Monday, May 11, 2009

Reflections: our Spring event in Central Park

On Saturday May 9 we met in Central Park to begin The Seasons Project with an improvisational exploration of the spring season. If you met us at that event, welcome! We'd love to hear your comments here on this page. If you didn't join us on over the weekend we'd still love to hear your impressions.

We began Saturday afternoon by gathering on the lawn just inside the East 67th Street entrance, where we found our permit granted us a beautifully unique (and not too muddy) spot to explore. Katie is leading us through this season, and ultimately taking on the choreographer's role, and she started by asking us to be still and to smell and listen: grass and musky earth and a the smell of sweetness like new growth; children playing, birdsong and the periodic crack of the ball players' bat nearby. We shared some of this perception verbally, but then dove right into the movement exploration itself.

A big, black rock held maple seedlings and our bodies slothed over it -- viewers said we appeared to be coming out of hibernation. An old, large oak tree with a seemingly-impossible horizontal branch expanded its reach over the lawn and provided endless impetus for our movement. Mud puddles and a stand of five human-size trees offered other arenas for our interactions.

Flutist Natalie Joachim sat in the grass and provided a beautiful melodic score, while Sound designer Jim Briggs III recorded the sounds of the day and the sounds of our movements: in addition to Natalie's playing, he captured the squeak of wet grass under our feet, our splash in a puddle, our scrapes against a rock, and the occasional springtime allergic sneeze!
Throughout the afternoon we gleaned inspiration from our surroundings' unique springtime characteristics, and we engaged interested passersby by asking their impressions of spring and inviting them to keep up with the project on this blog. We were surprised by the number of foreign visitors -- many who happened upon us many spoke little English, and most were vacationing. We recorded most of these interviews as well, and they may find a home in Jim's final score.

Over the next few weeks we'll be heading into the rehearsal studio to cull Saturday's discoveries into a dance section. We plan to show a rough draft that section on May 27 at Dixon Place, at 8 pm.


Anonymous said...

Thanks. Was glad to read of this event. Sorry that we'll never see the work. Enjoy your future efforts.

VIA Dance Collaborative said...

Thanks SER!