Inspiration in Improvisation

Last September, Lynn Parkerson attended a Mixed Movement event at St. Mark’s Church at the suggestion of some of her dancers. Swept away with the spirit of the evening’s dancing, Lynn found herself performing an improvised solo. Check it out here:

Inspired by the gestural movement and multiple dance genres that arose in her improvisation, Lynn and long-time collaborator Kalle Laar decided to join forces again to create a new dance. Kalle produces art in many mediums but primarily focuses on sound installations created by his husband and wife team “Art or Accident” based out of Munich, Germany.

Lynn and Kalle have collaborated on projects before — one piece they conceived together was titled “Nervous,” based on an epic poem written by a mutual friend Jeffrey Gustavson. The work featured three ballet dancers and a couple practicing contact improvisation while Gustavson sat in the middle of the stage. This work fed Kalle and Lynn's fascination with finding connections between different movement styles.

Lynn, in particular, is moved to create based on her discovery of these kinds of connections. She has been working with street dancers since 2005, investigating how the improvisatory practice of breakdance, pop and lock and other street styles can coincide with the more structured format of ballet. Her current work features popper Michael Fields and ballet dancer Kerry Shea. One of the discrepancies she’s found in choreographing using multiple mediums is the way in which her dancers generate movement.

Lynn has grown comfortable in the roles of director, teacher and choreographer, but recently rediscovered the virtues of performing. Finding it easy to slip back into the spotlight in the impulsive atmosphere of September's Mixed Movement, she remembered that the performance space can act as a location for creation.

The rehearsal studio is more foreign to the street performer than it is the ballerina, so to work with both types of artists, Lynn finds herself working against the norm to generate a work in a way that suits (and challenges!) each of her dancers' needs. Molding this duet both in rehearsals in the studio at Schermerhorn House, and more spontaneously, within public performance, Lynn is facing new obstacles and greeting new revelations with this project.

The choreography generated thus far was well-received at multiple showings last fall and continues to develop rapidly with the introduction of new ideas in music and sound-scores, cross-discipline dancing, performance quality and more.

So the performance space is becoming the place where the composition cements itself. A lot of detail gets sorted out in that tension involved in being in front of an audience. With only landmarks, not finished products, the dancers can let the audience in and let the moment lead to their next choices.

Tag along with Lynn, Kalle, Mike and Kerry as the work progresses from improvised solo to … well, who knows? Keep up with us at the Brooklyn Ballet blog!

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