By Marina Harss
13 April 2020
Choreography may be the most social art. A composer can write music alone at her piano; a painter has his paints. But dance requires human bodies sharing space and physical contact, neither of which is possible at the moment. And yet the imagination is a powerful tool. As the choreographer Jessica Lang recently told a group of seven American Ballet Theatre dancers in a Zoom session, “We may not be together, but we get to use our imaginations.”
The dancers’ faces popped up on the screen, each framed by his or her current living arrangements. Some were sitting in living rooms, between the couch and the TV. Others in the kitchen, or in a bedroom. For an hour and a half, they talked, listened, moved.
The session was part of a new initiative connected to ABT Incubator, a choreographic workshop started by the dancer David Hallberg two years ago. That first year, the dancers were simply given time and space to create a dance. Lang, who has been involved since the beginning of the Incubator, felt this wasn’t enough. She suggested that it might be useful to have a forum in which the dancers could be exposed to principles that underpin the creative process.
So this year, ABT introduced a preparatory workshop, ahead of the creation period in the fall. Then COVID-19 happened, and suddenly everyone was stuck at home. Like so much else in people’s lives, the sessions went online. The dancers meet up with Lang on Zoom for an hour and half every Wednesday, for a total of five weeks.
Read the article on Dance Magazine online.