We’ve been working on A Mix Tape For Ophelia for about a year now, and from the beginning i knew it would be a combination of dance and theater. but no only has it been an interesting struggle to figure out what that means, where on the spectrum of performance arts we fall, it has been a process to work together, people with theater backgrounds, MFA dancers, performance makers… and as the lead artist, it has been imporant for me to leanr how to work with dance, and dancers like Sarah and Kat.
Sometimes I find it hard to be in rehearsal with Kat and Sarah. They are developing the dance, the movement for the show, and they talk to each other in this special twin language of dancers who enjoy working together. They talking in half sentences and gestures, with head tilts and hand motions I don’t understand. At first it made me really uncomfortable, I felt left out, worried that my project wasn’t under my control. But I have learn that if I sit and wait while they work it out together and in their bodies I get to join in the game, and tweak the movement, add the story and the music. And its pretty freaking awesome. The nunnery scene has developed from a strange and confusing scene between two girls into a hybrid dance/acting scene that expressed Hamlet and Ophelia’s angst amazingly. It was a lot of work to get used to collaborating in this way, to being this dependent on other people’s skills and knowledge. Now, however, I am really glad I stuck it out, developed this relationship, learned to trust Sarah and Kat, given the time to them learning about the story and about me and the show because I get the best of both worlds- dancers who talk in their own, highly developed language, building on my story and all of us making something wonderful together. And its so much richer, telling a deeper story, rather than just the one I could write or the one Shakespeare put down.
and then we finally had a run, and everything feels like its coming together!