Donna Uchizono Workshop
I am a die-hard Donna fan, so it is no surprise that I made every effort to attend her workshop, her chat, and, oh yeah, her show. Of course I’m infatuated with “Misha” and could go on and on about him – and maybe I will after tomorrow’s chat – but at this hour, while many people are watching him on stage at the Newmark in Donna’s work, I want to talk about Donna and what’s so great about the T:BA Institute – the workshops in particular.
Yes, the T:BA Workshops are fun. Nonetheless, it takes a certain amount of courage to participate in them. Imagine what it’s like being on stage. In the workshop setting, you can get a taste of what it’s like to be the “featured artist”, to be vulnerable, to take a chance, to “put yourself out there”. I’m always surprised by how insecure we all are – the Donnas, the Mishas, you and me. And yet, we go to class, we take the workshops, we create the work and we get on stage. Or we admire and support those who do.
I admire the likes of performers Levi Gonzales, Carla Rudiger and Rebecca Serrell. It isn’t easy to be a medium, to do your best to translate another artist’s vision into movement on your body. Add to that challenge working with other artists, each with his or her own insecurities, strengths and personality.
In Donna’s workshop, we get a taste of what it’s like to be Levi and Rebecca, learning snippets of their roles in State of Heads (which I’ve seen since it’s 1999 premiere and can’t wait to see again tomorrow night). We may not be living in New York City, working one or many “day” jobs to pay our exorbitant rent in order to rehearse at odd hours for free or maybe $10-$15/hour (if we’re really lucky), but we each bring our own insecurities, strengths and personalities to the process.
Donna admits to being swayed by Levi and Rebecca to teach a partnering phrase for the workshop. Levi and Rebecca do the teaching – and Donna generously offers insights about the meaning of State of Heads and Leap to Tall. We can see how the three interact. But it is our own insecurities, strengths and personalities that are laid bare when we start to work with our partners on the phrase from State of Heads. This is hard! Donna and Levi both acknowledge the “blind date” nature of the exercise and encourage us to just give it a go and have fun. It’s a workshop. Relax.
It is fun. We want more.
As long as there are Levis, Rebeccas, Carlas, Hristoulas, Jodis and Mishas – excellent, generous and brave dance artists willing to expose their insecurities, strengths and personalities in order to communicate a brilliant choreographer’s vision to an audience, we’ll be alright.
Be brave.
Posted by Nancy Ellis