Riding the Creative Process

Alta Millar, November 08, 2018

In the beginning of my term here in London, Laban was hosting open auditions for the Master of Fine Arts choreography performance. In addition to getting some auditioning experience under my belt, I felt fortunate to be selected for one of these performances. I knew I would learn about another choreographer’s creative processes, how they produce movement, play with ideas, and craft a finished product. But what I did not expect is that I’d be asked to sing and dance while blindfolded in a room full of strangers.

I, along with nine other dancers got selected to work with a choreographer named Tuesdae for her MFA performance in December. Tuesdae focuses on making collective energies in her work and fosters a sense of community between us as dancers, humans, and social beings. She focuses on notions of tribalism and is currently investigating what it means to share and support one another in both rehearsal and performance. In her rehearsals, we’re asked to open ourselves up to try anything she wants. This is where the fun, scary, strange and wonderful experiences come in.

During the first rehearsal, nobody knew each other, and we were all a little timid and unsure of what to do. In order to start getting to know each other, Tuesdae turned off the lights and made us contact improvise with each other. In the pitch dark, we had to first find each other and figure out how we individually and collectively move.

In this same rehearsal, she also made everyone perform an improvised solo while blindfolded and plugged into bluetooth headphones. The best part about this surreal sensorial experience was that nobody knew what music Tuesdae was going to play in the headphones. This was exposing and vulnerable, experiences I’m all for trying out.

In our most recent rehearsal, we worked on generating our own music for the final performance. We started by covering our eyes and, while standing in a circle, find each other’s heartbeat. Once we found a collective rhythm in our heartbeats, we decided to have this be our baseline. On top of this baseline, we improvised and played with different sounds and pitches to layer on top.

Despite being exhausted from a whole day of collaborating and dancing, there’s something gratifying in every rehearsal. Watching everyone walk in and get ready for rehearsal makes me feel like we’re forming a little family. For just a couple of hours, we are all here not because we’re getting paid (although that is the goal), but because we want to be. And despite the fact that not all of us can sing or really keep rhythm, we all enjoy the experience of being an empty canvas, a willing guinea pig, and a tool for Tuesdae’s creative process.

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(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)