The excitement of not knowing: Elise on RLP Presents

RealLivePeople 5-9-15-406Performing in RealLivePeople Presents was an amazing experience. I really enjoyed sharing the space with such talented and fierce artists. Just watching what the other performers brought to the table was thrilling. Each piece had a strong and clear approach, whether it was about the exhaustion of explaining your move to the city or taking the spotlight from someone. I was inspired by the way the artists took their ideas and put them into movement, like Molly and Marlee smothering each other while asking the typical questions about their big move to New York or Sara removing Gina from the space so she could perform bigger than her. I was so inspired, it made me want to start investigating my ideas and create a piece of my own.

And that was just my experience from watching the other pieces! Performing in a piece with RealLivePeople was a different type of  opportunity to investigate myself as a dancer. I performed in Gina’s listening piece 3 times, a piece where the audience is invited to write down their interpretation, which we then use as an influence for the second and third time we perform it. Performing in this piece was totally out of my performance comfort zone, but I loved it. The excitement of not knowing what the intention of the 2nd and 3rd repetition would be was so fun. I have never performed in a piece that involved the audience so directly. I learned how different perspectives can influence movement, like having to scale my movement from little to big to follow the audience’s idea of the growth from childhood to adulthood.

As a dancer I get stuck in developing movement with the sole purpose of looking good versus movement that is created from a real feeling or intention, like RealLivePeople 5-9-15-204making the choice to do an inversion because that’s my way of not listening to someone rather than doing it to show everyone that I can do this cool upside down move. Performing with RealLivePeople was a fun and exciting learning experience; I am thrilled to continue to grow as a dancer.

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Meet Molly! She is ready to teleport.

As a company we spend endless hours rehearsing, giggling and sharing our lives and we wanted to share a bit of ourselves with you. Rather than posting tired bios with stats and degrees, each company member created questions for another.

Molly fish face

Photo Credit Lindsay Browning

Interviewer: David Konyk

Interviewee: Molly Jackson

1. Do you feel any connection to the Jackson 5?

I don’t know if it is the last name connection, the initials connection (MJ ❤ MJ), or the sweet dance moves connection, but yes….yes I do. One of the first CD’s that I became obsessed with as a young kid was “Kid Rock”. It featured classic hits such as “Rockin’ Robin”, “Who Put The Bop in the Bop Shoo Bop”, “Chantilly Lace”, “Red Rubber Ball” and or course “ABC” by the Jackson 5. I listened to this album until it was so worn in that it would barely play anymore. To this day, every time I hear the Jackson 5, I feel like I’m 5 years old again. ABC, easy as 123! These songs completely formed me into the young lady I grew up to be. A 60’s baby at heart.

2. Without thinking about it, what is the first song to pop into your head right now?

Well, I’m listening to music right now, so I’m not sure that I can answer this question honestly. I had a gig dancing at Sister’s Nightclub last night, so I suppose my brain is on pop song overload right now. I’m cleansing myself with some Velvet Underground radio of Spotify. It is an absolutely amazing station…you should give it a try.

3. Was the answer to question 2 by the Jackson 5?

Now that you mention it, I think I’m sensing an awkward and slightly terrible mix of “ABC” and my current song “Waving Flags” by British Sea Power, happening in my head right now. I hope the rest of these questions aren’t about the Jackson 5, because I’d like to forget about this terrible mix of songs and focus on cleansing my mind of the pop song overload called Sister’s Nightclub.

4. Do you make your bed in the morning?

I’m still sitting in bed right now, actually. I don’t plan on getting out of it anytime soon. I got home from work at 2:30 am and it’s 10:30 right now, so I see going back to sleep for a little while in my foreseeable future. However, on days when I am not still sitting in my bed, yes, I am an avid bed maker. I have trained myself (and my boyfriend, Ryan, for that matter) to not leave the house in the morning without making the bed. It makes me feel calmer. Ryan and I share a moderately small room in a house with 4 other roommates, so it can easily get cluttered and crazy with all of our stuff occupying a small area. Walking into a wild room and seeing an organized bed helps me not feel like I’m going insane.

5. Do you get nervous before going on stage, (performing)? If yes, what things do you do to reassure yourself?

It depends on what I am going on stage to perform. If I feel confident and comfortable with the movement and setting, I would say that I’m less nervous and more so focused and excited. If I am feeling a little uneasy and unsure that I’ve had enough rehearsal, I visualize what I am about to do and steady my breath. I find that if I can see the movement in my mind, then it is a good indication of knowing it in my body. If I am feeling confident about the performance, I shake out my nerves, try to get myself in an excited and positive place, and then focus on coming to a calm state of mind and relaxing my body so that my energy is focused into the ground and not up in my shoulders or in an unstable place.

6. If you had to give up, (lose), one of your five senses completely, (sight, hearing, smell, taste, feeling), which do you think you could live without?

This is a scary question. I’ve thought about it before, and it makes me so sad to think of life without all of these senses.

I am an incredibly visual person. I can’t imagine living without color, texture, visual art, being able to see human emotion and movement.

Hearing is a lifeline for me. Without it, music would cease to exist in my life. Hearing a song and allowing my body to soak it in and respond to all the layers and textures of the beats and vocals. Yes, I”d also miss hearing voices and sounds in the world….but music is what I don’t know if I could live without.

Feeling I also don’t think I could give up. I tend to get anxious if I go for a while without feeling human to human contact. Really feeling and responding to a hug, holding someone’s hand, or feeling a hand rub my head or back. And a life without getting the full enjoyment out of sex….don’t get me started.

Smell. Hmm….living in the city, sometimes I wish that I didn’t have the sense of smell. Is it true that if you lose the sense of smell, you also lose the sense of taste? I think it comes down to either smell or taste. I have always said that although I appreciate and fully enjoy and LOVE tasting a delicious milkshake or bowl of mac n’ cheese, I am a very texture based person when I’m eating or drinking something. If something tastes good but has a creepy texture, I can’t eat it. And vise versa, if something is bland or sort of foul, I’ll eat it if it feels interesting in my mouth. So, as long as I could still feel food, then maybe life wouldn’t be absolutely terrible….and maybe I wouldn’t want to have that 8th serving of cake.

7. If you could have one special ability, what would it be?

One special ability. Of course my go-to answer is the ability to fly. It would be amazing to soar in the sky and feel completely weightless. However, I think that it would still be hard to get to places long distances away….and would I be able to carry any bags with me? Questions questions. Probably not. I would like the able to teleport and have the ability to teleport anyone who I was touching. I want to travel to every inch of the world, but it’s hard to do things like that living on the salary of a barista/dancer and when your schedule is full of rehearsals, gigs and work. If I wanted to grab lunch, I could teleport to a cafe in the South of France. If I had a day off and was sick of gloomy weather, I could suddenly be lounging on a beach in Brazil with a few friends. Or if I simply missed my family, I could zip to Boston and take a yoga class with my mom and dad.

Exciting new video!

We were lucky enough to perform as part of the Arden Theatre’s First Friday series this past October and when we got the footage (shot by the talented Jorge Cousineau) we knew we had to share it. Hope you enjoy it and feel free to tell us what you think!

Rehearsal Update: The Jobs Project

By Gina Hoch-Stall, Choreographer

Rehearsing can be such a private experience. It is possible to get together at a set time and location, warm-up and make dances without ever connecting to the outside world and I don’t like it. I would rather have interaction with the people we hope will be coming to our shows and watching the work down-the-line; almost like dance company market-research.

With that in mind we’ve been having open rehearsals for our new evening-length work, “The Jobs Project” and we’ve gotten some excellent feedback–and movement ideas. We’ve also made some brand new material that I’d like to share with those of you who couldn’t stop by and see it in person.

Disclaimer: Molly and David will want me to tell you that this is REHEARSAL FOOTAGE which means that it is a work-in-progress and not all clean, polished and sparkly yet.

Meet Mason! He is night blind.

As a company we spend endless hours rehearsing, giggling and sharing our lives and we wanted to share a bit of ourselves with you. Rather than posting tired bios with stats and degrees each company member created questions for another.

Interviewer: Molly Jackson

Interviewee: Mason Rosenthal

Describe your mindset as you are backstage, preparing yourself to perform.

What I am feeling is always different. Sometimes I am very nervous, sometimes confident, sometimes tired, bored, silly, irritated, ecstatic. But the practice is always the same. Preparing to perform my focus is on increasing my awareness of whatever it is that is happening. Both inside my own body as well as externally in other performers, the audience, the environment.

Describe a moment or two when you felt sublimely happy, or in general, what
makes you experience this feeling?

That performance mindset I described earlier is what makes me happy. It is a kind of
meditative practice for me. I feel very awake. Performing/rehearsing is the #1 place I
tend to experience that feeling, but being outside can trigger it too. Also traveling at
night.

If you were an animal what would you be?

My spirit animal is a Mole. A Mole has poor vision and is quite small, but a Mole is
extraordinarily strong for its size and is sensitive to vibrations. A Mole has a kind of
6th sense that gives it psychic powers.

Write a haiku describing Mason Rosenthal:

Bumping against walls.
Why can’t he see what’s right there?
Mason is night blind.

What was your first performance experience?

I was a Heffalump in a community theater performance of “Winnie the Pooh”. I think I
wore funky pants and sunglasses.

Describe your dream career

What I am doing now just with more money coming in. Creating original performance
pieces, performing in other people’s work, and teaching performance techniques.

Tell me three quirky things about yourself

1. I’m night blind. I have a genetic condition that makes it hard for my eyes to adjust
to low light.
2. I have a tattoo on my right butt cheek.
3. I had a blue tongued skink as a pet. It’s a kind of lizard with a huge blue tongue
that looks like a snake with legs.

 

“The Third Shift” Preview

We are excited to have been offered an opportunity to perform “The Third Shift” again at the Arden Theatre as part of their First Friday Performance Series. If it was difficult for you to make it out to Kensington for our Philadlephia Fringe performance in early September we hope you can join us this Friday (details below).

To get you pumped about the piece we’ve also created a short preview from some footage shot of the warehouse version. Remember that we were dancing in and around paintings, sculptures and installations created by 25 artists and it was pretty hard to keep us all in the frame so I apologize for the few shaky camera moments.

Performance Information:

Arden Theatre: 40 N. 2nd, Old City Philadelphia

Performing on Friday October 5th at 6:30pm, 7:00pm and 7:30pm