I'm not really the audience for this kind of modern dance in this TED Talk by choreographer Wayne McGregor. But I really enjoyed what McGregor had to say about choreography as "shared cognition" among the choreographer, the dancers, the musicians, visual artists, designers, even scientists. This is so far beyond what most people think of choreography — a series of set movements designed by one person and implemented by others in a unidirectional and static way.
McGregor in his TED Talk demonstrates in real time various choreography approaches with two of his talented dancers:
- Choreographer demonstrating a movement and the dancers riffing on that movement
- Choreographer explaining an idea or concept and having the dancers move in response to that
- Choreographer connecting bodies and having them move in response to each other
- Choreographer creating an overall framework and having the dancers move within it
This obviously calls on a lot of the dancers involved and must be exhausting, as McGregor admits. But it also might be really magical what emerges through this shared cognition process.
My dance crew Freeplay uses similar techniques to explore movement, expression and ourselves. Much of this is due to the skillful guidance of our creative director and lead choreographer Josh Klipp.
Sometimes our experiments fails horribly, and at other times really incredible moments happen. Sometimes those moments end up in performances that we share, other times they are just a special instance in time that we share just with each other.
If you would like to see the kinds of pieces that emerge from these kinds of rich artistic collaborations, you should come to the show Freeplay is performing in — "The Ella Effect" — this Friday, September 21 at Shotwell Studios in the Mission, SF. We've got musicians, singers, blues dancers, lindy hoppers, b-boys, acrobats, and the audience all playing together in this intimate space. And all in tribute to the great Ella Fitzgerald and her ongoing impact on music and more.
Tickets are going fast, so pre-purchasing tickets is recommended.