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Jody Sperling - Time Lapse DanceJody Sperling is a dancer, choreographer and dance scholar. She is the founder and Artistic Director of Time Lapse Dance. This is Jody's blog.
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Archive for August, 2009

First Video from Vassar

Towards the end of our recent residency at Vassar College, I arranged for videographer Linda Lewett to shoot an afternoon of rehearsals. The idea was to generate footage for a series of short videodances, each one to explore a visual idea. This first piece more or less follows the opening choreography of Forms of Dilemma, the stage work we are developing. This clip shows the exact same sequence for which I described and named each movement in a previous blog post. Now, you can see the same moves under David Ferri’s exquisite lighting and from multiple camera angles. The overhead shots come from one camera positioned in the catwalk above the stage. Krissy Tate, who is one of the dancers in the piece, also did the editing with my over-the-phone direction.

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Vanessa’s pics from Vassar

During our video shoot at Vassar College last weekend, Vanessa Cheung managed to get some lovely stills with her point-and-shoot camera. It’s quite a challenge to capture this movement with the variable lighting. The motion will tend to blur creating trace forms of the fabric action. This effect, however, can produce ethereal and captivating images. Enjoy!

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Forms of “Forms of Dilemma”

A few weeks ago, I saw a shared program with the choreographers Rebecca Stenn and Ben Munisteri. Each artist allowed the other to “re-mix” dances made for his or her own company. Then each re-mixed the others’ re-mix. It was fascinating exercise, seeing such thematic variations spun out in sequence. The evening proved how infinite are the possibilities of dance-making.

Choreography means making decisions. As a dance takes shape, I always have mixed feelings — excitement for the new work, of course, but also a sense of loss for all the possible dances I could have made in its place. (I especially miss the one that I had to describe with great detail in funding proposals a year in advance of its making.)

I usually console myself for the loss of un-actualized choreography (i.e. the alternate assemblages of material or all the cool moves that just don’t fit in) with “there’s always next time.” For my new piece, Forms of Dilemma, I’m letting myself make “next time” part of the process.

I just spent the past two weeks in a creative residency at Vassar College, working on version “A” of Forms of Dilemma. For this incarnation, I set the movement to Grieg’s outrageously melodic Peer Gynt Suite.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Vocabulary Test

It’s a lot easier to remember and repeat a movement when it has a name. My rehearsal process starts, literally, with “vocabulary” building. The dancers and I improvise until we come up with moves we like and then we give each one a name. Once we have a bunch of named chunks, we arrange them into sequences to fit a musical structure.

Here’s a video clip from Friday’s rehearsal during our a residency at Vassar College. The newly “coined” partner moves are: The Butterfly, Flags, Over/Under, 1/2 Umbrellas, Rainbow, Comet, Jacks, Spooning and Pacman (variations). I used YouTube’s annotation tool to label the video. You can choose to view the video with or without the labels by selecting the little carrot icon at the right corner of the video player.

I often joke with the dancers about “naming rights.” If you feel inspired to sponsor and christen a move, let’s talk!

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