The Orphee Experience (Seattle Opera)

10 03 2012

As the saying goes; “You are only as good as your last performance.” This is just about relevant upon today which marks the final performance of Seattle Opera’s Orphee & Eurydice. I’m a little sad because during this production it captured things within me in regards to my own experience of love being lost. The beauty of being human is the fact that we are able to experience different emotions at any given time. Man’s inventions and devices may try and mock these emotions but they can never be a replacement of the real thing.
During the month of February I had to challenge myself not only as an Artist but as a human being as well. Sometimes in our careers we get so caught up in the work that we forget the simple things that make us who and what we are. Each night I thought of that particular day to value each experience as importance. I would ask myself was each task completed relevant into making my future days better. This meant taking action in completing tasks that I would have skipped or forgot about. The daily rehearsal process of Orphee allowed me to think differently. I was also doing a lot of listening. It’s actually the score of the Opera that tells the story. As the dancer we are displaying the physicality of the story in space and time. Each scene carried a different emotion that had to be seen. This was interesting because moments of acting had to come into play. Portrayal of many emotions can difficult if it’s not our nature. As an artist we begin to explore these concepts more as the process builds. Its even until this last performance night that I find something new during the run. I’m very proud of myself to have completed my first Opera as a dancer. In all, I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Seattle Opera and their stellar staff.
I enjoyed rehearsal moments because each session felt like being on set for a movie. As we pieced together phrases, we investigated how the movement would work on a raked stage and a mound. It was therefore a challenge for our bodies to adapt to the environment. It was great working with the other dancers. Everyone was very focused on their objective to make it work. The bonding moments after interaction was the most significant for myself. Will I miss it? Of course I will! I’m now more curious about the Opera and how dance is used within them. Everything about this production was very rewarding. I met some wonderful Artists and Singers. I will also miss the Mccaw Hall in which the theater is so beautiful. Certain nights I caught myself thinking this is the very stage that the PNB stars grace during their season. Oh how it gave me encouragement to know that I was getting closer. The road ahead still has challenges but I face them like we all must do. This is not the time to be afraid of who we are and what we CAN be.
Earlier this week I gained inspiration from a class that I teach once a week here in Seattle. It was rare since I’m usually punctual when it comes to teaching or taking any class. I was taking the bus to Madrona Park and it happen to be rush hour traffic downtown. I had a feeling that it would be a while due to the nature of transit. I would arrive about 5 minutes after 6pm. I called to inform the studio. Once there I was told the attendance sheet had already been taken upstairs into the class. It was around 6:10pm that I walked into the studio to find the students facing the mirror starting the warm up together-no music, just counting and watching each other. I was shocked and very impressed. The sight confirmed to me that those who were present wanted to be there and ready for instruction. I thanked them for starting the class and apologized for my being late. I then continued the class with them providing challenging exercises to prepare them for what was to come. My energy and approach was stern yet subtle. I had to gather their intent to enhance their development. It amazes me the progressions that some students make when they understand consistency. I can at times see students correct themselves during an exercise that they’ve done before. They improve their posture, alignment and focus. It tells me they are taking in the information that was provided earlier in the training. Those little things are good to see because you begin to see the artistry within the student. After such a tough wee it really inspired me know that I’m doing this for a reason. Even when it feels routine, how is it that I make if different and unique. Just that small action of the students being available was the sight I needed to see.
Artist, Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher, Actor, its so many titles yet working as one is never quite the real fun. At this stage in my life I’m whichever the experience allows me to be. This is why being human is so great. Our thoughts change who we are. Thoughts become ideas that should manifest before our very eyes.


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