Friday, December 18, 2009

during the break

howdy everyone...it's alex, and i hope you are all having a great holiday season. just because our season is over for the time being...the work doesn't stop at all. we are all still some dancing fools! Maryjane just finished a show last week with GLOatl, Claire is working with George Staib, Blake is busy creating work for his own show this coming spring, and Corian and I are busy working with Greg Catallier (for the same show Claire is in)...also, Corian and I are performing in The Big Freeze, a burlesque/variety show at Eyedrum this Friday and Saturday (the 18th and 19th), tickets are 10 bucks.

also...corian is busy exercising his creative energy by beginning work on a new dance to be performed in late january, actually the same weekend as the Staib/Catallier show...haha, that should be fun (since some of the people cast are in all of those shows!). logistics aside, here is a short snippet of a "fun" movement pattern we have been working on. as you can see, dance isn't always about razzle-dazzle...sometimes you gotta think too!


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Happy Holidays!

This is Claire the office person stepping back in just to say "Happy Holidays" to anyone who's reading the blog and to let you know that the dancers are off until Jan. 20. They'll be back in the studio and back to blogging about their adventures then!
Have a safe, warm and happy holiday!
--Claire and all of us at SDC

Thursday, December 10, 2009

the point?

so what is the point, or "the point" (as a dance)??? i don't know...and maybe that is the point. i probably can't explain it in words...because we are dancers...we dance (duh). it is a performing art...it is meant to be seen. in this video, claire is trying to explain her point of view as a dancer in the trio that corian created.

maybe the point is about differences and similarities, relationships and solo studies, intention and dynamics, needs and wants...it is hard to put into words, but i think individually we all clearly know what it feels like personally. how else can we move an audience, if as performers we are not clear with ourselves as to what our own personal journey is...so that then as a collective we can move foward in this endeavor together. what is even more beautiful is that Sue (our fearless leader) doesn't even know what "the point" is...i'm sure she has ideas, but the fact that we are all in this together is comforting.

maryjane yesterday said something that spoke volumes about this dance (the point)..."we are all going for the same thing, but trying to find it in different ways."

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so that is what happened the first half of rehearsal today...the second half was yet another layer added upon this whole process. we had a 25 minute improv where we took each layer from the wall drawing, our solo phrases, the laban studies, and the movements that we learned/taugh one another...and combined them to have a vast bank full of movement possiblities...and then adding onto that the possibility for human interation (or contact). sue also played DJ and gave us a varied musical pallette that affected the emotional atmosphere of the improv....

of course, this is my own recollection and experience of the work...and it was beautiful, heartbreaking, bonding, lush, and simple...all in all, it was a good day...another day we all got to live, work...and most of all dance.

tomorrow we have class, a little bit of work...and then a christmas party, but no more point work...so it begs the questions: What is the point? What do you need to survive? what is your intention? what dynamic choices do you make? and lastly, how does it feel?

once you have possibly answered those questions...i ask you this...where do you go from there?

melt with you

"i'll stop the world and melt with you"...i love that song! it is not completely off subject either...today we had a master workshop by karen wells, she taught us M.E.L.T. Method that is a "revolutionary approach to pain-free longevity that helps you stay healthy, youthful, and active for a lifetime." having experienced one class...i can agree and say that it was amazing. everyone in the workshop today vocalized how much this one class made a difference. it was instantaneous!

we also touched on work from Eric Franklin, did some exercises with Thera-Bands, and all kinds of other good cross-training stuff. the M.E.L.T. work was the most successful (at least in my opinion). there was one exercise in particular that had a vast impact on everyone...we laid on the floor and put the M.E.L.T. roller under our sacrum, then proceeded to rock our pelvis up and down that simultaneously worked out our lower lumber and engage our abdominals/work our core. after it was over, it felt as if i did melt (for lack of a better word) into the floor after just a few exercises. it was relaxing and invigorating at the same time. i feel like i had a great night's sleep without ever actually going into a REM cycle! i just thought i would share with you that experience...i highly recommend looking into M.E.L.T. and would advise any movers out there to invest in the M.E.L.T. specific rollers...you life will change!

now...onto more point rehearsal...hope you are all having a wonderful day!

p.s. hopefully karen becomes my friend on facebook and i can share various pictures and videos she took from out class today :)

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

where does it live?

happy wednesday! we are back in the studio from our regularly scheduled day off...tuesday. i am able to say that i did nothing yesterday...well, i did laundry (yay for clean clothes)...but it was great to sit on the couch for about 5 hours and watch tv shows and goof off on the internet! so....after a restful day, we have a very full day today.


blake taught a very relaxed and beautiful class...we just finished doing some work on the point (which i will discuss later)...now is lunch, but after that we are getting all beautified and having a photoshoot! so we all have to get our hair right and tight...beating our mugs...and practicing our America's Next Top Model couture poses in the mirror...haha! so if you are anywhere near decatur this afternoon we are having an outdoor photoshoot...come look at us make sexy faces for our close-ups...


having said all that...let's get to the real meat and potatos of it all...working on The Point. it was interesting today to see the other groups show their work. if you remember, i showed my duet with maryjane...which i had trouble finding words for...today, it was great to see different dancers struggle with trying to find the details in the movement. inherently, when you teach someone movement material...it is difficult to get all the nuances of the movement, so when you are dancing it is sometimes easy to see which are the more "difficult" parts of the movement.



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maryjane is trying to get corian to feel where the movement lives in his body...which is not an easy task. it is usually easiest for the person who made the movement to perform the movement, whereas due to inherent structural differences in everyone's bodies...it is challenging to translate someone's movement onto their own body.

such is the struggle in dance...however, one of the joys of working on this piece (thus far) is that there is not a huge emphasis on keeping the movement exactly the same. what we were focusing on was intentionality, if that is a word, and dynamics. we each had to change the dynamics in our movement, and to help in that we had to clarify the intentions of our movement.


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my favorite part of these videos is corian's face...that sounds harsh, and maybe a little weird, but you can actually see the frustration...but he is frustrated because he is working so hard to find what maryjane is trying to explain to him. all in all...it's just another day at work!

Monday, December 07, 2009

finding the words

howdy folks...it's alex again, i'm back...by popular demand (well, not quite, but i would like to believe that is true :) any-who, i hope everyone had a great holiday and ate lots of turkey or whatever your favorite thanksgiving dish was. we are entering our last week of work for the season and then we have an extended break and resume working in mid-january. however, the work doesn't stop...we are currently diving back into "The Point" work.

i feel the objective is to really solidify and clarify any previous work we have done so that when we do return we can more easily access that information. that being said, now when we show work "in progress," we have to be really clear with ourselves (and to one another) with what our movement phrases really mean. that sounds weird, but it's true. we talked the other day about how being a dancer doesn't only mean we dance around trying to be pretty all day...we have to be clear with what we are trying to say/do with our bodies. so...we have to be able to verbalize and talk about our bodies, our intentions, our ideas....our art!

this comes in handy when you are teaching your movements to other people in the company. i take a very metaphorical approach to what i am trying to do...more concerned with how it feels, what the internal dialogue is like, or even providing an abstract visual to what i want to accomplish. dealing with the human body is really fascinating because everyone is so unique...what works for me, may not necessarily work for maryjane, or corian; so how can i best communicate my intentions to someone to get them to stay honest to my movement. hence...all the conversation...


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to give some background...we were given the task of making a list of a maximum of 20 things we need to survive (sounds easy)...we made the list, each with varying numbers of things we each needed to survive. from that list, we had to narrow it down to 10...then to 3...then to one essential thing needed to survive...mine, ultimately was...love. so in exploring that i created a phrase that i taught to maryjane. from there we have been investigating and working on clarifying what i want to get at with the movement.

so now, you have an inside look on how i ramble and wax philosophically to try to communicate the inspiration for my phrase. it may only really make sense to me...but those are the only words i could find at the time. and from my body language, it is difficult for me to find anything concrete to help people understand. as a person, i am inspired images, abstraction, and feelings...so as a dancer it isn't that different. i will admit, it is hard for me to find the proper words to express how my approach to creating dance/movement.

however, i have to find the happy medium and at least attempt to find some way to help someone else understand what i want...so that they can begin the journey to find how that will work on their body. that is why dance is fascinating...we have to be able to get other dancers to find their entry point into the movement, and how it feels emotionally, physically, and mentally. then, after that is the added difficulty of getting the audience to understand...it is a task, and sometimes it is difficult, and the dancer (or audience) may not understand...and that is ok too, but if you can reach just one person...one person, that is all it takes, then it is considered a job well done.

but i will be the first to admit...it is very difficult!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Phrase Construction December 4








Claire captured some interesting moments shown above.

MJ explaining the feeling she got while performing Alex's phrase and Corian attentively watching another phrase.

Today we used personal phrase material, taught it to another dancer and then chose a specific pathway to perform it on.

Our options had to be in a square... so we chose parallel lines, right angles, three sided boxes, diagonals...

It was interesting to teach a fellow dancer our phrase because our phrases were extremely personal to us. It was fun to collaborate with eachother and give feedback to the other groups/pairings performances... it was very "show and tell."

CPC at HSPVA

November trip to Houston

During our trip to Houston we had the opportunity to teach a class at the High School of Performing and Visual Arts.

Patton began the class with focus on the spine and the relationship of the lower and upper body working separately and how they work together.

MJ took the floor next with a few combinations to get the students moving their bodies thru space with different levels of energy and intention.

Claire wrapped up the class with some educational tools using Laban Technique as her source.

Below you can watch Claire lead the class in Laban inspired phrases, including the A Scale.
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to let everyone who's been reading the dancers' blog know that they've been absent from posting because they were performing in Texas on the weekend of the 14th with the Houston Met in Quirky Works, and then they had a two-day week last week in the studio. They are off this whole week for Thanksgiving but will return to the studio for the first two weeks in December (starting Dec. 2), after which they will be off for the holidays until January 18.
-Claire (Communications Manager at SDC)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Lunchtime and Salon Nov 12

Lunchtime in the studio, is always an exciting event because you never know who will walk through the studio door to be a part of our day . Some regulars, some dance afficianados, some local decatur folks, and some people who just happen to be randomly walking by the door.






Bistro in a Box and Decatur Starbucks, provided free refreshments to the first 40 attendees.






We showed a series of improvisational studies centered around the new work being developed by Artistic Director Sue Schroeder in tandem with the Core Dance artists.






I find it interesting to notice the difference in working privately in the studio and doing real improvised work for a live audience.






In the evening we delved even a little deeper into the process during The Salon.

We began with a walking meditation focused on one clear idea. Upon committing to the idea we dropped the walking meditation and began movement improvisation. Through the improvisation we found where the "idea" lived in our body, where it held the space, how it interpreted time and what energy resignated with it. This new experience invited the "audience" as viewers to see the process which created new awakenings for us as creators.






Thursday, November 12, 2009

busy day...

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what up everyone...it's alex. i know blake is blogging this week...but today we have an exciting and busy day. actually, blake is in the studio right now rehearsing "Tus Pasos Encontrados" because they leave tomorrow for Houston to perform in Quirky Works at the Wortham this Saturday the 14th.

any-who...here is a recording of the final "combination" taught today by Corian. the company members rotate who teaches company class...and today was corian's day.

on the schedule today...we also have a Lunchtime in the Studio at noon, til one, which is a free performance during lunch where we get food and coffee donated for people to enjoy a performance with a free lunch...then we talk and mingle too. then tonight we have a Salon performance from 6-8...which is like lunchtime...but with catered food from a local restaurant, wine and other beverages. the topic of both performances will be the current work...The Point.

so if you can...please come to either one of those if you are free. hope to see you there...

alex :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday. More investigations with Lori, leading us through different approaches to the Laban work. It is amazing to me how this clear and simple interpretation of spatial direction and intention can take us deeply into a full and satisfying exploration that can lead us to new relations with our bodies, each other and the space around us.
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Monday, November 09, 2009

videoLori Teague, certified movement analyst, dancer, choreographer, and faculty member of emory university takes the CPC dancers through Rudolf Laban's Scale A. The laban work is a great tool for dancers to use their finely honed instrument of the body to find new movement vocabulary and new movement patterns, or just to have fun with some old movement patterns, as seen in this 'Disco' version of scale A.

Friday, November 06, 2009

performing










We had an informal performance yesterday for our benefactor and it brought up some things I never think about as a performer. There is the dancer in rehearsal, and there is the dancer in performance. What about those in between performances? What information can you gather from that sort of pressure/performance? There is no real right or wrong answer to the question, but it all informs us as performers.



We add layers upon layers of experience with every performance we have. As we become more seasoned, new things are discovered and explored. This is what keeps things fresh even after repeating a dance over and over again. No one performance will ever be the same as the one before so we are trained to adapt and move on. This is where the real beauty arises. Where the unexpected lives and makes itself known just when you thought this time was just like the time before.



Thursday, November 05, 2009

Doing the work



Today in the studio, "Tus Pasos" is getting ready to perform at quirky works in Houston! We have Blake and Claire cleaning some intesnse dance moves! It is amazing how specific we must be as dancers! Because of our physical make up, it feels different from person to person in order to look the same...Basically cleaning is HARD! But we must do it!


"Tus Pasos" (Claire and Blake)





(Kim and Sharon)

Monday, November 02, 2009

WORD...It's COCO LOCO!

November 2, 2009

Working the trio form...
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The writtings on the wall!


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Friday, October 30, 2009

yay friday!



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so today is friday...yay friday! this is some of the solo material that corian and i both did yesterday. the above video is me...


the below video is corian's solo phrase. the directions for this solo exploration were the same directions used for the duet phrase.






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these phrases came after our work in the morning creating the duet phrase. for my phrase, the idea i was using for my solo "phrase" (which is more of an exploration) was that on our actual wall, in the studio that we drew on earlier this week, there is a small section of small concentrated "sqwiggles" and circles that create this dense cloud of black. the density and energy of that small portion of the wall is quite fascinating to me just because it is such a small statement, but because it is so highly concentrated...the impact of it is very impressive. so the idea i was playing with was how to i can be small and concentrated, like that section of the wall, but slowly allow that small movement to inform the rest of my body. in essence, it is a chain reaction...but once the energy actually ends up "exploding" i allow it to slowly circle back to the beginning, instead of allowing it to run rampant.


that is just a small glimpse into what i was working with...because i feel that the nugget of information i was working with could be more fine-tuned (but so can anything you work with). however, i am also content in letting that movement phrase/idea exist on its own.


and that folks...was the rest of the work that we did yesterday afternoon while the rest of the group worked upstair on "Tus Pasos."


so on today, friday...we have been working with Sue, and she has been manipulating our duet phrase material into a "duet" that may...or may not...exist in the actual dance. however, it is all part of the bigger picture and process of us becoming comfortable in the material, and with Sue becoming more familiar with the way we (the newer members of CORE) move. on that note, it also works in reverse...since this is our first venture with Sue at the head of it, we are also becoming more familiar with the way she choreographs on us as her dancers.

here is the latest version (the one Sue has worked on with us) that we created today...


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well everyone...that's all for this week. hope you all have a great weekend and a happy halloween! see you all next week!

alex

Thursday, October 29, 2009

return of the kleiber!!!!

howdy, howdy everybody....i haven't blogged in a few days. we normally have tuesdays off...and yesterday (wednesday) i just dropped the ball. there was a lot of good stuff i could have gotten on camera, but i was just too slow to get it. lots of great improv work as an entry-point to get into The Point (which is our new dance that is in the works). so...i apologize. but believe me, if it was captured on film...it would have blown your mind. before we went into the work yesterday, we all checked in to see where we were in the process of things and our "fearless leader" Sue Schroeder just gave us some things she wanted us to play with that really fed all of our work.





anyway...i am pleased to announce the return of Kim Kleiber, who is coming out of "retirement" for the houston performance of Alicia Sanchez's work "Tus Pasos Encontrados." here is a short snippet of the gang (MaryJane, Claire, Blake...and Kim) putting the dance back together. by the way, this dance will be performed November 14th at the Wortham Theatre in downtown Houston for Quirky Works presented by The Houston Met with guests Travesty Dance Group (Houston) and CORE performance company.




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because corian and i are not in this dance, our assignment to day was to work on the point, both individually and together. we used the improv we did yesterday as a jumping off point for a phrase we were to create together...and for phrases we created seperately. the improv yesterday was another improv that came from Sol Lewitt's "Wall Drawing #65..." and the assignment led to some fun, interesting material.



this first video is of the duet phrase that corian and i created. to start off we just discussed some things that we were working with...for instance, how can we cut the three dimensional space with our limbs, or how do we make lines that are "not straight"? then we worked in a "ping-pong" sort of method where we took turns creating material where the previous person left off. having worked with corian many time before...it was a nice challege to work in this different way. it definately was a 50/50 collaboration.


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so that is just a little taste of what went on today...corian and i also made up individual phrases...but alas, the day is over and i have to get to my other job...so i will post those videos tomorrow at some point! hope you guys enjoy a glimpse into all the different goings on at CORE. this is alex...peacing out!

Monday, October 26, 2009

life on the road...





hey everyone...it's me, alex, again. i know i just posted that previous blog about stuff that is goin on now in the studio, and i just thought i would give you some inside scoop on what it is like to travel. i've travelled before with other companies that i've danced for, but nothing to the magnitude of how much we have travelled with CORE.


we normally go to houston a few times a year...yay houston (it's my home...and corian's home too). there we perform at the Bayou City Arts Fest. it's a pretty fun gig to be able to visit home, and perform there on a regular basis. BCAF is an interesting event because we aren't performing in a traditional theatre setting, we are out and about amongst the crowd...but we normally don't look anything like them. for instance, this past spring we were in Memorial Park and underneath our street clothes we had on various bright orange clothing...that before we started dancing we would strip off our "pedestrian garb" and reveal these bright orange
"get-ups." it was awesome because it would really get peoples' attention. also, the BCAF provides the people who attend a chance to witness some "renegade art."


we storm the festival grounds in our wonderous costumes and perform for everyone...this also makes for some pretty amazing photo-ops. i say that because in that setting, and in this day in age where everyone has a camera, people take all kinds of photos...and some turn out pretty amazing...


like this one of MaryJane and myself from photographer Burnell Mccray.


we were talking not too long ago about how it feels to perform in a situation such as that...and i have to say it requires a different kind of focus and attention, as a performer, than normal proscenium theatres that people are more adjusted to. as a performer, you have to deal with ambient noise and business...such as crying babies, or the smell of food cooking...or even hearing the audience whisper about the "weird dance stuff" that is going on. then you have moments like this...captured forever on film...definately a moment that most photographers wouldn't be able to get in a photoshoot at a theatre...plus this was live, and very real. the funny part is...i don't remember him taking this picture...well, of course, because my eyes are closed :)



so that is what it is like in houston....this season before we did BCAF in downtown Houston, we went to Conway, Arkansas! we did a performance at the University of Central Arkansas in the Baum Gallery for an art festival they were having....and we also had residencies and performances at local schools. i don't have many photos from either of those...however, i do have some candid shots from the car ride to Arkansas...







i probably shouldn't be allowed to have a camera on tour....what else is there to do when you're all in one car and people start passing out one by one after a long day of travel. Arkansas was definately a fun tour....during the school shows we left lasting impressions on many kids, during the Baum performance we challenged (in a good way) the mind of many art-goers, during the master class we opened the eyes of many kids to what modern dance can entail. it was a lot of hustle and bustle, going from one performance to the hotel, to rehearsal, to eat, to another performance, back to rehearsal...then dinner, then to the hotel to pass out and sleep (or watch tv...that's what i mostly did). so it can be taxing...but in the end i probably wouldn't have it any other way. plus, i felt like it bonded us as a company...the final evening we all went out to eat at a nice restaurant with the musicians that played for us.


sidenote: on our way to conway we stopped at this restaurant in Hazen, Arkansas to grab a bite to eat. they had good ole'fashioned southern food...which means a lot of fried stuff...YUM! i was one of the few people to get the buffet of the day which was all you can eat chicken fried steak, homemade mashed potatos, salad, fried green tomatos, broccoli cheese, and a complimentary fried pie. i had never had fried green tomatos in my life (i love the movie though)...so i decided to try it...when in Rome (in this case Hazen, Arkansas)! it was delicious...it was one of those small, but infinitely memoriable moments. that is the beauty of being an artist with a company that travels...those small moments that open your eyes to a small sliver of what life is like outside of my own little world. so on that note...thank you Arkansas!this is a picture of my "happy plate"...you can see the fried green tomato in the upper right corner...
alex....OUT!


howdy...this is alex, i am one of the company members. i come from houston, tx...this is roughly about my second season with the company. also, this is one of the first of many blogs to come from me...and also from different members within the company. so enough with introductions...on to the blog!

disclaimer:
that being said...i'm a fan of "dot, dot, dots" and i also don't like to capitalize things, so i apologize in advance.

lately in the studio we have been working on different processes to help feed us for the work we are doing for our latest dance The Point. we are working on Sol Lewitt's "Wall Drawing #65 / Lines not short, not straight, crossing and touching, drawn at random using four colors, uniformly dispersed with maximum density, covering the entire surface of the wall., 1971" (red, yellow, blue, and black pencil)...i just call it wall drawing # 65.

after class with "our fearless leader" Sue...we revisited our movement phrases with the work that we started friday. we each developed individual movement phrases based on the instructions of Wall Drawing # 65...and the instructions for the drawing is also the title. so after recalling all of our work, we spent time putting them into duets and trios. Corian and Claire worked together...and Blake, MaryJane, and I worked together. that's always fun...to see how everyone can collaborate, and maintain the integrity of their own work...while also trying to accomodate their fellow dancers.

after moving our bodies, and talking about it, we then broke for lunch. we were told we were going to have an art project for the afternoon (which made me excited)! when we got back, we went back into the studio and were told that we are actually going to create Sol's Wall Drawing #65 in the studio...on one of our very own walls. so armed with the four colors...red, yellow, blue, and black, we went to work drawing lines on the wall. it was a great feeling, knowing that i was allowed to draw on the wall...and that it is part of my job! i remember being a little kid and getting into some SERIOUS trouble for doing that in our hallway...but that's another story for another day.

since i gave you a little run down of what happened at core today...i have also provided some short, live action documentation...blair witch style! this is my first attempt at documenting, and using a camera....so please forgive me if you get a little dizzy. in watching them, claire said she felt like she was in my head bc i give live commentary (which some people didn't like...but it's all in good fun). enjoy....alex...OUT!
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Discussion

Following the first improv, Sue and the dancers discussed what they experienced.


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First Claire shared some thoughts.



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Then Corian spoke.



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Blake chimed in.



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Followed by Mary Jane.



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And Sue responded to what many had said.

The Point, day one



The dancers are starting Sue's new work by improvising around the ideas put forth in Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing #65.


Her first instruction to the dancers was:


Lines not straight, not short, curving, crossing and touching


The dancers were asked to approach this as a quartet, utilizing LeWitt's medium instruction: Four different colored pencils--Red, Blue, Yellow and Black.


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