Today, for our untrained dance appreciators (since we seem to have a lot, which is A DREAM), I’m going to talk company structure.
There are generally two different kinds of companies in the world: Rep companies that commission works from multiple choreographers (say, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, ODC, Ailey) and troupes that primarily perform the work of their artistic director (LINES Ballet, The Forsythe Company, Stephen Petronio Dance). Summation is clearly the latter. The advantages of working with one choreographer is you quickly come to understand their nuances, artistic sensibilities and movement style. It’s fantastic to be a part of a continuing vision and find new ways to develop yourself within that. It’s also quite a challenge to constantly ask yourself how you’re going to approach something differently. What is different about this piece of Sumi’s as apposed to the last? And how is she using similar movements in different pieces to convey totally opposite messages?
Once year though, us company members get a chance to pretend we’re a rep company with Dancing Literate Project. For our inaugural DLP performance, we worked with Gallim Dance’s quirky Andrea Miller. This year, Sydney Skybetter of skybetter & associates is on the bill. When you learn rep, it means the piece has already been created and performed by another company. That means you’re usually learning straight choreography really quickly to turn it around and make it as whole as you can. This is, of course, what I expected when we stepped into the studio with Sydney and his Rehearsal Assistant/Dancer Kristen Arnhold. Instead, we were welcomed with a fairly collaborative process–a very unlikely thing when you have one week to learn a piece! Sydney and Kristen really helped us because comfortable in the work. He wasn’t about recreating something he’d already perfected, but shifting a work to mold it into something slightly new, suiting the needs of the dancers. It was great to work with a new style that was unknown to our bodies, yet in a way where we could accommodate our own styles.
Hope you all come to see the performance in December! It’s going to be a great show!