Behind the Reduction: Movers / by David Bernabo

Rehearsals for The Reduction

Rehearsals for The Reduction

I'm realizing that with three days until the performance (this Thursday!) and long theater days ahead setting up the lighting, stage, cues, etc., this may be the only good night to make this post. 

I've talked a bit about the sound and, vaguely, documentation, but there are three more people involved in The Reduction. In fact, they are probably the most important, otherwise the piece would be an extremely well-documented listening session. 

I have had the great fortune to work with and learn from some great dancers and movement artists: Maree ReMalia, Jil Stifel, Gia Cacalano, Mark C. Thompson, slowdanger. For this piece, I wanted to work with new collaborators to see where the work would go. Much of the movement is based on MODULES, a loose system for creating movement or, I suppose, performance work. The nature of MODULES pieces allows for extreme detail and choreography, but more often provides an instruction or concept that a dancer needs to interpret. This means that improvisation is needed, which means that the dancer's presence, tastes, and abilities factor heavily into how the piece is executed.

To that end, I have been very fortunate to find three new collaborators, JoAnna DehlerRu Emmons-Apt, and Lauryn Petrick. Since I have been on a blog-nostalgia trip lately, I'll continue with the origin stories.

I met JoAnna through working with Jil Stifel. I was working with Jil to prepare her duo piece, Knuckle Press, for the 2015 New Moves festival at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. Here is the result of that. But JoAnna was kind enough provide feedback on the piece while we were rehearsing. JoAnna and I then performed an exerpt of The Reduction at the Gallery crawl. 

Ru and I met at PearlAnn Porter's (a) Long Here, which found Taylor Knight performing to newly recorded iterations of his last night's self for 16 nights. I helped out on music for the past five nights, performing on accordion, objects, and guitar. After the performances, a series of improvisations occured. My name was called along with Ru's and we performed a duo piece interpreting two different concepts. I remember being excited about Ru's decisions during the improvisation, then thinking, "oh, maybe this could work for the New Hazlett piece." Ru then performed in MODULES 13 with Anna Thompson, Taylor Knight, and myself. It was a pretty fun and zany piece. 

Lauryn is actually JoAnna's student. JoAnna recommended Lauryn when we wanted to add a fourth dancer. So, these collaborations are falling nicely into place. Here is a brief excerpt from a recent rehearsal.

Well, tomorrow, we are setting the lighting cues and Darin arrives for some initial rehearsals. I'm extremely excited about this piece and truly hope that you, assumed reader, can make it.

All the best,

Dave