Today I read “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” by Ilene Beckerman and it moved me. It’s her stories about events in her life and what she wore. It really touches on what I’m interested in – the memories in the fabrics of our lives.
The Linen Closet Development –
I thought perhaps it could be fun to try to summarize the scaffolding of making The Linen Closet. I keep choreography journals and can trace the development. In the theater world it’s called “devising”, and in the dance world “choreographing” or simply making. Unlike reading music from a score, or bringing a script to life, this process is, in academic parlance, emergent and qualitative research. Themes develop, ideas coalesce, imagery cooks, and connections get made. Even though “I” am making the work, there is often a sense that the work is making itself known to me. Go to this blog for a longer essay.
- Sabbatical begins as I transition from admin to making/teaching. Unearth vestigial ideas of dancing with fabric from a decade ago – have always wanted to do a sequel of Is A Woman. (like this post if you saw that dance!)
- Start collecting sheets, napkins, a quilt, clothing – the white/beige theme emerges pretty fast. Assumption this will be a series of vignettes or characters establishes. Arc or linking theme unclear yet.
Autumn – Winter 2015-2016
- Research textile industry – check out A Stitch in Time – and finish a section, titled “Industry”
- Begin working with Robert Post, Director.
- Concept/title of “The Linen Closet” emerges as a connecting conceit – and soon the concept of the set emerges. Also have desire to involve audience in some way.
- Fashion maven character develops, along with lots of experimentation with folding and draping fabrics of various sizes. Many iterations later, you will see the results in several sections of the dance.
- Read The Importance of Wearing Clothes by Lawrence Langner, and The Invention of Clothing by Art Newfeld and others. Sit in on a fashion design class at Columbus College of Art and Design. Thank you Suzanne Cotton.
- Lost 50 lbs during sabbatical. That helped.
- June – first attempt at an “order” of sections so far.
- Begin figuring out how costume might layer, transition.
- Transitions become more considered, but problematic.
- Begin really looking at arc of dynamics – the energy of each section, the degree of talking vs. moving, they type of music. Ah yes, lots of music searches.
Autumn-Winter 2016 – 2017
- Invited to be part of “Dare to Be Heard” all women artist show. Asked to perform and offer a preview of this work. Also asked if the “set” could be an installation in the gallery with gallery visitors able to participate. see photo. (like this post if you were there). Artist Nate Gorgen built the set pieces. Thanks Stephanie Rond for the support and encouragement to try all this.
- Refining text, working on techniques of speaking – with Robert Post – for example trying the speaking parts as if speaking to the whole audience, to one person, or just focusing on the fabric or gesture – and moving in and out of those levels of focii.
- Find the text for How to Sew in a Singer Sewing Company manual, 1949. Delight in pairing that with a short study from 1990’s with tango music and a pile of napkins. Many iterations later… well, you’ll have to come see it.
- Lose another 10 lbs, and get stronger – teaching again – have now more access to more movement – got cartwheels, handstands, headstands, and at least single pirouettes back, for example. Continue the question about how to balance or blend moving, speaking, acting, gesturing, working with props. Started the project with a heavier tilt to the “theater” part because I thought, well, I can’t move much. But now, it’s shifted a bit.
Spring and Summer 2017
- Plan this concert in earnest, write grants, book the theater, bring in Dave Covey, lighting designer.
- Share the work in progress at Denison University and Kenyon College – some helpful insights and fun to hear what resonated.
- Do the show.
- Turn 60.
- After reflection and audience response (please write) will re-do, discard, move on, give up, or try new.