Friday, June 4, 2010

A few of my favorite things...

Here is a list of super fun things that have happened in the past few days

1) I got a new roommate. There are now three of us in the hotel room. Alec, a boy from Taiwan and his girlfriend from Taiwan joined the team. They are great and young. There was huge drama (except not really) in which the director of the program freaked Stuart and I out because our room had a bunch of alcohol in it and was a mess and we were told that Alec freaked out. I had to be lectured three times about the state of our room and how Alec was upset, to find out that he really wasn’t and didn’t care that much…. Go fig.

2) A group of us decided to travel to the top of Paris and visit this museum dedicated entirely to Salvador Dahli. My favorite part of the entire exhibit was a series of ten paintings in which Dahli did a surrealist interpretation of Romeo and Juliet. He thought of some really powerful and great interpretation for the story, and it started me thinking for my final project about using my theatre experience and possibly doing a sort of expressionist interpretation of a classic Shakespeare play or Greek tragedy or something. Also, while in the Dahli museum, we decided as a group to do some dance improv in the middle of the space and take a piece that inspired us and work from there and explore to emotions, feelings, and moments from the observing the pieces and our exploration. The best part? This wasn’t even planned. The group of us were just like, “Hey! Let’s dance in the middle of the museum!” Like, how awesome is that that a bunch of late teens/early twenty-somethings just decided to do a modern dance improv in the middle of a museum?

3) Going to bed early is just not the style of the trip. Last night was the first night that I actually went to bed earlier than 5:30am. Earlier this year I announced that my new years resolution was to make this the Year of the Hot Mess. And I’m taking that resolution to the max. We have gone out to bars every night, I feel like I drink and dance and that really is the extent of my trip… and I don’t mind at all. Artistically, we are having some of the best conversations in the entire world. Its incredible to just be surrounded by a group of really brave, inspirational, initiative-taking people who are passionate about the fine arts. And who want to have a whole heck of a lot of fun in Paris. Haha!

4) After two nights of staying up to the wee hours of the morning and some intense drinking the night before, class was a little hard… Of course extreme movements while dehydrated and possibly a little hung over is not the bee’s knees. And punctuality just seems to float away…

5) Outside the Musee Rodin, we did a sight specific contact improv with a telephone booth as a complete ensemble. A woman afterwards actually came up to us inside the Musee Rodin and asked if we were a professional dance troupe from New York and was completely surprised when we told her we were only a college level ensemble.

6) I’ve seen a bevy of interesting dance performances including the Paris Ballet at the Opera House (beautiful, except the male ensemble was sloppy), Carylon Carlson (great opening sequence to her solo dance in which she incredibly slowly picked things up off a table to use and mysteriously those things disappeared. The lighting design was fantastic including one moment in which the dancer was spinning and the lights seemed to spin out with her.), and Meredith Monk (I hated this performance so much and I know I shouldn’t say that because Meredith Monk is such a huge contributor to modern dance and sound… but I hated it. For real real, not for play play.)

7) We had a guest artist, David Lesser, come in to work with us. David is a sound designer and artist who works with local companies to design sounds for dance performances and theatrical shows. He specializes in sort of an improv thing in which he can work with the dancers live by adding in different sounds and watching the movement and building background music on the spot that works with the movement of the dancers. We did this cool improv in which he played a sort of rain oriented music and at one point in time there was this fantastic moment in which several of us (I was one of them) we in the middle of the space slowly moving, intertwined with another, while there was a circle of people running in a circle around us causing heavy stomping and another outer circle running the opposite direction. The results were phenomenal and in that moment I really felt lifted to a higher place. We had created a perfect abstract idea of watching a thunderstorm through the window. It was fantastic.

8) We took a day trip to Versailles yesterday. The palace is extravagant and the best part was Marie Antoinette’s hamlet in the backgrounds in which she would escape to. While at Versailles and in the Queen’s Garden, we did a flocking exercises (based on how birds flocked, we stood as a group and traveled behind a leader and copied their movements, looking as if we were all moving at the same time and as we turned a new leader seamlessly would take the lead… whoever was in front of the group). The first two times we did the exercise it felt really disconnected and what my friend Victoria called it “precious” in which people were trying too hard to make it artsy and the enjoyment and powerful moments fell flat. The third time we all sort of let loose and moved throughout the garden, incorporating sassy walks, disco moves, and waving while keeping the whole piece extremely abstract. It was when we were able to make fun of ourselves that we started having a really, really good time. I mean birds of a feather flock together, but there needs to be a little humor and humility or its going to be a hell of a long, pretentious flight south… right?

9) This morning was had a master class with Eurudike De Beul, a performance artistic and voice teacher from Brussels. She helped us incorporate breathing, with singing and movements. I was the first person she personally worked with. I sang “I Believe” from Altar Boyz and she helped me work on confidence in singing in which I’m not looking to please the audience but instead having a confidence in myself and relax. She also asked me if I was an opera singer at the end of working with me, which I took as a huge compliment and a little shocking because no one has ever told me that I could have a voice for opera, but I guess she had helped me to relax so much that I just let my voice loose.

Well, those are some awesome highlights from my experience so far. Tonight we are seeing a performance called Orphee at the Theatre de Chaillott and possibly taking a trip to the Eiffel Tower after. Tomorrow I will be spending the day in a seven-hour object theatre workshop with the company Valise Turak. I’m honestly not too familiar with object theatre, but I’m excited to get to explore it!