CAST MEMBER: Alex Soares
Our eyes were watching each other as our bodies were moving
We are in our third rehearsal for Framing Bodies: Love Me and something amazing just happened – I saw people discovering dance and falling in love with it.
It’s been an interesting process thus far. Aside from enjoying collaborating with Lydia as a regular member of Frame Dance, what attracted me to this project were the possibilities it presented by mixing a cast of dancers and “non-dancers” and the vulnerability that this afforded the project. It’d allow it to be imbedded with feeling and humanity, a warm quality that is often stripped from professional works due to the technical focus of professional dancers and the endless, intricate rehearsal process.
I choose to put the term non-dancers inside quotations because I believe we are all dancers. We all have not studied dance and chosen it as a profession, but we all have our own personal rhythm, our own idiosyncrasies, our every day movement that is all unique to us. The way we walk, the way we open a bottle, leap over a puddle, arrange the dinner table, shower, fold the laundry. It is all dance.
The opportunity to be part of this discovery process with new dancers was one that I could not pass up and one that is starting to blossom for several of them as we approach our first month of rehearsals.
Something in that regard happened in our last rehearsal that made me realize what a privilege it is to be around dance in my everyday. We were working in groups – me and two other dancers who were new to this process. Our assignment was to modify a phrase that we had created previously so that all three of us could start and finish our individual movements together, while traveling through the space and adding level changes. After demonstrating our phrase to each other and taking a few moments to add the tempo and levels, it was time to do it together. It was worth a shot, we thought. No review or making sure it all matched up. Let’s just do it. And so we did, trying to maintain eye contact and awareness of your partners, but a cold run altogether. To our surprise, we finished almost at the same time, our final movements almost completing, echoing each other.
A final pause holding that last pose and then… Wow! The three of us looked at each other. My partners smiling, with eyes wide open in excitement. “Wow! That was so cool! We’re making art,” they say. “Yes, we are!” I say as we high five each other. For that moment alone, my experience with Framing Bodies is worth it, regardless of the final product – although I am pretty excited to see what we’ll create. It’s that singular sensation of inception, of an idea brought to reality that makes your cells vibrate with excitement; for a performer, only comparable to the feeling of performing the finalized work, sometimes even grander. And to be sharing it with someone who may have not experienced dance or art in this way before is a true honor and privilege. “Let’s do it again” we said, eager to duplicate what had just happened.
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Lydia Hance is a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant Award. This grant is funded by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. Frame Dance Productions’ Framing Bodies is funded in part by the Puffin Foundation. Frame Dance Productions is a recipient of a Rice University Dance Program Space Grant.