Penelope Freeh, the recipient of a 2010 McKnight Artist
Fellowship for Choreographers, will be in residence at MANCC (a national choreographic center in
Tallahassee, FL) May 6-19, 2012 to develop her new work Slippery Fish. This residency is supported in part by
the McKnight Artist Fellowship program. Slippery Fish will premiere at the
Southern Theater in Minneapolis, September 28-30, 2012.
Day 1 at MANCC:
Is it that I need to write right now? My brain is ticking even as my body is exhausted from a day of all-things-new. It was fruitful; it was fun. It was NEW. Patrick and I are inventing a way of working together, starting with doing barre. We generated movement material and began piecing together a duet. We also got ideas for two solos, or partially duets depending on how you look at them. Ideas to be excavated tomorrow or the next...we might need tap shoes...
Childhood things are coming up, remembering architecture and all the spaces where we've ever made dances. Patrick geniously linked two memories, tying together a flagstone foyer and a sandy beach. I saw the decades passing as he took those lurching steps, marking time and bridging space to arrive at the solo that launched a new epoch in his career.
For my part I contributed naïve tap steps, "Grandma hands" (you'll see what I mean), and a barn decomposing. I'm not sure about genius, but there were moments when I felt receptive, when I heard or saw (opened to perhaps) things unexpected. The best part was that I could've kept going. I suppose I still am, given that I'm writing now and it's late.
Late again but I'm faked out 'cause my laptop still reads Central Standard Time. I think I'm even more exhausted than yesterday. Feet are certainly more sore since today I was barefoot. I get splits in, like, 30 seconds flat.
Another fruitful time. The morning was spent reviewing and adding material to the duet we started yesterday. We expanded existing material: grounding it, jumping it, adding dimensions that were not there before.
Lunchtime, so far at least, is spent walking to Atomic Coffee. Today was Mexican Mocha, hot with degrees and cayenne pepper.
We had a fascinating conversation with Patty Phillips (Florida State University dance faculty co-chair) about the murkiness of setting other people's work. It's something I've been thinking about lately, as a practice and as it bumps up against making my own work.
We actually returned to the studio (an amazing space with exposed wood, a grand piano and cross-ventilation) and were productive, crafting close and far dancing based on the word "fillet". First he fillets me then I him. Each one is a sort of cracking-open turn but with pauses. One more quick suspend and we relay-lurch to the corner. I break his fall on my way to stepping past into a doubled-over groove. Back again to contact his chest w/ a signature gesture. I push it through and pull it out his breaking back.
"Fish" thus finds its way into Slippery Fish. Marlene already made an appearance, a constant presence in fact as I imagine a top hat and tails, a quirky mermaid.
*Photo of Penny Freeh and Patrick Corbin
Be sure to also read Penny's first blog post, "Slippery Fish."