Day One of Parsons Dance!

Today was my first official day as a Parsons dancer!  No more apprenticeship or understudy position – ahhhh, feels super!  How did day one go?  Well, I attempted to be studious with the idea of hitting the sack early and packing my bag before I started drooling on my pillowcase to insure a calm, orderly morning.  The reality?  I worked until midnight last night at the restaurant and face-planted my pillow when I got home.  The consequence was to find myself running out of my apartment with puffy eyes and crazy hair as soon as I woke this morning since my cat didn’t have any food in the cabinet for breakfast.  I returned with Friskies in tow to a meowing kitty with a growling belly of my own only to discover my fridge lacked any sort of a sensible breakfast.  I completely stole the remaining milk from my roommate. (Sorry Christie!)  Next discovery?  My laundry was still at the cleaners and my drawers were devoid of any semblance of dance clothes.  So needless to say, I made a few extra run outs and wasn’t exactly slowly sipping my tea while listening to NPR.   Bottom line?  I made it to rehearsal with first-day-pep in my step and some time to stretch out my tight hamstrings.  Side note:  my hammies have been particularly tight because I started taking these amazing, but killer, core-fusion classes at The Body where I am soon to be training as an instructor for some supplemental dance income!  More on this in a later post…

After a series of welcome back hugs and chatting about the tidbits of our summer that have been off each others’ radars, we got straight to business and Liz (associate artistic director extraordinaire) went over who’s going to be doing what for the upcoming performance of Remember Me in Chatham, NY for PS 21 (Performance Spaces for the 21st Century).  This performance is somewhat of a transition between the former and new company – Julie will still be dancing, but this will sadly be her last performance – and some dancers will actually have to learn a separate role for when this upcoming season is underway.  Always a fun mind game!  Yet, there’s no better way to have a deeper understanding of the work and be a more educated teacher.  I fortunately will be the same role in Chatham as in the rest of the season, but it is a separate role from my initial Remember Me experience (I was Julie’s role and now slipping into Lauren’s and most of the core movement is similar – phew!).

The entire company is not back in rehearsals quite yet, so it was just us new folks – myself, Jason, and Ian – along with the help of Sarah, Julie, and Eric.  Most of the day we were translating from the video and sketching out as much of the piece as possible.  We got through the first half, which included about three sections for the ensemble.  Great progress for day one, but if I never have to learn another dance off a video I would die a happy dancer.  Dance companies across the board rely on videos in rehearsal to pass down the information effectively and it gets the job done.  It absolutely is a great record of dance – beats labanotation for the purpose of disseminating movement to future members for sure.  Now to completely dismiss the aforementioned, I find it incredibly tedious and instantly my dyslexia, seemingly inapparent in my writing, comes out in full force as I stare blankly at the screen for what feels like five minutes just to distinguish if I am on stage right or stage left.  Oy!  A good practice of patience I presume.  In addition to my bouts of mental slowness, the energy and dynamism of live performance get muffled through video and I’m often stuck learning movements and then applying the layers of performance, interaction, and energy afterwards.  It is a blessing to have the minds of those who originally conceived this piece in the room to retain and communicate the original intent.  Ideally, with each learning experience I’m attempting to embody the movement in as close to the full, performance form as possible.  I am itching to dance Remember Me with full gusto and looking forward to sinking deeper into it all tomorrow and eventually with a full cast.  Damn, patience is my arch-nemesis.

Assessment of day one?  My body felt a little “crunchy” (typical dance lingo for feeling less than supple!) and I plan on getting to the studio even earlier tomorrow to give myself a proper ballet barre.  That is, if my morning is more zen than today’s fun madness!  Face-planting pillow soon!

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