Sunday, July 22, 2007

(iseea) Stephan Koplowitz Friday July 20, 2007

(Photo credit: Jaye R. Phillips)

We are about to finish our second week of rehearsals/research at the ICA. It's been a long week, a true "hump" week in the sense of me having to finish a new section almost every other day, sometimes juggling two sections at once. I'm happy to report that after today's rehearsal (Friday), I've managed to get a "first draft" of the first seven sections.
It feels good to have gotten this far. My mostly Boston based company of dancers are really fantastic to work with, totally present and committed and everyone seems to have a healthy sense of humor which makes our time much more pleasant.

We are at the point in the process where all the creative "departments" are in full swing. Justin Samaha is burning the candle at both ends creating the sound/music score, Laura Coulter is getting ready for our Sunday costume "test" run and I am working on finishing the eighth section which is also the only section with more than 12 dancers (it will most likely have 22).

Today, I got through a first draft of the seventh section on the grand stand (sort of look like stairs), it was slow going for awhile. I didn't want to repeat anything I had done in a previous work on grand staircases, Grand Step Project, so I made a rule that I couldn't have the dancers stand up and walk up or down the steps in any way...I want to use the grand stand as a two dimensional space, a more horizontal space. For the most part, I've managed to stick to the rule, except for the part where I have the dancers jumping. No one takes a step, they are simply jumping down or up, nary a step taken. This is a rather light hearted section, the jumps are fun to watch.

I also made a rather radical change to the last section in terms of where it will be seen by the audience. Originally, I had the audience standing at the very far end of the back area, in front of the cafe. Now, I have the audience sitting in the grand stand area looking out to the water and down towards the railing and the dancers. I am very happy with this change. It started when I had some of the dancers watch some of the material being made for the final section. Ruth Bronwen who was on the grand stand working with me on section seven, said rather vehemently, "the material looks so much better from the front, on the stands". At first I dismissed this comment, simply because I thought, "well, I'll make it look better from that vantage point...blah, blah, blah..." But later, I had the dancers do the material again and I watched it from the front, sitting up in the stands and yes, it WAS truly, MUCH better, so much so, that I realized there were other benefits. The audience will get to SIT DOWN at the very end of the performance, not something to gloss over. In addition, it gives the audience a wonderful view of the water, a view the architects exploit to great effect in the media room found inside the museum, the room that faces down into the bay (truly memorable). Anyway...I am glad Ruth spoke up, thank you!

Today, a nice photographer from the Boston Globe came to take some photos. At the end of the session, he wanted to take a "portrait" of me...and he asked to take a photo with several of the dancers positioned around me. I reluctantly agreed and the photos taken showed me in the middle of a sea of body parts...I'm not sure how I feel about it...I worry that it may come across that I'm surrounded by live "mannequins", not something I believe in or how I feel about my dancers....I could tell that the image is "eye catching" (we even got to look at it in his camera). It kind of reminded me of a photo one would see on an album/CD cover.....I did ask him to take a more conventional photo of me right afterwards, I have no idea which one they will use....although something tells me, the first one might make it to print

In any much is going to happen in the next seven days, it is an exciting moment in the process when basically "god is in the details...". I'm excited to start putting everything together and see how things fit.



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