Sunday September 27, 2009 - Kokyat and I have become unabashed admirers of choreographer Lydia Johnson and of the dancers she works with. After getting to know Lydia's work earlier this year when we had the opportunity to watch the progression from rehearsal to dress rehearsal to her performances at Ailey Citigroup Theater we both felt like we didn't want to wait another year to see her next offerings. So I asked her how she would feel about having us eavesdrop on her work in the studio and watch the creation of a new work from scratch. Lydia very kindly agreed, and she and her dancers were warmly welcoming when we arrived at the Battery Dance Studio on lower Broadway right after lunch today. Above, the four dancers: Jessica Sand, Eric Vlach, Lisa Iannicito and Jesse Marks. Jesse is a newcomer to Lydia's troupe, having danced with Colorado Ballet.
In this way the four dancers progressed in the building process; the couples danced in staggered counts or in unison, and then each couple ran the sequence separately a few times while Lydia diagnosed any potential problems. The dancers were not merely tireless and patient but seemed - even at this early stage of development - to be making the steps and patterns look meaningful and putting the movement in an emotional context.
Kokyat was padding around the studio in his bare feet, climbing onto the window sill at one point to get interesting angles. It was a dull day outside so he was reliant on the rather bland studio lighting. But the dancers generated a beautiful atmosphere.
So here are the first photos from the day, and there will be two more sets coming up - one page for each couple. We are hoping to be able to get to the studio frequently over the next few months to watch and document the progress of this work and to see what else Lydia cooks up.
Kokyat and I want to especially thank the dancers for their generosity of spirit.