Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Getting in the mood

one, two, three, four... one, two, three, four. "What foot am i supposed to pivot on again?" I asked myself this question as rub my lower back and wipe the sweat off my forehead. Sweat? I don't remember social dance being this hard. "Well... sometimes dance is hard," says Patton White, our instructor for today's company class. Patton White, the Company's manager, CORE's production manager, and an Artistic Associate, has been teaching social and Latin dances during this week's company classes to assist CORE Performance Company for "In the Mood...for Dance," a free dance concert at the Miller Outdoor Theatre on Friday, April 29th in Houston. (By the way, April 29th is World Dance Day.) Patton White has 22 years of social dance experience and has spent the last 6 years teaching social dance at Emory. His experience has been as a source for the Company in the same way that a writer uses a dictionary and thesaurus. Company members, Corian and Alex, informed me that the Company is aiming to use social dances, such as the fox trot, swing, tap, and the American tango, as inspiration to create a contemporary dance piece. White explained to me the methods used to achieve this goal. He says that all dancers have been learning both the roles of a leader and a follower. He and the Company have been discussing the importance of being and leader and a follower in social dance. There are specifics in each role that dancers have to embody to meet the needs of his/her partner. Alissa says, "As a dancer, it is sometimes harder to be a follower because I know the music and the timing. Following requires listening and allowing your leader to lead even if it means I may miss the beat or step. Being a leader is nice when I am confident in what I am doing. I have to constantly be ahead of my partner, so that I don’t trip over my feet and make us look bad." Also the Company has been 'playing' with each of the social dances and their structures, by allowing themselves to manipulate the timing and where they place their body spatially with each step. Both changing the role from leader to follower and 'playing' with the dances are methods being used by the company to create a contemporary piece using social dance as an inspiration. For more details about "In the Mood...for Dance" and other upcoming performances and events, check out our website.

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