So it's the end of the first week and I'm still standing. What's more, I've apparently learned an hour's worth of choreography.
At the end of yesterday's session Barbara divided us into ten couples and, together with Jay, taught us the duet that will conclude the piece. I was paired with Molly McDermott, a beautiful professional dancer who has appeared in previous Kokoro pieces (most recently an excerpt from The Book of Love at VIDF), and who will also be performing again in the latest version of Deanna Peters'/Mutable Subject's "New Raw" as part of the upcoming Dancing on the Edge Festival. Dancing with Molly made me a bit nervous at first, as I was supremely conscious of the mistakes I was making. However, she was terrifically accommodating and made things even easier by letting me trust her dancer's body and intellect to solve various problems involving weight and support. I have to climb on top of her second position plie at a certain point, and then later I have to carry her upon my back. In the latter case I had to learn to bend lower to the ground without tilting over, while also drawing her right arm over my shoulder as far as her armpit. This meant that she could essentially just slip onto my back and all I needed to do was stand up and then walk upstage, into what was the imaginary sea.
Barbara has talked about the need for us, over the course of this process, to become an ensemble. Obviously there's still work to do, but after the first 25 hours I feel like we're getting there. Notwithstanding the weekend of epsom salt baths ahead of me, I truly am looking forward to more.