Deep End is Getting… Deeper

Kelsey Berry in Summation Rehearsal
Kelsey Berry in Summation Rehearsal

I have two favorite moments in the creation of a new work. First, I love the very beginning of the process, where everything is new movement, sometimes hilarious experiments, and grand conceptual conversations about topics the piece could possibly address. In this stage, the movement is fresh and the possibilities are limitless. Certainly there’s a lot of new-movement related soreness and bruises, but we’re tough (it’s why we’re in Summation Dance).

Sometime after that, large sections of the piece start to take shape. For months, we develop chunks of movement in broad strokes. Some of it is performed in its intermittent state, some of it is kept strictly in the studio. In any case, none of it is quite done, and the novelty of possibilities being limitless starts to wear off.

I would lament that period of time, but it inevitably leads up to the second moment in dance creation that I love. This moment occurs the first time that we run the piece, starting at the beginning, and finishing at the end. The very existence of a “beginning” and “end” is gratifying – it means that somewhere along the way, we crafted, through broad strokes and choices among endless possibilities, one complete work of art.

Deep End is teasingly close to this exciting “completion” moment. It’s a bit bittersweet – on one hand, the trajectory of the work feels just right. On the other hand, we’ve definitely said goodbye to some hard-practiced movement that at one point was thought would form the core of the dance. It’s a stripping down that has to occur. We started with such a breadth of options, and now it’s all about depth. Good thing we named the dance appropriately.

Come see Summation Dance in Deep End on March 8-10 at 7:30 pm at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, choreographed by Sumi Clements and produced by Taryn Vander Hoop.


One Comment

  1. I concur that I love those two moments of dance creation. So it sounds you are both the creator and performer of the new works. Has anyone written anything about the pieces? From the photo, you seem to be in a studio, a studio for contemporary dance or perhaps ballet. Where does your work fall in the grand scheme of dance. Using the strokes and breathtaking virtuosity known for New York (contemporary) dance, that is to say, rooted in the ballet and modern, or is it something else.
    Kelsey, thanks for putting up this blog, I would love to blog about the performances I have seen, but I often do not dedicate enough time to this activity. Perhaps through your blog I can rekindle this fire (or kindle a new one, after all, need it always be about going back rather than moving to another, yet, familiar place).
    Who is the women you so lazily are reclining on, with her solid arms supporting you? Elizabeth?

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