Jennifer Muller/The Works Up Close
A Day in Rehearsal with Jennifer Muller/The Works
Jennifer Muller is celebrating 38 years (or is it 39 years) of creating dances “We’ve been 38 for at least two years,” Muller jokes at a recent open rehearsal for fans and friends in her 24th street loft in Manhattan. “We have traveled to 39 countries, 30 states, and four continents, and we are coming up on our 23rd New York Dance Season on June 20th, 21st, and 22nd, --if you forget those numbers,” she teases, “you won’t get out of the elevator.”
The company will be performing at New York Live Arts on June 20, 21, and 22nd at 7:30pm. (Obviously, I remembered the numbers and got out of the elevator) This year Muller’s group Jennifer Muller/The Works will not be taking the stage alone; instead they will share the space with Elisa Monte, and her company Elisa Monte Dance, calling the endeavor, Monte/Muller Move! Both women, who run distinctly different companies, share a deep passion for movement that is virtuosic and expressive of humanity-- and their dancers are gorgeous. In tough economic times the two choreographers decided to band together, share resources, and give us a one of a kind show filled with old favorites from their repertories and one world premiere, Grass, by Muller.
“Grass is loosely, really loosely, based on Walt Whitman and his sentiments about the world,” says Muller. “When I first though Whitman, I was worried that I was being very old fashioned, but Whitman was an advanced thinker, and quite amazing. He believed that everybody was interconnected in some way, together a living organism, and he was appalled at the separateness of people. He wanted to explore and celebrate all the different characters.”
Excerpts of Grass
The way Muller begins to choreograph is by exploring the different characters in her work. She starts with phrases of movement (like sentences)which she then expands upon, plays with and chips away at until only the meatiest and best bits of dance are saved.
The music for Grass is composed by the cellist Julia Kent, who will also play live for the performances. Muller swoons when she tells us this- live music makes such a difference to the feel of a work. It reverberates.
At the moment, how the music will sound and how the dance will be arranged is a surprise. The Dance Enthusiast has some teaser excerpts, but it is up to you to find out how Grass will grow, so to speak.
Bonus Video: Rosie Lani Fiedelman and Duane Gosa in an excerpt Hymn for Her