A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Every once in a while I get calls from young photographers who want to watch me work. In most cases I turn down their requests as the majority of my photographic sessions are one-on-one and a bystander would break the bond on which I depend on for my photograph. I might take only (recently, in particular) five or six photographs but the short session is preceded by a chat session where I talk with my subject and attempt to find a common ground. Years ago when those phone calls were much more frequent I did have jobs with makeup artists and stylists so I would sometimes agree to let that young photographer have a look. But then they made me nervous. I know of myriad ways of breaking equipment because I have broken equipment in myriad ways. I found myself watching these guys hoping they would not trip on some cable and have my lights come crashing down.

But I can see the value of seeing someone with more experience work. This is why I consider myself so fortunate to get, once in a while a communication like the one that follows:

Choreography by Day Helesic/MovEnt
Performance by Day Helesic and Chengxin Wei

Please join us for one of our open rehearsals of Around the Block (Excerpt), a newly created section of MovEnt's second full length choreography, Around the Block. Feedback and discussion are welcome!

From the first blush of romance, to moments of turmoil and solitude, to a superhuman effort to revive what has been lost, a couple who has been “around the block” discover that nothing stays the same forever.

The full length Around the Block is a choreography inspired by New York City, a city rife with urban turmoil. The collision of architectural styles, the collision of cultures and the collision of people will inspire an energetic dance work that delves deep into the inner workings of an urban centre. Four characters will discover their place within this metropolis of strangers.

Open rehearsal schedule:

Monday Dec 10th: 8:30pm at The Dance Centre (Jarislowsky studio, 3rd floor)
Tuesday Dec 11th: 8:30pm at The Dance Centre (Jarislowsky studio, 3rd floor)

I attended last night sessions. I would never know why it wasn't full of people jumping for the chance to see two of Vancouver's finest dancer/choregraphers do their stuff. There were two young women, Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg and her husband Marc Stewart. Stewart was there, as the music composer, and so was lighting designer Alan Brodie. Neither of them had seen the excerpt before. This was to be the fourth performance. It was raw, and done on a sticky (dangerous) floor. The lighting was a depressing overhead that at one time would have induced on me a migraine.

And it was wonderful as I felt unique in being able to get a glimpse of a dance at its beginning with the eventual pleasure of seeing the finished product in 2009. I tried to put myself in the place of the composer and the lighting designer. What would I cook up?

And as always I found myself marveling at the intelligence and the articulate demeanor of our Vancouver dancers. In a recent photo session with National Ballet of Canada founder Grant Strate I commented on this. He told me that there were some "not so articulate" dancers out there but I have been lucky or perhaps we are lucky in Vancouver to have this intelligent and passionate bunch.

The raw excerpt had lots of genuine reality in which Helesic and Wei acted tired and angry as they explored a relationship compressed to 30 minutes and representing one street of a complete turn (4 blocks) of a New York City block. They will share the work with dancers Amber Funk Barton (seen above with husband Chris) and Shay Kuebler, holding his tap shoes.

Helesic's experiment is an interesting one. She is choreographing her impression of New York City now even though she plans to visit the city in June, 2008, for the first time. Interesting, too, was her direction to Marc Stewart, "I want no saxophones or city noises and horns."

I cannot wait but feel fortunate to see an artistic work in progress.


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