Blending the Formal with the Spontaneous

Lynn discusses her experience working with a pop and lock dancer and a ballerina in the same studio:

Mike’s used to freestyle and Kerry’s used to being told what to do. She is exploring taking liberties with timing and whether or not she should do something. I want her to go further and further into that area. I think Kerry’s curious about other ways of being on stage. A lot of ballet dancers aren’t given enough of an opportunity to explore. There are psychological confrontations in the rehearsal process, nihilistic exploration, violent, hyper-mobile body contortion choreography — that’s something that’s almost wanted by ballet dancers, because freedom is a more challenging element.”

Still, the dance contains elements that Kerry and Lynn are familiar with seeing in ballet.

Kerry’s the one controlling the structure. In that way it’s very traditional. I count on her to keep the form, but I count on Mike to really be present in the moment. In that way, he is learning a new way of choreography. And I really enjoy working with him, because on some level, he is as much the choreographer as I am.”

Lynn counts on both the dancers to feel through the material and be comfortable enough to suggest alterations, additions and omissions. She’s been playing with Kerry’s movement, crafting variations – now she wonders if she could do the same with Mike, a performer less likely to construct variations on themes or motifs in his material.

I want to learn and create some variations of Mike’s stuff – it would be very inorganic for him. There is a whole direction of hip hop that is very choreographic and in unison, but that hasn’t been our focus. Sometimes I want to be able to grab a hold of the material and play with it myself. It just never seemed appropriate – what Mike does on his own seems better than what I can come up with at this point…”

Lynn’s crafted dances using different disciplines before, but never has it been so intimate a pairing.

As I’ve approached street dancing and ballet and modern dance coming together, I’ve worked with a lot of people in the space. Not so in this piece. This is super intimate. There’s this weird, awkward intimacy about this dance. They aren’t just coexisting in the space, there’s a new element of exploration. There are two people here, as opposed to a more abstract connection among a larger group.”

Stay tuned to Brooklyn Ballet’s blog to meet Kerry and Mike and see what they’re gaining from this process and the obstacles they’ve encountered so far.

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