Mad Rush

I have been working on a dance to Philip Glass’s Mad Rush. The above is a video with an eight minute version of the piece.

Good choreography directs the eye on the stage. It tells you what to look at. This is a subtle art, attempted by many, and grossly abused by a similar number. If you think about it: the eye catches and follows lines of motion. So a strong motion on one side of a stage toward another draws the eye toward that energy line. If you look for it you’ll notice in good choreography how even when there are multiple things on the stage, it seems certain that most people are seeing some part of the whole that the choreographer is illuminating in that whole. 

Moments in a dance can also be highlighted. Over the time of a piece, I’ve noticed there are points where choreographers seem to accept a rhythm. Even if that rhythm is quick and energetic, this lulls (and bores) the audience. That boredom is necessary – we can’t stay on the edge of our seats forever. Good choreographers direct the eye in time and space to illuminate whatever the piece is about.

This piece – Mad Rush – is a ten minute solo. I know that’s not so long, but it’s not so short. I am working in crafting the piece with allowing the boring bits. Knowing that they set up the other parts. 
I don’t know if it’s working, or will work, but I’m enjoying that space. Not feeling like I have to make each moment of a dance be a gong show moment. (if this isn’t exciting they won’t watch the rest.) 

Performed art occurs in space and time, and I’m really enjoying getting back to the craft of that whole. For too long I was focused on the motions of a moment. 

Author: Robert Bettmann

Founder of Day Eight, and the DC Arts Writing Fellowship.