Dipping my toes into (post)modern dance

I’m proud to announce that our (post-)modern dance performance for Product of Perception was (more or less) a success!

Product of Perception was part of the Belfast Book Festival, which runs till the end of the week. The premise of the show is that the perspective of a poem changes – when it’s read, or heard, or interpreted through dance or music – which gave rise to our little piece titled Bourdon.

It was a great experience working on this piece. Having no other form of dance background besides ballet (unless you consider 2 years learning Chinese Dance when I was little), the first practice session where we did some improvisation, floor tumbles and other non-balletic moves was an extremely strange experience.

It took a while to get to grips with this very different style of dancing and dance creation – and it certainly helped to throw away my existing views about dance and just go with the flow. The floor work resulted in some massive bruises on my knees, so it was something of a relief when we moved away from the experimental aspects of choreography and got cracking on learning set movements.

That said, it was a pity that we didn’t have more time to explore the full potential of the poetic texts that we had. While I don’t miss suffering bruises for our art, it would have been fun if we could experiment a bit more with various configurations and bounce ideas off each other. And perhaps – this is my ballet-side speaking – put a more contemporary spin on some of the movements.

Unfortunately, time was the key constraint. Our rehearsal period spanned 7 weeks, during which we were receiving the poems, creating the dances and music, learning the moves and putting together a 15 min show – all done through 2-3 hrs of rehearsals a week. The last poem arrived in time for our 5th rehearsal, and we had to rework some of the pieces during the final rehearsal as one of us had tonsillitis and unfortunately could not make the performance. All things considered, we did a pretty good job on the day itself – while it was far from perfect and we forgot a few of our moves, but everything ran smoothly, the audience feedback was positive and we felt good about ourselves afterwards. That’s what I call a (more or less) success! 🙂

In fact, the entire show was a wonderful. There was poetry reading, singing and dancing – a good mix that kept things fresh and interesting. Those in the audience who aren’t into poetry or dance – E being one of them – weren’t bored and enjoyed the evening. While art can at times be pretentious, the show had a genuine feel to it and the poets seemed just like regular people who were here to share a bit of something they wrote – it was lovely.

I can’t wait to see the video of our performance when it’s ready – while we have the sneak peek, behind the scenes trailer taken during our 4th or 5th rehearsal further below, we’ve never had a proper recording of our dancing but it’ll be great to see how we looked and how we can improve from there. There’s thought for us to do this piece (or something related to this) for Culture Night Belfast 2014, which would be pretty cool and something to look forward to.

In the meantime, I’m taking a rest and seeing to my ankle – it decided that it’s had enough and been acting up after the performance, so I’m going for an acupuncture session on Monday. Hopefully that will get it fixed in time for a week-long ballet and contemporary summer intensive course that starts on 30 June. I’m a bit apprehensive – 3 sessions of dance a week is bad enough, much less 5 sessions of 2.5hrs each! – but it will be another great opportunity to learn and improve.

Fingers-crossed. Meanwhile, enjoy our little video and guess which one is me!


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