This semester, I’ve been documenting the process of creating a duet with Daniel Diller and Kat Sauma. We began work in late October, and we showed our duet in the department’s end-of-the-semester “informance” last week. This duet began as a solo that I created on myself in Bebe Miller’s Weight Studies class. (Side note: I think there is only one blog post from the whole semester in which I do not mention her class. It had just a little bit of an impact on me…) I taught some of the solo material to Kat and Daniel, retrograded it, and taught that. We only had four rehearsals total, and I’m really happy with where we got to in a short amount of time: Kat and Daniel’s playful relationship began to emerge, we found a structure and sequence, we made new duet material, we created variations on their duet material, and we found a shared way of working.
I should mention that Kat and Daniel are a dream to work with: generous, enthusiastic, insightful, always ready to try it one more time, always willing to offer suggestions. I loved watching them work and problem-solve together, and the two of them made rehearsals really productive and really fun.
One of the reasons I came to grad school was to challenge my choreographic process, and I’m really pleased with the changes I’ve seen this semester. Most of it has to do with the kind of time I spend on my own in the studio. Sometimes it was dancing the material and getting to know it from new angles, sometimes it was looking at video, sometimes it was improvising, and sometimes it was just sitting on the studio floor thinking. That time can feel like a waste, but giving myself the time and space to pay attention to the material on lots of levels made a difference for me.
The title, Now is a good time to wait for you, was something my Alexander teacher, Dale Beaver, said to a student he was working with in class. He said it to encourage the student to take time to extend her leg, but the moment I heard it, I knew it was the title of the work.
One final thought as I close out my first semester of grad school (!!!): the anecdote about the title is an example of a part of this work that is traceable. I know the origin. But, the clapping section that opens the work: where does that come from? One day, I thought: I should have Daniel and Kat try to see if they can find a rhythm when they’re facing different directions. I love it, and I think it sets a great context for the work, but I don’t know what made me think of it. That mix of certainty and mystery is much of what I love about dance and dance-making and writing about dance and thinking about dance.