This semester we had the excellent opportunity of having a guest artist and instructor this semester. André Zachery of Renegade Performance Group blessed us with choreography, classroom instruction, and lectures. I was blessed enough to be able to not only learn from him as my technique instructor, but also work alongside him in his creative process, and (bonus) takes pictures for his performance at Wexner Center for the Arts.
When I found out that Andre Zachery was coming to OSU, I just wanted to dance and work with him. I immediately signed up for his course and auditioned for his pieces. Also in conversations before the audition, I mentioned that if he was looking for an assistant for his project that he can utilize me. Knowing my body and it’s movement vocabulary and limitations (injuries), I felt that I wasn’t the right person to dance in his piece. But that didn’t stop me from auditioning. I thought that if I did this, he was able to see me move, which would then allow me to assist in the process of his making as a (Technical) Rehearsal Director
As the Technical Rehearsal Director, I was responsible for the technical rehearsal space for the work. I archived the material I collected into BuckeyeBox and shared it with collaborators and dancers. I recorded routines and voice-overs, rehearsal runs, and conversations. I was in rehearsal 3 times a week sitting, writing, and collecting ideas that the choreographers, dancers, and collaborators mentioned and keeping track of the creativity in the room. I also work with collaborators in the Motion Capture Lab (MOLA) on the run of the show, technology, and visuals. We kept up with each other via emails and weekly (or sometimes daily) meetings.
I had the opportunity to lead rehearsal in the absence of the choreographer. In this, I set up activities for dance to connect to one another deeper and also troubleshoot ideas they had for the piece. I used the action “Yes Let’s.” In this activity any suggestion the dancers expressed we achieved it. After this, we had a discussion about the data we collected. In this activity, we ended up using many of the ideas the dancers had in the piece.
As Project Manager, I was responsible for organizing the schedule for the dancers, replaying messages for meetings between choreographer and dancers. I created a document to keep dancers in the loop of their rehearsal schedule. The only difficulty I experienced was the rapid change in rehearsals and shows and updating it for danders to see. It was more accessible to email and text them.
What I Learned
The creative process of this piece was a major take away for me. Having a clear vision and being open to collaboration with people who genuinely care about you and your work. When I create, I’m still in the phase of everything I create is sacred. I don’t want people to come in and change things. With Andre, he wanted people to have themselves and see themselves in the work. He gave then autonomy on how they were presented with technology, space, lights, sounds, and more. He also had a transparent shell for the project and its meaning. In the midst of turmoil with dancers and vulnerability, Andre was very calm and understanding and was very knowledgeable on how to guide them through the process.
This experience I will truly cherish. Being around an artist who works is embedded and manifested in Afro-Diaspora with specificity in Afro-Futurism I was able to see myself being apart and creating work in this vein. Also, the many conversations about life, the field, grants, fellowships, what’s next, etc., will indeed be cherished. As I merge into my final semester of graduate school, I feel I have the motivation to actually do this for a living.
Untamed Space @ Wexner Center for the Arts
I had the opportunity to photograph Renegade Performance Group final Performance at Wexner Center for the Arts. This came about by me asking if I can. I’m currently volunteering my services to photograph performances so I can gain experience photographing dances. Below are a couple pictures I’ve taken (unedited).