Choreographic Residency

SFCD Choreographic Residency 2017

Eric Garcia and the collaborative team of Sarah Woods-LaDue and Bob Woods-LaDue are the resident artists of SFCD’s 2017 Choreographic Residency. They have been working with the students of SFCD’s year-round program in weekly rehearsals since January. They recently shared some thoughts on their processes so far.

The works created by Eric, Sarah, and Bob will be shown on April 19, 20, and 21 in the April 2017 edition of Work Nights. Work Nights is a regular series of free, informal showings of work being developed at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. You can reserve seats in advance HERE.

blog post1_1

Eric Garcia with SFCD students

Eric Garcia:

I’ve given myself and the SFCD students somewhat of an impossible task. Inspired by recent theatrical roulette-escapades (Shotgun Players’ Hamlet directed by Mark Jackson and the San Francisco Neo Futurists’ Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind), I’ve decided to embark on my own chance-based performance adventure. Our goal is to create a suite of dances where both the roles of the performers and the order of sections are determined at random moments before the start.

The framework feels relevant to the concept we are digging into. We are steeped in (re)constructing dream cities and piecing together nostalgias of San Francisco. As such, we are experimenting with precarious choreographic structures and prompts that test our confidence in memory. For example, the 12 of us created a duet in the span of 1 hour, where the director and performers rotated every 5 minutes. Once the duet was crafted, everyone had to learn both parts knowing that during the final performance, two dancers would be selected at random to perform any given part.

The work parallels the infinite narratives that exist within a city, both told and untold. Each night of this performance — by virtue of in-the-moment decision making — reveals new arcs and through-lines. Part of the richness of this piece is the myriad of configurations and possibilities that will never come to be. One night may feature and highlight a particular character’s journey, while another night conjures a completely different experience and tone. Everything is a constellation of random events that are strung together. The meaning-making happens real time.

I’m excited to use this time as a director/choreographer to create a container for true risk-taking, both for myself and for the SFCD students. Comforts and mental capacities are certainly being stretched. This piece has the very real potential for failure: Never had a chance to rehearse the monologue that you have to now perform? Didn’t quite remember the movement in that highly-nuanced floor pattern? Not feeling super confident in belting a song about the Western frontier? We’ve clearly laid out the problem, now it’s time to figure out a solution. And considering there are nearly 40 million variations on the piece (both in the ordering of sections and the casting), we’ve got some work to do. Onward…

blog post1_2

Sarah Woods-LaDue & Bob Woods-LaDue

Sarah Woods-LaDue & Bob Woods-LaDue:

We are having a blast working with the students at SFCD. We’ve thrown some complex concepts and structures their way and their constant willingness to venture down the rabbit hole with us has been incredibly moving. We’ve experimented with using modular structures that are created in the moment by the actions and decisions of the dancers. Some of these structures require a strict rule-set to be established before relationships can be developed in the space. This process has taken more time than anticipated, but it feels like a fruitful venture and will hopefully be the frame for wherever we end up at the end of this residency. A main component of most everything we’ve been building together, includes an element of music. The dancers have been generating soundscapes as a byproduct of physicality, and more recently, looking at the inverse of that relationship. To say the least, we’re majorly excited.

Advertisements

Some things don’t fit into a box – Angela Mazziotta

img_5873

During SFCD’s fall semester, Angela Mazziotta (a recent alum of SFCD’s Choreographic Residency program) joined the SFCD faculty to work with our year-round students on composition and dance-making. She wrote a brief reflection on her work with the students so far:

Some things don’t fit into a box. Some colors run outside the lines. Some moments cannot be described in words. Over the past few months I have worked with ten dancers (all of whom have names) in a studio (#270, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance) on something which is important work, but feels like play. The fall semester of the Year-Round Program at the Conservatory is nearing its end and I still don’t know what to call this important playtime. Hoping to step outside of myself, I loosely asked the dancers to ponder the class and write about their experience. Much like our time together, the following is a collaboration using their responses as a framework around which I’ve attempted to build a complete thought. [Note: one of the 10 dancers was unable to attend class this day, so Nathaniel’s contribution lives in a more subtle way – between the lines.] –Angela Mazziotta

The class feels like a space to explore “trial with no error” (Natalie) and discover creative avenues for dance composition by trusting a “human process” (Claire). This experimental composition (Isabella) involves digging into “real life” (Jennifer) and imaginary ideas or scenarios and asking “what if” (Morganne). We practice “freedom” (Sydney) and curiosity during tasks that lend easily to shifting perspectives, then recognize and celebrate “serendipity” (Mika) when something happens that is worth of repeating. This class is about “shedding” (Madison) layers of ourselves to get closer to our inner wild and capable “monsters” (Harlie). From this most pure and genuine place, the many facets of dance making and performing are readily at the surface, with plenty of room to try on – and fully embody – layers as they are dealt from various artistic directors, collaborators….or, ya know: life.

img_5768