One Evening Down-Three More to Go

Behind the curtain

It’s that time again!

I am about to leave for the theater to get ready for show number two.

Opening night was a success!  Everyone seemed proud of their dancing.  There were a few things everyone wanted to change about the way they performed.  That’s part of what drives us back to the stage-how can we improve?  What can we do better?  What section of movement did we forget or mess up on, how was our overall performance?  Live theater is exciting in that way.

The first piece I am in is the opening number created by previous Elle cast member Darby Wilde.  The other dancers and I were nervous about this piece-especially because it is the opening number!  Now that the first night is over with I can’t wait to dance it again.  There’s something about the movement and the intention of the piece.  It is a trio where the “main character” is looking back on her previous self in different stages of her life.  I play the youngest character-in her twenties-young and searching for something, excited about where she might be going in life.  It is a fun part to play as it wasn’t that long ago I was in this stage of life.  Who should I be?  Where should I go?  What should I become?

It’s always more nerve wrecking when close family and friends come to see you.  You want to dance your very best because you know more eyes will be on you and you alone.  Other nights you aren’t sure who the audience is really watching so there isn’t so much pressure.  Tonight most of my family is coming.  I am excited to perform my very best for them!

Season 20, show 2, here I come!

Dates: June 2 & 3, and June 9 & 10, 2017 : Friday and Saturday 8:00 pm

Location: Black Box Theater

Collin College-Spring Creek Campus

2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway

Plano, TX 75074

Admission: $15 general admission

$12 Students, Seniors, Dance Council Members

Free to Collin College Students, Faculty, Staff

*Cash or check only*

Reservations and Information: elledanceworks@att.net

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Bringing the Choreographer’s Vision to Life

Behind the curtain

by Amy Dillard

I’ve spent my life as a dancer, and the last two decades of it as a dancer for Elledanceworks.  Sometimes, like last season, I put on the hat of choreographer, but much more often it is my place to perform a dance that someone else has created.

As dancers we take this job seriously.  A choreographer has to trust her dancers completely in order to feel comfortable bringing a new, fragile work of art into the world.  Taking an idea and forming it into a dance is tricky business; you never know if something will work conceptually, visually, or even physically until you can experiment with actual bodies.  Dancers must be patient and supportive, willing to try things over and over so the chorepgrapher can see what’s possible.

If she wants to utilize complex lifts or bruising floor work, we get out our knee pads (yes, we really keep them in our dance bags!) or do a few push-ups to warm up our biceps.  That’s our job: to be the best possible vehicle for this choreographer’s vision to come to life.

It can be a tedious, long process.  That’s why, of all the arts, dance is the most expensive to produce.  WE all need to be in the studio together for hours and days and weeks to make an actual dance come into existence.  And, particularly in modern choreography, the dancers’ input and our physical abilities are integral to determining what the final dance will look like.

My background is in classical ballet.  When I used to dance the role of Sugarplum Fairy, the choreography was set in stone…all of us do the same dance in hundreds of cities every Christmas, year after year.  It’s an honor to have been a part of that tradition.  But it’s much more exciting to be a key player in the development of movement and the creation of a new dance.

When I look back on all the dances I’ve learned, witnessed, or helped to develop with Elledanceworks I’m amazed.  These talented choreographers have had so much to say, and so many different ways to say it.  It has continually challenged and engaged me as a dance.  That’s why I love doing what I do!