Monday, April 29, 2013

Guest Blogger: Trey McIntyre of Trey McIntyre Project

”When you dance, you can enjoy the luxury of being you.”
  Paulo Coehlho, The Witch of Portobello

April 26 – May 5 
Join us during National Dance Week for a special posting in Center Scene by a noted artistic director, choreographer or expert. 

Trey McIntyre's Sun Road 

Trey McIntyre © Otto Kitsinger
By Trey McIntyre
Artistic Director, Trey McIntyre Project

A dancer approached me recently for some advice about how to be the best participant in the process of creating a new ballet. This was my response:

I really appreciate your checking in and it speaks volumes about you that you want to learn. I can only speak from my own experience as a choreographer and what motivates me in the studio. I go right to a place of exploration and daring, and I want the dancers to do the same. I am inspired by dancers who try fearlessly. Always succeeding is not the point. I am not trying to simply bring an idea into the world that I think should happen. I am trying to discover. So, in that way, the dancer is a full participant in the creation. Whether or not you fall on your face, we don’t know what’s right or wrong yet. The important thing is to commit to it wholeheartedly. I find that dancers find ways to distance themselves from the hard, embarrassing parts of the process. Something goes wrong and you stop to laugh at it or show excessive exasperation, and, in essence say, “that mistake is not me.” But all I see is a wasted opportunity and distancing of oneself from the process…from the vulnerability and the discovery. Those mistakes are, indeed, you and need to be relished and examined. 

Trey McIntyre's Bad Winter © Liz Volles
Another thing to keep your eye on, especially with a new choreographer to you, is that the details of their way of movement are important. It may feel more comfortable to start by translating the information into what you know, but there are reasons for the specificity. So, to the extent that you can digest those things quickly and keep trying them to the point that they are uncomfortable, you are getting closer to what the choreographer is looking for. 

Finally, remember that you are helping an artist to pull something out of the ethereal into the concrete world. That is an uncertain, twisting, winding road that needs coaxing and inspiration. Study the myths of the muses because they really illustrate what I feel is the dancer’s main role in the creation process. Anything you can do to support the fantasy that is being spun … through excited presence, through reflecting the mood of the piece in your person, through doing your homework and coming in the next day better than when you left … you play a pivotal part in making art happen. 

I hope this makes sense to you and is not too big picture to be helpful. If you keep up this attitude of learning and implement what you find in a way that feels positive and growing for you, you will have a great career. Thanks again for reaching out. 

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