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Elapse: Composition (The Main Course)

This is the third in a series of posts on the process of creating a new work entitled "Elapse" Once I've cast dancers, taught phrases, and collected base material, I cannot procrastinate any longer. I have to start composing the actual choreography. This is the layer that the audience will see, and nothing is harder than laying down the first strokes. At this point I look around the studio and wish someone else were in charge. A grownup. Afraid to start Photo by Jaqlin Medlock Groups are the hardest, and normally I wouldn't touch them the first week. I like to wait until I know more about characters and the shape of the piece. Also my group sections are informed by and composed of material

Music: 22 minutes Elapse

This is the second in series of posts on the process of creating a new work entitled "Elapse" Some of the most frequently asked questions by audience members in post-show Q&As are about music. How do you choose your music? What comes first, the choreography or the music? For me, the music usually isn’t the first piece of the puzzle. I start with an idea or image. In the case of my new piece Elapse for Ballet Memphis, it was the idea of running out of time. Then I choose my dancers. During our first few days we establish a language together for the piece we’ll create together. I teach them some base phrases, then we create new phrases based on a list of words that relate to my idea (metro

Elapse: Dancing about Climate Change

This is the first in a series about the process of creating a new work entitled "Elapse" Elvis Costello allegedly said that “writing about music was like dancing about architecture.” As a choreographer, I agree. It's challenging (though rewarding) to create work about anything besides dance itself. I love to see meaning emerge from movement, even if it dissolves back into abstraction within seconds. In my mind every piece I’ve created is about something outside dance---rivers, threads, cats, whatever. And sometimes that meaning is discovered very late in the process---through the search for a title or the writing of a program note. In this case, however, I was assigned a topic: “A Futu

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