Friday, August 16, 2013

24-Hour ChoreoFest Blog!!

8pm: Welcome to Choreofest!  I'm Leslie, a dancer from Luminarium, and I'm happy to be here with everyone :) After dropping my bags (air mattress included) at the dance complex, I made a juice run to live alive.  Let's just say that it was time well spent, and the Luminarium crew was off to a great start!

10pm - Hi Everyone! This is Heather from Impact Dance Company. We started several phrases in our piece and are now working on some partnering improv. We are developing interesting pictures while trying to save our energy and bodies for the tonight and tomorrow. I heard there is coffee downstairs so bring on the dancing!!

11pm - Hello All! Its Devin Holloway here. Its 11:36 and our group Paradise Lost has just created some sections of our piece. So far its going well. We have some energy and were using it. I personally feel a bit foggy. I assume it might be even more foggy as the night goes on, BUT HEY thats life. ENJOY THE FOG!

Midnight - Hello, looks like we're all introducing ourselves first. This is Rose from Luminarium Dance Company. It is now midnight and we've made a couple minutes of stuff and things. We've been approaching this dance from all sides, a bit of structure talk, a bit of movement phrase, a bit of a giant pink watermelon costume jumpsuit, and a bit of me talking in front a computer, fearing for my future Senatorial campaign. Hopefully I can keep it PG enough to do better than Anthony Weiner.

1am -Hi everyone. This is Deirdre from Impact Dance. It is 1 am and I am surprised I remember my own name right now. Ideas continue to bounce off the walls of this studio every second. Meghan has moved on to the third and final group of four dancers to set a few phrases on. So far we have completed a beginning section with all of the dancers, and two smaller sections with small groups. The choreography seems to get even more intricate and amazing as the night goes on and Meghan starts to lose her mind. The driving force behind the music is helpful in keeping the energy up. Everyone is really staying focused despite their want to fall asleep under a cold shower. Supposedly there is coffee somewhere, but I am far too tired to go get it, so I'll lift my invisible cup and toast to 15 more hours of fabulous dancing!

2am - Greetings from Monkeyhouse!  Shannon and I are still going strong, surprisingly.  We were hitting a wall about 30 minutes ago but then our MUSIC ARRIVED!  Hooray!  The brilliant David Wechsler has been slaving away in Chicago creating music to go with our theme.  We've done a lot of back and forth via Skype since 8pm, exchanging ideas, asking questions and making requests of each other.  Dave and I have worked together before, but never with such a quick turnaround.  Shannon and I have never worked together before, so this is new ground for all involved and very exciting!  The first version of the music we got to listen to right before this 2am meeting (there are people behind me rock paper scissor battling for tech times) was really terrific and fits so well with the movement we've been creating.  I can't wait to see what happens when we get to put the two together!

3am - Aaaaaand here's Merli. Artistic Director of Luminarium Dance, though tonight I've been busy wandering the building shooting footage and making new friends. It's been quite the night, and I'm pretty sure I just watched the official crash take place around 2:45am. Everyone went from giddy to sleepy in a mere 20 minutes (!), so here's hoping that those who still need to choreograph have the tenacity to carry through... Somewhere above me I can hear tapping, so I'm guessing someone's on a roll. However, this dancer/videographer is about to unroll her blanket and take a little nap. ;)

5am- Kim's turn (aka Luminarium's other Artistic Director). So! I am choreographing for the company this year, and I'm thrilled to have Katie, Leslie and Rose along for the ride. We finished our piece around 4am with a few bits and pieces up in the air, but it wouldn't be a Kim-piece if we finished it entirely ;) I DO think I'm the only awake individual that's not wearing tap shows in the building (I can hear you, upstairs!!) but that's because at 5am I turn into the magical tech fairy and set up lighting, sound and the stage space.  Tech starts promptly at 8am, and I'm trying not to distract myself with an especially enticing ebook, Plants vs Zombies 2, or cleaning (gasp! See that, mom!) as when I stay up for extended periods of time my brain takes it upon itself to set up maximum distractions so that I never rest!  Can't you tell my the tone of this entry?? In all seriousness as I take a moment of pause in a fairly quiet building, I'm incredibly grateful that this is year 2 of the 24-hr ChoreoFest. What we decided to try on a whim found sturdy footing as a festival that honors process and the community spirit. There are just under 50 people in this building that have been hard at work all night, mainly just because we can! Thrilling! I do hope anyone following along at home via Live Feed, blog or social media takes an hour of their day to come see one of the shows at 2 or 4 at the Dance Complex (536 Mass Ave, Cambridge) to see just what is possible in under a day. Spoiler alert... It's impressive! Now how can we take on the ChoreoFest approach to many more world problems??
Epilogue. Dear Merli, where on earth are you in this building? You win for best nap spot, too bad winners already picked tech times...

6am - Intimations Dance - The sunrise is beautiful through the windows of studio 6. I am in and out of sleep. We're all sleeping in puddles of blankets, pillows, clothing, bags strewn across the floor. The sunlight changes from a deep blue on the horizon and brighter yellows and greens towards the top in squares of light between the panes. Some have been replaced. The light casts shadows on dancers sleeping around me in different shapes. I still see the lights from cars outside moving across the ceiling before we fell asleep about an hour ago. I am wake-dreaming about the piece, and try to see new possibilities.

7am - Paradise Lost - After a mere 3 hours and change of sleep, I woke up with a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was late. Confusion sets in. Why are the lights on? My eyes adjust to the space and I remember where I am. Studio 3. The Dance Complex. Central Square. I try to sit up and immediately am reminded of the work from last night. My hamstrings are tight, My left IT band feels funk, and for some reason I can't place, the top of my left foot is sore. Somehow I have enough sense to check the time on my phone. 6:56am. Just about 7am. Tech isn't for another hour and a half and my alarm is due to go off in a hour and ten. I have never been more happy to have another hours worth of sleep. I settle back onto my make shift bed of two small mats and a pillow trying to find a new comfortable position so I don't end up a stiff board. Why am I here? I am here.

8am - We're just getting up from a short nap (well, three of us slept while the birthday girl was on night watch, I guess) and ready to polish the choreography we finally finished just a few hours ago. I can't remember what we created and have a vague fear that it could be completely terrible, produced in a somnolent haze. I also don't remember having ever rehearsed at this hour in my life, and I can't say I plan on doing so ever again. Surprisingly, as we start to review what we choreographed (How did we remember this stuff?!), I find there are only a few parts that we need to go over. And, even more surprisingly, I haven't yet gnawed off someone's arm in desperate hunger. Everything really does look so different in the morning than at night. I'm proud of us for getting through this, despite an initially rough start, and not having TOO much to do before our tech in two hours!

9am - Good morning!  Monkeyhouse had the 8am tech slot so we probably woke up many of the other companies with our pre-tech practicing.  (Sorry!)  I got the final draft of the music from David at 6am while Shannon was asleep.  (I would just like to point out that it is an hour earlier in Chicago so I think David cheated.  But he is going into a weekend full 48 hours of adventure with the Chicago Theatre Conference at the Theatre Wit this morning and after the shows Shannon and I are going home to sleep, so I suppose we can't complain.)  So we ran the piece through with the music for the first time just an hour ago.  There were a few moments that needed ironing, but all in all I would definitely call this a collaborative success!  Now let's just hope we can remember the steps once we hit the theatre...

10am - Rise and shine Impact dancers! After a mere four hours of sleep, we woke up to the cool Boston air and the bright morning sun. As we quickly threw our next set of rehearsal clothes on, Meghan turned on the music and we enjoyed a relaxing warm up. Not sure if our bodies were awake yet, we took part in an activity. Much like copy-cat, a designated dancer played "leader". Looking at the clock, it was a shocking realization that our bodies had already done so much without the hands reaching 9:00 AM yet. As we began to rehearse our Choreofest piece, it was evident that it was tune up time. We began to clean the choreography, getting into each muscle and movement to ensure that not only was it correct, but it was at its full expression and power. Now, for costuming...

11am - Sun streaming through the studio 6 windows had roused a sleepy but determined group of Intimations dancers, and by 11 a.m. we were deep into the work. It was immediately clear that we made the right choice in finishing the setting of the piece's structure BEFORE we took our brief (very brief) snooze. We were able to more or less run on autopilot for the beginning of the morning, warming up our bodies as we re-familiarized ourselves not just with the movements, but the theme of the piece and the characters we were imagining for ourselves as we moved. Typing is officially difficult on this lack of sleep, but here's hoping adrenaline with push us to show something we can be proud of. So far, so good! As we found with tech, just now, lights and wings and audience seats make everything feel more real. I think it's safe to say that this work has transitioned from an experiment of sorts to a true performance piece.

12pm - As we did not develop the concept for our piece until ~1:30 a.m., I think we -- Ryan P. Casey and dancers -- are all pleasantly surprised post-tech rehearsal that everything came together. As artistic director and lead choreographer for my group, I, Ryan, realize now that I should have taken control much earlier in the process and made executive decisions that would have expedited our choreography sessions. However, I am impressed with how we collaborated as a team to create this original piece, a deviation from our typical fare, after so many failed ideas, disagreements and dead ends. It is surprising how such a broad, ostensibly (and deceptively) simple theme, "wishes," proved so difficult for us -- perhaps precisely because it is so sweeping. We had a lot of good ideas but had struggled to settle on one. I am proud of us for not taking one of the easier roads to success, but rather fighting to develop a unique idea that we had from the start and that we struggled throughout the night to bring to life. All of us are happy with what we've created together and looking forward to the show!

1pm - Hello Luminarium fans! Intern Ira here! This is it, just a breath away from having our amazing dancers take over the stage and shine at 2pm. Looking forward to share emotions, passion and luminosity with all of you! After 17 sleepless hrs of fun, dance and little bit tiredness we are all still here, ready to make 24Hour ChoreoFest unforgettable! Our Community Outreach Program for 2014 is growing steadily but we always need your help making it come to fruition. With your support we will help hundreds of kids see their visions come to life. I urge you to donate whatever you can, buy a fancy 24Hour ChoreoFest T-shirt! Make a difference! This is my last day as a marketing and development intern for Luminarium, though I may find myself around again next summer - it's hard to stay away when you have fallen in love ;)  Thank you Merli and Kim for this adventurous and thrilling summer we shared!

1 comment:

  1. I for one would love to see you take on the world's problems.... to infinity and beyond!!! Funny that Merli knew she would need a good hiding spot to evade your tendency to be a human version of a synthetic stimulant and hard to resist! Looking forward to the show!