The fact of the matter is I am not guaranteed even an audition for two weekends from now. The best I can do is show up the day of the auditions super early and wait in hopes that someone is a no show. If in fact a slot opens up there is a waiting list of people just like me trying to hop on the opportunity wagon. Now, where does that put me as far as my year long journey? Although I can still hope for the best and think that I will have the chance to audition, the reality of it is I need a PLAN B. On that note, this is what I have thus far. In the event that I cannot audition, the next audition is dated for June 1st. (believe me when I say I will be the first person to reserve a slot when those audition times open up) Until some answers are a bit clearer, I will finalize everything as far as settling in the Midwest, focus on dance, and get myself as prepared as possible. In the meantime I will sign up for a writing class or two over at Second City to keep me moving forward and staying well rounded in my craft. Good deal.
This week I wanted to share a little bit more about the dance side of me. But not just any part of dance. Specifically how I use the parallels of improv acting and improv dancing to further explore performance quality. I feel very blessed and grateful to be a dance teacher to all ages of kids. They give me such inspiration to create, search to gain more knowledge, and practice the meaning of unconditional love. When you are in my classes the things you will gain go way beyond learning how to dance. I believe in molding individuals with strong characters who have a genuine passion for life. In my training, the focus roots from extracting expression, uniqueness, and the inner performer- rather than expecting perfection. I comprehend that not every student of mine will pursue the arts. But I am determined that the kids I teach, whatever they may pursue, will have an unbelievable work ethic and tenacity for their goals. Our relationships give both ways. In all that I have to offer as a more experienced artist, they are the ones who inspire me the most to step outside of myself regularly. My students are constantly giving me ideas and things to write about. The interactions that we share and the experiences that we go through in the intimate space of dance studio is truly a breeding ground for new material.
You see, the experience the audience gets when seeing an actor portray a role is quite parallel to that of a dancer in a piece. There will always be an "intent" behind their movement or an underlying message that the performer has to get across. Often enough dancers are also put in concept pieces where they actually play a character and carry a storyline. That's why with my students the learning process doesn't stop at dance. Believability is just as important with dancing, if not even more, because dancers cannot rely on dialogue to back up what they are attempting to make the audience feel. To get the dancers to connect in a deeper sense with their craft I have them improv. Go figure!
It all starts with an intent. For example, let's say the dancer was asked to portray "wavering." One can easily look up the definition and hope to get a better grasp of what to express. We choose to play. Step one is to solely focus on the floor beneath you. It is no longer a dance floor but instead something of your choosing to put you in the environment of wavering. This gives the dancer the ability to experiment how much of the body uses the floor or how much of the floor space they will use. By doing this, the dancer gains the ability to literally put themselves in the world that the word creates. Step 2 is to choose a property of water that can signify wavering. With this exercise, the dancer discovers new textures to their movement. They play with the dynamic in their execution and give the word a heartbeat.
Step 3 is to take a trip to the zoo ( not literally). You see, in a art where dialogue isn't there to back up your emotions, having the ability to come across with the right body language is extremely important. For this step, the dancer interprets an animal ( or insect) whose body language can enhance your word. They then take that animal's movement and mannerisms and infuse that with their technique-based movement to inspire them to experiment with what they already know. Step 4 is definitely the kicker. Real life experiences. This is the step some dancers have difficulty with because some may not have felt this way or experienced the word. Here is where I ask the dancers to remember a time where they have been in a similar situation or feeling to their intent. Through their dance I don't want them to relive it as much as I ask them to revisit it. As humans we put our feelings, experiences, or beliefs into a certain area of our body. So in this step, the dancer hones in on a specific body part which then becomes the principal use in their movement to express, in this case, wavering.
I am not saying that this works for everyone, but in my experience, a lot of dancers have channelled into deeper and more meaningful movement. They experience a way to layer their portrayal of an intent. The matureness that I have witnessed in an artist studying this process and taking it further each time is extraordinary. The great part about it is the options and choices are endless. You should never have to same improv. It can help identify who you are as an artist and how far your creative thinking can reach. Like I said earlier, there are so many parallels between and actor and dancer that it almost seems to me like you can't have just one in your life. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to connect the two. Below is a recorded process I went through with the word wavering. There is no wrong way to approach or experience this other than a closed mind. I felt it important to express this side of me somewhat through spire spire as I have never just been an actor. In fact, dance and acting go hand and hand with me.
- to shake with a quivering motion
- become unsteady and unreliable
-undecided between two courses of action
1. FLOOR/ ENVIRONMENT:
- I chose a surface with a lot of big rocks taking up my space. This forced me to experiment with either staying put or taking big steps to travel and get elsewhere in the space. I felt it helped show the questioning almost as to where my decision should go. It also was almost unreliable in the sense of not knowing if the rocks beneath me were stable. This in turn forced me to almost question my movement.
- I chose a sprinkler. Sprinklers almost contradict the sort of movement quality that I would want to produce. You see they can have that staccato-like spray, but simultaneously are still moving in either a circular pattern or an arc shape. This was difficult for me because I found myself wanting to create that pretty arc or circle, but then drastically changing to something more sharp. It definitely enhanced the unreliableness that is wavering.
- For this one my choice was easy, chameleon. They are known as more shy creatures, slower moving, but can at the drop of a pin become quite skittish. Their bodies are very flexible and bend easily while their tails are used to hold onto things. I used this to my advantage of being undecided within my intent. Going along with that, chameleons can move their eyes separately, being able to look two ways at once. symbolizing for me not knowing my next course of action. Finally, they change colors based on light, surroundings, or mood. This was perfect because when i was closer to the camera it was darker and further from the camera it was lighter. I chose to express myself through acting more up close and then dancing further away- but still staying true to wavering.
4. BODY PART:
- The body part I really used going through wavering was my hands and my eyes. I could not decide on one.
So, here it is, my interpretation of wavering. Enjoy.