Rosemary Lee – Working with Joviar Longo on a new solo CAPER? – working title
This solo was commissioned by Jovair Longo and created during
Rosemary Lees Fellowship from ACE.
So we enter the empty room. I see the void of space and try to match
it inside-full of potential rather than full of fear maybe? Joviar moves
with ease and comfort, with an understated clarity, hard for me to grasp
and chew or mould. I try to stay like the room and wait
I am like
an excited kitten trying to bat the butterfly. I try not to blunder, stay
measured, trust and wait but be alert, dont miss a thing.
Ah- I see a thread through the body there, try tracking where your
pelvis goes as you move; try another part of the body and dont tell
me which I always know which he has picked because his body is like reading
a Janet and John book. I am going to have to find new ways to get at layers
of other stories.
Lets draw a pathway for different body parts to follow; start with one
and add others on top to complicate the movement—do I want to get out
of the comfort zone or should I just gently ruffle the edges of that place?
It would be easy to snuggle up with this understated comfortable warm
movement; harder to kick off the comforter and shiver. Is there a point
in that? I am no hair shirter.
We have found a moment: moment one, the sternum spirals up, the pelvis
drops directly down and the hand goes up. He looks like he is measuring
the climate of the air, catching an impulse or thought, I can see the
thought-intention in action. I get excited but try not to get high, lose
my grip, bat the butterfly. Feet on the ground and dream on. Its only
one tiny second of movement but it feels like the key to the dance. But
wait, maybe Im way ahead of myself here and I will fall down tomorrow
and hit the tarmac or face another reality. I will chide myself for ever
thinking this puny moment will ever amount to anything. Who do I think
I am, what do I know? I resolve not to fall.
We have two moments now, punctuating a pondering walk. The shake of the
sternum is a thought shaking him, the grasp of a hand is like the thought
caught, the ricochet in the pelvis is like a thought marked.
I grasp another idea as he warms up, Jovair seems comfortable in the zone
of the floor up to 3 feet, I ask him to explore this place with arms and
legs parallel, again he is clear and simple. Just like those thought moments,
little understated eureka moments 1 and 2; I try him dropping to the ground
suddenly as if he cannot resist the impulse to be down there. This doesnt
read, I drop the idea.
Instead I have him walking slowly to the beat of one of the most beautiful
of the movements of the sonata in E major (Bach harpsichord and violin
sonatas—Glenn Gould and Jamie Larendo) and every so often he drops suddenly
and covers over the track he has walked, scurrying, searching like a possessive
squirrel or mad archeologist desperate to find his history. As I write
this I feel the shadows of Graeme and Sues work—am I stealing?
(Graeme Millers Language Lesson, Sue MacLennans Time Lapses both solos made for me as part of One to One) It could be beautiful once
the material on the floor is shaped and intricately choreographed with
arcs and ornament- very musically structured, double, triple time to the
pulse of the adagio. Oh the heart strings go for me when I see it- just
moments but the seed is there. I clutch a simple structure again, I have
the dance so soon, am I a fraud? A beginner choreographer who cannot face
a structure of more complexity than this?
Caper – we like that word, I try to explain what a caper is in the movement
sense and he tells of the big fat ones at the Spanish deli at Borough
Market. We talk of food, we talk of his history in dentistry, I try not
to laugh, I always find the thought of being a dentist funny for some
reason. I imagine him working with elderly patients each evening and dancing
during the day. I cannot imagine how dentistry can creep into this dance.
He tells me of his other life teaching Brazilian folk dance and we talk
of bottoms shaking after a jolt of the pelvis. I cant get bottoms
out of my mind then after seeing moment two from the back.
I take my favourite fallow furrow pattern on the floor that I have never
used. I ask Jovair to makes simple journeys very formally like a court
dance up and down the space in time to the music. He walks awkwardly trying
to pull the music inside his frame but unable to. It ruffles the edge,
laps at his feet as he carefully tries to walk in step – double time, minum
time, simple patterns measured to the Bach. Beautiful, light and charming
but could it be so once he does absorb this music? How can I help keep
him just there on the edge? Jovair says he is not funny but his timing
and ease are perfect for that understated delicious lightness that is
not in your face but just
ruffles the edge. Maybe I am onto something
here with this motive that is appearing
dont get ahead of
yourself, or should I go leaping off to make connections willy nilly through
everything I have done so far and feel a smugness as I wrap it all up
with some rational framework. I could hit the tarmac again or cling onto
that framework stubbornly throughout the process. Stay like the room or
grab the idea for dear life.
This was written after the first one or two rehearsals with Jovair.
We then had quite a long gap before resuming the process and making Studies
1,2,3 and 4 performed at Jackson Lane October 2001 as part of an evening
of Jovair Longos and Rick Nodines work. The title Caper disappeared
due to the affect the horrors of Sept 11th 2001 had on us both when we
resumed making the work that very week. Most of the structures I discovered
above did indeed form the frameworks for the studies which for the most
part where improvisations within very tight structural frameworks which
were spatial, rhythmic and qualitative.