"Do I dare disturb the universe?"
~T.S. Eliot

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Interlochen wrap

I got a bit behind on writing about my Interlochen experience, but here I am at home, and I'm beginning to fully process by time there in the "land of the stately pine."

Starting in the second week of camp, my schedule became insane, as I was working on a couple pieces for our faculty concert.  I choreographed a piece inspired by the song made famous by Alison Krauss, "Down to the River to Pray."  I intended it to have a feminist tinge to it, using all females and changing the lyrics to only refer to women..."mothers," "daughters," "sisters," etc.  It's awesome how at Interlochen, you can find live musicians anywhere.  I sent out a facebook message to a couple people I had met, and instantly I found myself a singer. Because of scheduling, the first time we got together for a full cast rehearsal with Leah Pulatie, our awesome vocalist, was just a couple days before the show.  She blew me away though....her mezzo range was deep, thick, and soulful.  Just beautiful.  Because most of the Dance Department faculty was busy by the time I decided to make a piece, I used a cast of counselors/dancers around campus who wanted an opportunity to dance and perform.  I ended up with a piece that was really meaningful that received really nice, positive feedback.  Partially because of time-constraints, I used a different methodology of composition....I used a fairly simple verse-chorus pattern, with movement becoming larger or slightly altered each time.  I think the result was better than I even anticipated....clean, clear and easy to follow.  I think I am often guilty of over-choreographing and making things too complex.  I'm liking this trend...

I also performed a solo choreographed by one of fellow faculty members, Matt Lindstrom.  I mentioned the piece a bit in my previous entry, so I won't completely repeat myself, but the piece represented a struggle between outward beauty/calm and inward danger/calamity.  A friend passed away in the middle of the session (see previous entry), having taken his own life.  So this these really resonated with me, and the idea of these emotional complexities was on the forefront of my mind.  It was very meaningful to perform something I dedicated in my mind to this friend.  On another note regarding the piece, Matt worked quite quickly when teaching me the choreography.  I am not the fasted-study, and picking up sequences is sometimes a struggle.  Particularly with his movement, it didn't really follow much of a pattern, or if it did, it would suddenly change.  I confess I was incredibly nervous I would blank out and screw up during the show.  However....all was well, and Matt said it was the best run I ever did.  It felt great.

I'm finding that Interlochen was pure fuel for my desire to teach, and has completely influenced my decision to move forward in my plans to start school in the fall to obtain a teaching certificate.  I was on the fence about this because it involves commuting twice a week to Milwaukee; after Interlochen, I feel inspired to pursue teaching.  It was reciprocally inspiring to see kids so enthusiastic about learning dance....to see their faces light up with an "I got it!!" or to see excitement and pride for having learned and memorized a minute-long combination.  In the third week, I had my favorite high school kids for their last rotation of "general dance," so I did Jazz with them.  Well, I've had a lot of awesome experiences with high school kids, but this is definitely up there as one of the absolute best.  They were so incredibly enthusiastic and grateful...it honestly made my day to hear them thank me after class and say "I love your class so much."  I couldn't ask for anything better.  In the last couple days, I opened the class up to anyone on campus who wanted to take it, so some staff and counselors came to jazz-ify with us.  I did a totally melodramatic/musical-theatre-style combination to Fun.'s "Some Nights," and they loved it (some of these counselors are actually studying MT in college, so I think they got a kick out of it).  When your students ask to stay after class is over to do the combination one more time....that's when you know you're doing something right.

It was really hard to leave at the end of the session....a lot of the dance faculty is only one session or another, so most of us were leaving.  We had many goodbyes, hugs, and a few tears.  The accompanists with whom I had begun to develop close relationships stay on for second session, so they were saying goodbyes in order to soon meet new teachers.  It's kindof incredible how close you can become with someone in 3 weeks.  You share your space....sweat and tears included....with these people, share your life's stories, your anxieties, anticipations, failures and successes...and then all of a sudden you don't see these people anymore.  I suppose it was even worse after the KCDC program in MASA where we lived and worked together for 5 months.  But still.  Something about knowing that we only have 3 1/2 weeks seemed to speed up and intensify things in a way, forming bonds quickly.  And when Jason passed, there was a wave of compassion that rushed up toward me.

I don't want to get ahead of myself, but hope I can return to Interlochen next summer.  It really is an amazing place, a haven where inspiration is the very soil from where art springs.

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