Today I had the opportunity to watch Tahira The Pure | Dance Theatre prepare for their upcoming show. I have loved dance as long as I can remember, and whether I am dancing or watching, I get excited to see the creative process expressed through dance. Truthfully, I love the creative process in everything, but I find that each expression of creation carries with it a uniqueness that needs to be celebrated. Even in dance, there are different expressions, different ways of telling one’s story, different ways of showing what is in one’s heart. As I was speaking to one of the dancers, the one in the photo, he summarized some of what he saw in the creative process this way: “movement is movement”. Now, he wasn’t reducing all dance to the simplicity of moving, but in the context of our conversation, he was setting dance free. Dance is not just synchronized movements and actions, but it is a free expression from each dancer – even in the synchronicity, there are subtle differences that each dancer brings to the piece that causes the dance to come to life.
I find the choreography expressed in PDT (the short name for Tahira The Pure | Dance Theatre) amazing, and not just because I am the proud father of the founder. The freedom of dance means that it doesn’t have to exist in 4/4 time, or in “feet on a stage”, or in signature moves that define a choreographer. Dance itself gets redefined, so it occures while sitting on a chair, or in warehouse rafters, or wherever movement can occur. Even stillness purposefully becomes part of the dance, like pregnant pauses in speech, or the turning point in a screenplay. The choreography takes on a life of its own, and each dancer is challenged to become one, not just with the specific movements, but with the whole – to feel the rhythms, the story, the heart of the dance, and to express that in their own way through various parts of the whole.
I have heard that many film directors, in working with the best of the best in the industry, do not give actors full scripts, but concepts. “Here’s the scene, here is where we need to get to. I want you to develop the character, and work out the scene to that end”. Much of that acting, then is not just improv, but creative, drawn from the depths of the actors themselves. It is acting, redefined. PDT in some respects does the same with its dancers. “Here is the story, the heart and heartbeat, the focus of where we are going and where we will end up. I want you to feel what this means for you, and express this through your movement.” Dance, redefined.
As PDT polishes the final spots in their performance, there is such excitement and expectation over both what will occur on stage, and what will happen in the hearts of the audience. I can only agree with this, having had a preview of what the show will be.
Tahire The Pure | Dance Theatre in conjunction with Jnd Relations present Chapters From a Fluid Thought, Saturday October 22 at Santa Clara University. Tickets are available at http://mproductioncompany.com/tahirathe_pure_dance_theatre
Tahira The Pure |Dance Theatre: http://www.facebook.com/#!/TahiraPDT
Jnd Relations: http://www.facebook.com/#!/jnd.relations
M Production Company: www.mproductioncompany.com