Above: Sarah Pon and Blake Hennessy-York rehearsing for Lydia Johnson Dance
Sunday November 4, 2012 - After several weeks of non-stop dance performances and rehearsals, operas, and symphonic concerts, the sudden enforced at-home days imposed by Hurricane Sandy seemed at first like a much-needed opportunity to rest and re-group. Thanks to Dmitry, I had some very nice recordings to listen to, and I'm reading a good book (PAINTED VEIL); and of course Wei was home, so he cooked up a continual feast of delicious food, and we re-watched several movies that we like. We were lucky that we sustained no damage from the storm, and never lost power or our Internet connection.
But after a while I began to get restless. My energy cycle went haywire and my insomnia was worse than ever. It was good to finally get out on Friday November 2nd for Satellite Ballet (and I congratulate them for taking the risk of going ahead with their performance - I think the dancers and public alike were glad of the opportunity to do something and to try to shake off the hurricane blues).
But then the next few days loomed rather dully, with only my much-anticipated MORPHOSES at The Joyce coming up on Wednesday but nothing in between. So I was glad to receive a message from Lydia Johnson this morning: "We're rehearsing today! Drop by if you can!"
Sarah Pon & Eric Williams
It took a bit longer than usual to get down to Battery Dance but once I'd climbed those infamous five flights of stairs it was really nice to find Lydia and her roomful of dancers working on the new Golijov piece. I've spent so much time in this studio and with these dancers over the past three years, although it is not quite the same now that Kokyat is no longer part of the group. So I took out my Leica (a gift from K) and began shooting, hoping for a few images to document my visit.
It's lovely to experience dance being created; when we only see the finished performance we tend to forget all that went into the making of it. Over the years many dancers, singers and musicians have expressed to me the feeling that the work process is every bit as fulfilling (if not more so) than actually performing. Being privy to that process has been one of the major benefits of my blogging career.
Lydia is something of a visionary; her dance-making takes on an almost spiritual quality. She's a wonderfully down-to-earth and human woman, but when she's in a creative mode another side of her personality emerges. She seems to work from feeling rather than from a technical road-map, and like me she has a sense of the emotional qualities of music that goes beyond the printed notes, rhythms, and harmonies.
The Golijov music she's working from currently is rich and varied, veering from the celestial to the earthy in the twinkling of an eye. As Lydia is building the piece, her dancers find themselves moving from mood to mood and having ample opportunity for personal expression. A rather wild passage of music hasn't been addressed yet but I'm dying to see what Lydia does with it.
Today there was a bit of phrase-building but mostly the time was devoted to polishing some of the combinations; there's lots of partnering in the piece, and it shifts seamlessly from ensemble movement to solos which seem to ebb and flow off the music.
Here are a few images of the dancers from today's rehearsal:
Sarah Pon & Eric Williams
Laura DiOrio & Chris Bloom
Kerry Shea & Eric Williams
Eric and Kerry
Going over the details.
It's always a pleasure to watch Lydia's rehearsals, and I very much appreciate the dancers' kindness in allowing me to eavesdrop on their work.