Monday, April 27, 2015

Choreographing life

Giuseppe Bausilio singing at the American-Swiss Ballet
company in NY. Joshua Chang on piano and Michael Portantiere
helping out with digital page turning.

April 27, 2015
Day 362

I'm not a dancer, and no one would ever...EVER...think I was, but I do still have great admiration for all kinds of dance, and the dancers who do the things they do.

Last night, I attended a choreographers' series at the American-Swiss Ballet in New York.  Twelve beautiful, young dancers expertly performed the choreographed dances of seven different choreographers, some of whom were the dancers themselves.   

I wrote about Giuseppe Bausilio, the featured performer in the mix, a few months ago in my blog post about Newsies.  He's 17 years old and a phenomenon by any measure.  If you haven't done so already, check out his bio and résumé on his website to see what I mean!  As always, it was a treat last night to watch Giuseppe dance, and at the reception afterwards, he sang and played his guitar for us all too.  I have to say, I was both impressed and quite touched when he brought up this blog as we spoke.  I'm always happy to have it recognized, and especially so coming from someone like him!

Last night was all about choreography, and choreography is to dance what a script is to an actor, and to some degree what a book is for an author.  If you grabbed one of my books and started reading from an index card you'd secretly stashed inside, with words written by someone else, even just a few, I'd know it right away.  Those are NOT my words!, I'd shout.  How dare you change my story!

Okay, so I probably wouldn't shout, but you better believe I'd know something was wrong.  The same is true for choreography.  If a dancer takes the wrong steps or even looks off in the wrong direction at the wrong moment, the choreographer will know, and he or she will not be happy.

I do this throughout my life, too.  I give myself a script, and I stick to it.  When I don't stick to it?  I chastise myself, I scold and berate myself for not following the pre-planned schedule for my day, week, or life.  I shake my head in disgust as I see the scale still reads x when I want it to read something closer to b, or when my book sales don't rise to even half of what I think they should be.  Whether scales or sales though, I'm forever adapting.

Choreography is about adapting just as much as it is about creating.  If you have a piece that your dancers just won't be able to do, or are really struggling to achieve, you're going to adapt it a bit.  Just do this, you'll tell your dancer, or remember to keep your chin up and your head back, or feel yourself as one with the music as it plays

When I choreograph my life, I hit these kinds of stumbling blocks with my own mind, body, or finances.  And we're all doing this all the time.  We're managing our time and resources, abilities and struggles every single day, and it's a dance as much as it is a life.  It's a movement through this world that's graceful one moment and a train wreck the next.  We're going to blossom and droop in many different ways throughout our lives, and the choreography we plan will have to be reinvented and re-imagined on the spot.  It's the way it is.  It's the way dance is, and the dance of life as well. 

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