Composition classes are a great space for personal growth. I took Group Forms in the hope that I would become more proficient and translating my artistic aesthetic onto larger groups of people. I found that I gained a lot of skills I didn’t expect such as being able to work better in collaboration with other people. I enjoyed the beginning of the semester when we did work on other groups. I thought it was useful to be able to step outside of the group and watch my dancers do what I asked because then I was able to decipher what did and didn’t work. When we started doing the group project where we had to make the eleven-minute piece as eight dancers, I think I got more logistical skills than anything else. I learned how to work quickly and battle the tangled knots created by trying to work with eight different artistic brains that all have very specific ways of wanting to do things. I also found that I was able to exercise the ability to be patient with people because of this. Sometimes you feel strongly about an aesthetic choice but you need to let it go for the sake of the greater good of the work. I learned that, despite how stubborn I am, I needed to learn how to negotiate between what I was and was not willing to concede to. I found myself in a position that I am not usually in which is that I was not asserting myself to call all of the shots. I absolutely hated being in this position but it was a really healthy and humbling experience. I think the final project went a lot better for me. I liked to be able to work in twos and then steadily build upwards. I found this to be a logical way to build a piece that had multiple brains’ input without causing too much strain. I think the task of creating a large work of 8 people and starting with a duet is overall a very fascinating process. Through watching my group and my peers’ groups develop to steadily larger pieces, I was able to see growth and a steady progression towards work that encompassed a complete idea.
I overall found that the process of moving groups through space does not have to be as intimidating endeavor as one may think. Simple ideas are more effective in direct relation to how many people exist in the space. Perfect unison is much more appealing with 20 people than it is with two. Therefore, the reverse is true: large groups of people are less intimidating to work on than small groups. Large groups with precision can make the most simplistic ideas mesmerizing.
I do also wish I would have had the opportunity to be an outside eye more often and exercise my own creative voice and see how that could develop in the context of large groups. However, working with others and seeing their processes was very beneficial to me as a choreographer because it opened my eyes to many other possible modes of generating movement.
Thank you to my peers for all the collaboration.
Above is our final project for the class that was originally built as two duets: one by myself and Erin Yen, and one by Cyrah Ward and Genevieve Johnson. We then collaborated to create this eight-person work.
Dancers: Laura DeAngelis, Maggy Garland, Genevieve Johnson, Gabby Malagreca, Meledi Montano, Laura Patterson, Cyrah Ward, Erin Yen
Music: In A Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington