There is something exhilarating about putting oneself into unknown territory.
I seem to have a tendency to do so. It may be some kind of safety valve mechanism (if it is not my territory, I can’t fail) or an addiction to the high caused by jumping into the void. I am not too sure even after all these years.
Having the opportunity to work with a vibrant young choreographer is not something that we, dancers of a certain age, can experience very often and it is certainly something that takes us to a different place, an ‘unknown space’. It is jumping into the beautiful, but unnerving, experience of dancing amongst different generations.
Arielle Smith is young, vibrant, talented, fun. She emanates enthusiasm and positiveness. She is easy to work with. After a session with her I am energised, I am happy, I feel my youth! (or sometimes the lack of it)
Kind of a paradisiacal situation to be in.
She goes fast. I struggle, but I love it.
There is that sense of vertigo which is so irresistible. The sense of young and old. There is the fun young energy of Cuban music and the fairy tale world of silent movies.
The movements are sharp and fast, there are twists, there are turns. A member of the group said
“I can remember the routine, but I can’t do it fast.” Arielle’s reply was: “Yes, you can do it. Of course you can, I’ve seen you doing it.”
Such positive endorsement is priceless. For the first time ever this strange and unexpected thought comes to haunt me, this irrational urge to work on a piece in total unison and as fast as it can be done. I cannot really explain why, but it overpowers me and I am on my way to extend this ‘call’ to my fellow EncoreEast dancers. That this suggestion comes from me of all people will, I am sure, prove to be highly amusing, but maybe that’s what I am after.
A piece where we all get to do what we think we can’t.
By Diego Robirosa