things came right away, but mainly the movement was slowly draw out of my body, through hours spent just moving (improvising) in my small home studio. I did have two solid phrases going into the first rehearsal, which is quite a lot of dance to have so early (but we do not have a lot of time before this show, thus the hurry). I’m calling the first our “16-count Gesture Phrase” and the second our “Phrase in 3′s.” I also had an idea to play around with to have the dancers help generate a bit of movement if we had some extra time in that first rehearsal.

Time for dancers to join the process!

Phrase in #'sThese first few rehearsals are all about throwing the material at the dancers: seeing what works and what doesn’t, seeing who thrives with which phrases, and not worrying too much about the details at this point. I taught the “Gesture Phrase” first, then started putting this phrase into a spatial plan (formations, transitions and levels/dynamic changes). Knowing we only have a short amount of time, as soon as I feel the dancers have this in their bodies, we move on to the “Phrase in 3′s.” This movement is learned all together, then is put into a duet, with timing and spatial changes for the downstage dancer.

I watch Natalee and Kristina perform the duet and am struck by how different they are as dancers. In my mind, I envisioned the duet as two facets of the same personality but what I am seeing is two completely different people having a similar life experience. They are in two different places, having different responses to the same situation. Perhaps this is what the piece is about: seeing how different people live in an environment. When do they approach a problem the same? When do they look completely separate? When do they help each other?

I think these are good questions to ponder as I continue to process.

-Autumn
(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

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Creative Work, Dance, Perfect 10

The Creative Process Begins

After having such a great experience creating Finding Place in response to the artwork of El Anatsui (then seen at the NC Museum of Art), I decided to embark on a similar experience this season of creating dance inspired by visual artwork. This time we will be performing in the gallery with the exhibition, so I’m very excited to be involved in a project where the audience is truly surrounded by the inspiration.

I met with Artspace to discuss the possibilities, and we settled on an early fall exhibition titled Dear Nature, with art from Natalie Abrams, Cynthia Camlin, & Mi-Sook Hur. We will perform at September’s First Friday gallery opening (Sept 6) then another, longer performance with an artist Q&A on September 18. These dates are fast approaching, so that means it is time to get to work!

I actually began processing ideas for this new work a couple months ago, but now as we begin rehearsals with the dancers this week I am opening up my process to you through this blog. This is your inside peek at my choreographic process and how a Code f.a.d. Company show comes together. Twice a week I’ll update you with my ideas for the dance, costumes, music, text, and props, and I’ll let you know what we are up to in rehearsals with photos and video clips. Don’t worry, though, there will still be plenty of surprises for you when you come to see the final product!

As I am sharing my thoughts about this new dance work, I also encourage you to share your thoughts and ask any questions you may have along the way. I love to discuss dance and my creative work, so let’s engage in a discussion. Thank you for joining (or at least following) me in this journey, and I look forward to what this blogging process will add to my process and can only imagine it will allow me to delve even deeper into my creative world.

-Autumn
(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

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Creative Work, Dance, Fashion Briefs, Film, Travel

A look back at Fashion Briefs

While the majority of the company’s time is spent preparing for our next big show, Finding Place, I decided to take a break to think back to our last big show – Fashion Briefs. (Also, I just sometimes need a break from the creative process to remind myself that even though I may feel blocked at the moment, this happens with every new work and eventually the work will get finished and will premiere!) We have recently received some wonderful photos (by Siobhan Hanna Photography) from our Fashion Briefs performance in Washington, D.C., and so I’m taking this FAD Friday to share some of my favorites. *I especially love how some of the McQueen images capture the ghostly images of the late designer in the background!

-Autumn
(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

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About Us, Dancers

A Day in the Life of a Code f.a.d. Dancer: Gerren Mobley

Gerren as Ralph Lauren

Gerren as Ralph Lauren

Editor’s note: I was introduced to Gerren soon after I began teaching at NC State University, through Dance Program Director Robin Harris. Gerren was an alum of the NCSU Dance Company and lucky for us, was still dancing and living in Raleigh after graduation! He is another one of our dancers who has been with the company since it started; he actually worked with me also for my film project Product, which began before Code f.a.d. was “officially” founded.

It is difficult to say what a typical day in my life would be like because, like most people I know, no two days could ever quite be the same. This is even more true now that I am in my second year of law school. On a typical day during the semester, I wake up around 5:45 in the morning to get ready for school. The first thing I do is make a pot of coffee because I am generally not a functional person prior to having at least one cup. Then I prepare my lunch and any snacks to keep me going for the majority of the day. This helps reduce my temptation to go out to lunch and make poor eating choices, even though I have to admit that Chargrill and Snoopy’s Hotdogs are only two blocks away from school and are often rotated into my lunch plans during the examination period.

When I arrive at school around 7:30 in the morning, I immediately drop my books off at my favorite study corral in the library, as I am likely to be in the same spot for the vast majority of the day. I try to schedule my classes early so I can utilize the afternoons to prepare for any classes or research any cases or laws I may need for upcoming assignments. I will often stay at school literally all day, sometimes not leaving the library until 10 at night, but I do take a break between 4 to 5 in the evening to either go workout at the gym, take a yoga class, attend a Code f.a.d. rehearsal, or even teach a dance class in the evening. One of the things I have learned as being a law student is that it is okay to take a break when you need one and you should often schedule these breaks to avoid taking too much time off or not allowing your brain time to rest in between reading assignments. Plus as a dancer, it is important to not only keep my physical physique up to par, but my mental capacities as well.

picture of my coffee table preparing for my Constitutional Law II final exam

picture of my coffee table preparing for my Constitutional Law II final exam

Rehearsals require us dancers to have both physical and mental strengths because it is important for injury prevention and to retain the complexities of each choreographic piece. Prior to attending rehearsals and during my off-time, I spend a portion of the day going over choreography and listening to the music we dance to from our in-house composer (Todd Buker) in order to catch certain accents in the music and translate them into my movements.

The last thing I do before my day ends is try to spend some time watching television, specifically the Daily Show or catch-up with Modern Family and House Hunters on my DVR. I think it is important to allow my brain to disconnect somewhat to everything I did prior to that point. This helps me to relax and have an uninterrupted number of hours to sleep.

And this is what is a typical day in the life of Gerren Mobley….thanks for reading.

-Gerren

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Creative Work, Finding Place, Travel

Back to work in the new year!

We are a few days into 2013 now, and rest assured, the company is busy once again after a break from rehearsals for two weeks. Yesterday afternoon Christina, Gerren, and I met to record our stories from Finding Place. (Thank you Chris White for your help with the recording!) While my story has already been choreographed, we have just barely started working on material for Gerren’s (and haven’t started Christina’s at all). Click here to listen to just a short portion of Gerren’s contribution to the text of the piece. As you can probably imagine, the images of those clowns are too irresistible not to work into the piece! Luckily, we’ve already found some volunteers to join our Finding Place cast:

a couple creepy clowns...

a couple creepy clowns…

So, the choreography is coming along with new dances and new stories, and good thing because we are only a month away from our First Friday perform at Artspace! We will be showing a short portion of Finding Place in Artspace’s downstairs education room on February 1 – a special preview performance ahead of the big premiere later that month in Durham. Shows will last approximately 10-15 minutes each and will take place at 7pm, 8pm and 9pm that evening. *Don’t worry, we’ll remind you again as we get closer!

Speaking of performances, we are even closer to our next tour performance of Julep; the company will be in Wilmington, NC, next Sunday, January 13 for a 3pm show in the Cultural Arts Building on the UNC-Wilmington campus. See ncdancefestival.org for more info or to buy tickets in advance. If you haven’t had the chance to see this work yet, please come out! We only have one tour stop left after Wilmington (January 25 in Charlotte). Feel free to view again the video clips of Julep online to get excited for the performance. Did you know there is also a 6-person version of Julep (in addition to the trio the company performs)? I expanded the cast last year to set the work on the NCSU Dance Company, and honestly, I don’t know which version I tend to enjoy watching more! Check them both out on my personal YouTube channel and the Code f.a.d. channel.

I know this post feels a bit disjointed – must just be the craziness that is the new year – and double show prep… Our regular rehearsal schedule starts back up tomorrow morning, so you can look forward to some video clips of our new choreography up next week!

-Autumn
(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

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About Us, Creative Work, Dance, Film

Reflections on 2012

While the end of the calendar year marks only the halfway mark of the Code f.a.d. Company season, I feel perhaps we are overdue for a moment of reflection on the company’s accomplishments during this year (the tail end of our 4th and now the first half of our 5th seasons). I am personally taking some time to reflect on my life this evening, so why not do the same for this huge portion of my life that is Code f.a.d.?

2012 Code f.a.d. Company Highlights

Gerren takes Penelope for a dip in the hot tub!

Gerren takes Penelope for a dip in the hot tub!

January 1: Several company members helped dancer Gerren Mobley celebrate his birthday with a trip to Emerald Isle, NC. (This was not an official company function, but why not remember some beach fun?) I recall some dancing and handstands in the sand, playing Wii Rock Band, and lots of other fun that we may not want recorded in print…

January 26-28: The company premieres Calvin Klein: Casual Friday and Destination by Michael Kors at the Greensboro Fringe Festival – a great opportunity to test out a few of the new sections of Fashion Briefs before the BIG premiere in March.

Brooks in "YSL, Fashion Manifesto"

Brooks in “YSL, Fashion Manifesto”

February 11: Fashion Briefs photoshoot in the freezing cold on NC State’s Centennial Campus. Looking back, I think the cold was worth dealing with, since we got some great shots!

February 29-March 3: I travel to James Madison University for the American College Dance Festival Association’s Mid-Atlantic Regional and teach about 50 collegiate dancers portions of A Dolce & Gabbana Doubleheader. (Jill also is in attendance and serves as an impromptu teaching assistant for the class warm-up.)

Natalee during the Vera Wang film shoot

Natalee during the Vera Wang film shoot

March 5: Film shoot for Vera Wang: The Dress at Aldersgate Church in Durham, NC. We got almost everything accomplished in about an hour and a half, but then the zipper on Christina’s dress broke during a particularly enthusiastic back shoulder roll! I finished up the evening with a few close-ups of Natalee, but we knew there would be some missing pieces we’d have to get later after fixing the costume.

March 6-11: About half the company makes the long drive to Birmingham, Alabama, to perform sections of Fashion Briefs in a shared concert with local company, Sanspointe. This marked the first time I have traveled back to perform in Alabama since graduating from the University of Alabama in 2000; the concert was both well-attended and well-received! Read a short review here.

March 18: Finished up the Vera Wang film shoot (we got the dress fixed while in Birmingham) in the studio at North Carolina Dance Institute!

"Calvin Klein: Casual Friday" at Burning Coal

“Calvin Klein: Casual Friday”

March 19-25: This is the big one – the premiere of the full, evening-length version of Fashion Briefs! This was our first show in the Burning Coal Theatre at the Murphy School in downtown Raleigh, and we loved having a “home” space for the entire week. In total, Fashion Briefs premiered with 12 sections – one section completely on film (Vera Wang: The Dress) and most of the other 11 including live dance and video projections. While I wouldn’t rule out adding another designer in the future, for now the “live version” feels complete. The next step for Fashion Briefs is to create more dance film sections; ultimately, I hope to create a film version for all 12 parts (so that means 10 more sections to make as we travel into 2013). If you aren’t sure when the second film section happened, just keep reading! *One of my favorite memories of this concert was our “preview” night on Thursday. Lots of NCSU students were in the audience this evening – members of the Arts Village, a few NCSU Dance Company dancers, and most of my dancers in Panoramic Dance Project! I loved being able to share this work with them all, and I hope we can continue to expose the collegiate (and even younger) audience to modern dance.

March 30: Panoramic Dance Project Concert at NC State University! This obviously is not a Code f.a.d. Company event, but Gerren and myself had choreography in the show. Gerren set his three-part modern-jazz work Testimonial on the company, and I created a new Butoh-inspired work (titled Journey) for four student dancers. Perhaps Code f.a.d. will perform Journey in a future season…

April 18: In preparation for our summer project with the NC Museum of Art, I toured the El Anatsui exhibition with Education Coordinator Kristin Smith. The artwork was amazingly inspiring; it made me excited to begin the next creation!

May & June: Busy creating and rehearsing Finding Place. We also created this blog during these months, so go back and read our first posts about the Finding Place process if you haven’t!

Finding Place at NCMA

“Finding Place” at the NC Museum of Art

July 7: Our work inspired by the artwork of El Anatsui premieres as part of the NC Museum of Art’s Summer Dance Series! In this showing, Finding Place was about 15 minutes in length, and at the time, I wasn’t sure if it would continue to grow within the Code f.a.d. repertory. Not long after, though (and partially because of feedback received at our performances), I decided I did want to continue with and expand the piece. As you may already know, we are adding more stories, more dancing, and some film segments to turn Finding Place into our next evening-length work (to premiere in early 2013). Overall, this first part of our Finding Place experience came at just the right time to energize myself (and perhaps the entire company) as we prepared to enter our 5th season. We worked in a very fast and focused way to create the work and invited in several guest dancers for the museum performances. The energy and contributions of these new dancers (a variety of community/professional dancers and NCSU student dancers) really helped shape the work and push the company into a new process of more collaborative dance-making.

August 6-10: During my “vacation” to New York, I (of course) did a bit of company work, as well – amongst taking dance and aerial yoga classes and seeing shows! Monica and I shot the first film segment of Finding Place in Central Park; you can read more about her contribution to the piece in the August 10 blog entry here.

September 7: Julep is performed at Meredith College as part of the NC Dance Festival tour. (It is our third time on the tour!)

"Finding Place" at Vault Yoga

“Finding Place” at Vault Yoga

September 13 & 14: SPARKcon – downtown Raleigh’s Creativity Festival! Finally we get to perform (at least part of) Indulge again! Part of the SPARKcon Opening Ceremonies, Code f.a.d. – along with two guest dancers – takes Indulge to the Raleigh Amphitheater stage. This was a great opportunity to bring our work to a large (and fairly non-dance) audience, since we performed directly after the fashionSPARK Runway Show. The following night we then performed a smaller version of Finding Place in Vault Yoga’s studio space on Fayetteville Street. These smaller, more informal SPARKcon showings are a great way to really interact with your audience, and I’m happy the company was able to be involved in our 5th SPARKcon this year.

September 28-30: After a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise needed funds, we head to the NC coast to shoot the next Fashion Briefs dance film! The forecasted rain luckily held off until we got all our needed scenes done for Destination by Michael Kors. Thank you so much to all who contributed to the campaign! We are a bit behind on film editing and mailing out your other Code f.a.d. goodies (buttons, coffee mugs, and photos), but you can expect to receive all we’ve promised you in early 2013.

October 12: Two Horton/Code f.a.d. technique classes taught to dancers at Northern Guilford High School in Greensboro. The students did very well learning a bit of Julep phrasework, as well, as a teaser for the upcoming NCDF tour performances.

October 19-21: I attended the NC Dance Alliance’s Annual Event in Greensboro, NC, to represent Code f.a.d. Company and the NCDA itself (as I am a new board member to this state-wide dance organization). It is always wonderful to catch up with other dancers and dance educators from across the state and keep Code f.a.d. in their radar even if we are not performing in the concert that weekend.

backstage before the UNC-G concert

backstage before the UNC-G concert

October 26: NCDF tour concert at Appalachian State University in Boone. Kristina, Christina, and I also taught a 1950′s & space-themed technique and improvisation master class to local middle-schoolers as part of our tour outreach activities. (As much as I like teaching and performing, highlights of this trip also include the giant jacuzzi tub in my hotel room!)

November 2: Last NCDF tour show for 2012 – this time we are performing Julep at UNC-Greensboro’s Aycock Auditorium. Christina always loves this tour stop since she went to college (and danced) at UNC-G.

November 3: Company brunch! I made a zucchini frittata, Christina made pumpkin-chocolate balls, Jill brought supplies for pomegranate/raspberry mimosas… yum! I certainly needed a bit of a dance break after a packed fall season (that wasn’t over yet).

December 1: This was our most efficient Code f.a.d. Board of Directors’ meeting to date. Enough said.

December 6-9: We took part of Fashion Briefs to Dance Place in Washington, D.C., to perform in a split show with Human Landscape Dance. Since we’ve now done the two main modern dance venues in D.C., if we go back, I have my sights set on the Kennedy Center next time…

Code f.a.d. Holiday Party

Code f.a.d. Holiday Party

December 22: We had our last rehearsal of 2012 (working hard on Finding Place for the big February show at the Durham Arts Council), took a few hours off, then reconvened for the annual Code f.a.d. Holiday Party!

…and that brings us to tonight, December 31, the last night of 2012, and what does it all add up to? Thinking back, more than the shows, the classes, or the rehearsals, I’m left thinking about the people that make this company what (and who) it is. Our board members, our artists, our composer, and above everything else – our dancers are the heart of Code f.a.d. Company.

While we did not “officially” begin as a company until the fall of 2008, this journey really began in the summer of 2006, when Jill, Christina, and I all met each other and danced in David Dorfman’s Underground at the American Dance Festival. During the following year, I met Gerren and Natalee through my work at NC State, and while neither of those two actually committed to Code f.a.d. when that official start date finally came – neither really stopped working with us either. (They couldn’t leave!) As we collected Kelley and Brooks through open auditions, the group started to solidify. We’ve gained a few others and lost a few that began with us through these past 4 1/2  years, though only one has really passed the test and stuck it out. (That would be Kristina, of course, who is going on her second year with the company.) All I can think is how wonderful it is to have these relationships weather the test of time – and the test of tempers, of injuries, of long car trips, and whatever else these seasons have thrown at us. I am so lucky to be a part of Code f.a.d. – to have these people in my life, and I eagerly look forward to a wonderful 2013 full of film, art, dance – and friendships. Thank you to all our fans who support what we do. I hope to see and meet more of you in the coming year, and we will do our best to continue sharing meaningful movement-based art.

-Autumn
(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

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Creative Work, Dance, El Anatsui, Finding Place, Guest Dancers

Rehearsals 4 & 5: More of the Same

rehearsal image
The next couple rehearsals (one with just the company dancers and one with our full cast) really consisted of the same type of work we had been doing the previous week – working on the opening of the piece with gesture material and setting that middle “big movement section.” So, this week felt as if not much progress happened, though, not only could this be expected at almost the mid-way point in our process, if you look closely we really DID make a lot of progress.

The opening and the middle sections were both completed this week, meaning time-wise we are about halfway done with the choreography. The opening really looks very meaningful and the middle is quite “dance-y” and satisfying to watch, but without our story sections in the mix yet (and without the video!), it is difficult to make any sense out of what you are seeing. Of course, in my mind I can see how it is going to work together and make sense… I hope I’m right.

During this week I also collected more stories from all our dancers, and they are so wonderful I wish we could use them all! Perhaps we will keep working on this piece after the NCMA show, work all the stories (and maybe more) into the performance, and end up with an evening-length work about our community. Some really great thoughts from within the stories:

“I was obsessed with [my first pair of ice skates]. Rental skates are in general very unattractive and are usually blue or brown in color. I was so excited to have my very own pair of white skates, and the day we brought them home I just stared at them. I examined the all the contours of the shape of the skate and I was in awe of their pristine condition.”

“On April 1, 2004, my family and I went to the Cleveland Indians home opener. I remember that it was raining and freezing, but I was so happy to be there! (We drank a lot of hot chocolate during the game.) I remember sitting directly in front of first base and that we were so close that I felt like I could lean forward and be able to touch the base.”

“As a child I always dreamed of becoming a painter. I loved the ability a painter has to take a completely blank and lifeless canvas and bring such a vivid portrayal of emotion to an on-looker’s attention. … No one sees the world like an artist. [Art] has allowed me to develop and appreciate the world in all its grandeur. No other place is as simplistically complex or completely simple as this world.”

What has captured my attention the most are the brilliantly clear images created by the dancers’ memories. The above are all from stories that we actually are not using in Finding Place – at least not yet, so stay tuned for some sneak peeks at the stories you’ll hear on July 7! In the meantime, enjoy a bit of our “big movement” middle section:

-Autumn
(Code f.a.d. Artistic Director)

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