VELOCITY CREATIVE PROCESS BLOG SERIES #3 WITH KAJA IRWIN
In this series we will follow the creative process of DJD company dancer Kaja Irwin for her piece in the upcoming Dancer Choreographed show Velocity. Velocity is on stage at the DJD Dance Centre from November 16-26, 2017.
OCTOBER 24, 2017
This rehearsal started the development of the “fight” sequence. It is very difficult for me to create ways or ask the dancers to create ways to keep the momentum during the fight while staying attached to their partner. The attachments are physically restrictive and creating movements within these restrictions is a struggle. For example, Tasha and Shayne have their heads attached together during most of this sequence, so the movement options and ways to travel are limited. They have to be so aware of their connection and think as one dancer instead of two.
During this rehearsal, I was also finding it difficult to communicate to the dancers exactly how I wanted to attach the movement to the trumpet soloist. The trumpet plays these intricate rhythms that are very hard to count musically for me so I end up asking the dancers to listen to the music (and/or my singing) and ask them if they can hit “that note” with “this movement”, which is an added challenge.
I also have to clarify why they are fighting and what the “child of chaotic powers” is thinking. What are their relationships towards one another? At what point are they thinking only of themselves or as the group mind? Why does Catherine decide to turn against the collective? These are all questions I need to have a clear answer for in order for my piece to say what I want it to say.
OCTOBER 31, 2017
I have two rehearsals left and am feeling the pressure of time. This process is very quick and with that come both challenges and benefits. My preparation for each rehearsal is difficult as the dancers either work in pairs or as a group so far and creating material by myself doesn’t always turn out the way I’m hoping it will when in rehearsal attached to other bodies. I will often think a movement might work well or easily but then when put into motion, sometimes it won’t work and I will have to experiment with a new connection or movement. Sometimes not having too much time for a rehearsal process forces a choreographer to make decisions though, which I find relieving at times. Sometimes that decision can be solely based on your mood that day. Another day during a different rehearsal, I might have made a completely different decision.
After Kim came to watch the run through of the show and part of one of my rehearsals, she had some important Outside Eye questions for me. Sometimes as a choreographer you can’t see the full picture of the piece because in your mind, the story line and choices made are clear. But are they clear to the audience? Are the connections clear? Does the story line make sense? Or as a choreographer, are you making assumptions that people will understand the reason as to why the dancers are moving in certain ways. Currently, I am very excited to revisit some sections of my piece to change them to hopefully become more effective and clear.