30 October, 2012

Peek at a Performance

by Lauren Setum, Allied Member ASID
If I weren't an interior designer, I'd be a ballerina. Because it's just that simple, right?! Nevertheless, I stand by my statement that falsely implies that quadruple turns and grand jetes are super easy. While I have the utmost respect for the sultry style of Bob Fosse and rhythms of tap greats like Savion Glover, classical ballet holds a special place in my heart. It is simultaneously graceful and powerful, a combination that in my mind, is not always easy to achieve.  Northrop opened their dance season with New York City Ballet last week, and the stunning performance only reinforced my love for the art.

NYC Ballet promotional image. Piece of cake, right?

The performance repertoire featured routines by various choreographers, including, of course, George Balanchine. See a glimpse of last week's performance in this  video.

Of particular interest to me was the use of 'rounds' by the choreographers...a 'Row, Row, Row your Boat' effect, if you will. The video shows a bit of this, with one group of dancers starting a sequence, and then another group starting the same sequence just a few counts after. What struck me was how visually impactful this was for the audience, while at the same time (possibly?) somewhat challenging for the dancers. To focus on perfecting your own movements and timing while being aware of other bodies around you is no small feat. It requires listening to the same music in a different manner...focusing on details and the big picture at the same time.

Ironically, that sounds a lot like the design process. Maybe I should make my opening statement a bit more complex...on the other hand, if design and dance didn't look easy, we might not be as drawn to them. That's the art of it.