At a recent work-in-progress showing of The Materiality of Impermanence, the dancers and I had the opportunity to perform what we have been rehearsing since July. Although difficult to go public with such personal work, the experience was gratifying and useful.
A few days later, I met with two trusted friends to talk about their impressions. I now muse upon their words, and am, as always, blown away by the difficulty of the choreographic process. They identified issues I had surreptitiously and conveniently swept under the rug, issues that I must now confront, ponder, and rectify. I must grapple with and solve uncomfortable music choices, cliché movement vocabulary, forced transitions, and (last, but not least!) unclear meaning. There is much to do.
In the past I have choreographed pieces under the pressure of looming deadlines, putting them together with just enough time for dancers to learn the sequences before stepping onstage. This time is purposely different. The Materiality of Impermanence has given me the opportunity to immerse myself fully and repeatedly within layers of music, movement, and meaning. The luxury of time is allowing me to revisit the initial impulses that gave rise to this project, and to explore them in all their complexity. Because of the nature of this particular work, it is a painful and challenging process, that nobody—not even the dancers—can share with me.
The creation of The Materiality of Impermanence is an act in honor of myself. As such, I strive to peel away the unnecessary and the trivial, leaving only a vulnerable, yet hopefully, luminous authenticity. It is an artistically and spiritually intimidating task, and in the end, I may not achieve it to my satisfaction. Creation (and life) is a very lonely journey.