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Digital Stories

‹‹ Back to Voices | Digital-stories

Dance Exchange Style of Creating Choreography

Edited and Produced by Alexis Iammarino and Dorothy Williams
Spring 2011.
Elliot Rosen, Interviewee
Dorothy Williams, Interviewer
Alexis Iammarino, Audio Production

ELLIOT: The process in which I experienced it, it is not having a choreographer standing on one end of the room, saying, 'Okay, you now go over there and do something.' It is a collaborative thinking process between the dancers and the choreographer where ideas and conversation about ideas lead to movement that then gets pieced together by the dancers and choreographers to make the piece.
I was in a piece called "Louie." And it is a piece about the death of Liz's cat, Louie, while Liz was out on tour. And Liz's husband and daughter were home and they conducted a funeral by telephone. So the dance was about this kind of intimate conversation between Liz and her family around this beloved cat.

We recreated the scene of the conversation about Louie's death and what to do with Louie and how Louie should be buried and the scene in my mind as it appeared on stage since there were many dancers at the original event - there were just three people. There were all these sets of dads and kids, kind of had a dream like quality to it in the sense that there were so many participants doing the same movements or repeating them one right after the other. And also, the use of stage lighting created some emotional content all by itself, around how the scene was set. That was actually something that surprised me: I had not given much thought to stage lighting and dance and how important in a performance stage the lighting can be for the audience's experience.

One piece that was incorporated, one of the kids who participated in the dance was deaf and so we incorporated some sign language into the dance, as really useful symbology in the dance I guess. I remember having a discussion about - with the kids - you know, how would this feel and how would you show that.

We created lifts. One of the things we did was figure out lifts that all of the dads could do with the kids in a uniform way so I think that there were two lifts that we did.