There Were Fireworks – Part 5 of a dancers experience in Summer Study NYC 2014

October 28, 2014

Our third week of the Summer Intensive included Independence Day. My first one ever in the United States and as a major fireworks fan, I invited my fellow intensives to a little party on my rooftop in Bed-Stuy.

All of us were pretty exhausted after 15 days of full on training and creativity. After some nice food we enjoyed the sky sparkle and shine on Friday night. Somehow sweating together, creating movement and being pushed to your limits, lets you come very close with people you might have never connected with in the first place. This for me is another beautiful aspect of the Contemporary Summer Intensive at Steps. And I cannot believe that there is only one week left until our performance and good-bye.

But before I think about the last week, here is what happened in week three of our Contemporary Summer Intensive. We had the chance to work with Aszure Barton, the choreographic superstar from Canada in the Contemporary Master Series. Mark Dendy came in to inspire us in Creative Tools and Marijke Elisaberg warmed our hearts and bodies as a sub for Jana Hicks.

Being aware of our hands and our arms in space was Mr. Dendy’s approach in Creative Tools. He gave us tasks like carving, painting and playing with space. For each task we made up a small bit of choreography and then had to show it to the rest of the group. After concentrating on our hands and how they move in space, we focused on other body parts like the pelvis and spine as motivators for movements. The two hours with Mr. Dendy gave all of us a lot of material to incorporate into our own pieces that were becoming more and more precise and detailed.

Now to the brilliant craziness that is Aszure Barton. As soon as we walked into the Master Series on Monday we knew this would be very interesting and inspiring. The whole room was already packed with ambitious dancers ready for Ms. Barton’s unique material. She started with teaching us a complex clapping rhythm she did with the Alvin Ailey Company for her piece “Lift”. Every morning I practiced so as not to be the one person clapping into the silence of the rhythm and show the whole room that I still had not completely understood the pattern. To make our brains work even harder, Ms. Barton and her assistant, Jojo, added walking and leg movements. The specificity of her material, I have never experienced before. She explained the motivation and origin of every choreographic aspect and used metaphors to spike our imagination for diversity one can find in a single movement. She also used lots of gestural expressions in class and urged us stay clean in her detailed movements no matter how fast they were. Back in Munich I was lucky enough to see Alvin Ailey perform Bartons “Lift” and felt like I was somehow part of it for a moment, quietly clapping the rhythm along in the audience. A beautiful New York moment in my little hometown in Germany.

One small thing I was missing in the Summer Intensive schedule was class with Marijke Eliasberg. In the third week we had the pleasure to experience her positive and happy spirit for one of Jana Hicks classes. It was the perfect ‘feel-good’ class for our sore bodies and overworked brains.

Now the last week lies ahead of us: Tiger balm is almost used up, our massage balls are worn to the bone, and we’re getting excited to show what we created with Creative Tools and Performance Skills on Friday night for our friends and family. Wow, how time flies by.

-Sinah Diepold
Freelance Writer, Summer Study Student

There Were Fireworks – Part 5 of a dancers experience in Summer Study NYC 2014