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A Day in the Life of Dance with RoseAnne Spradlin

A Day in the Life of Dance with RoseAnne Spradlin
Garnet Henderson/Follow @garnethenderson on Twitter

By Garnet Henderson/Follow @garnethenderson on Twitter
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Published on October 6, 2014
Photo: Ryutaro Mishima

As she Prepares for "g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title)"

New York Live Arts

219 W 19th St, Chelsea

October 8-11, 7:30pm

For tickets, go to New York Live Arts.


Choreography by RoseAnne Spradlin

Performed by Natalie Green, Rebecca Warner, devynn emory, Athena Malloy, Saúl Ulerio, Asli Bulbul

Visuals by Glen Fogel

Music composed by Jeffrey Young

Music performed by Jeffrey Young, Hannah Levinson, Mara Mayer, Lisa Dowling

Costumes by Walter Dundervill

Lighting by Stan Pressner / Ben Hagen

In her new work g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title), RoseAnne Spradlin says the dancers are the most important piece of the puzzle. g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title) was created in short bursts over several years, and because of that, Spradlin had to contend with several cast changes. Now, she says, she is very grateful for her cast and credits them with significant contributions to the work.

"I think it takes a certain kind of person to be interested in working the way that I want to work, and I ask a lot of the dancers. What's most important is that they have a desire and an appetite to delve into things. I use a lot of repetition, and I use a lot of variations on vocabularies that are a little off the map. They have to be comfortable with repetition and be able to hold a lot of variations and patterns in their minds. A certain personality type likes that challenge, so I feel grateful that I've ended up with people who will take that on."

Spradlin's use of repetition and pattern will be familiar to those acquainted with her work, but g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title), also includes a number of unique influences. The work, which shows at New York Live Arts from October 8 through 11, began with very specific ideas about violence against women and class struggle. Over time, Spradlin explains, she moved away from this literal subject matter and instead focused on a theme that had risen to the surface: vulnerability.

RoseAnne Spradlin's g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title). Photo: Ryutaro Mishima
RoseAnne Spradlin. Photo: Roger Gaess.

"I worked formally with that idea," said Spradlin, "making up these shadow movements that show vulnerability right when the dancers are also trying to dance something that’s very physical. It's a blending approach I’ve tried to take, blending really small, personalized gestures with larger, full-bodied movement. It’s like seeing these two threads of consciousness interwoven."

The movement vocabulary also draws on Spradlin's studies in Body-Mind Centering technique. She asked performers to experiment with initiating movement from the many layers of ligaments in the spine, and also the ligaments of the wrists and ankles. Spradlin says that Body-Mind Centering has also influenced her approach to performance in a broader sense.

"There is this issue of the boundary between the performers and the audience. How can the performers really connect with the audience? How can the audience really connect with the dancers and not just sit back and judge them? One way we've worked with that is to find a way to perform using the idea of cellular resonance in the whole body. When a performer highly resonates that state, it crosses that divide and the audience can enter that state as well, if they want," she said.

RoseAnne Spradlin's g-h-o-s-t c-r-o-w-n (working title). Photo: Ryutaro Mishima

The work also features a new score composed by Jeffrey Young, which will be played live by a quartet including a violin, viola, bass, and bass clarinet. The score and the dance were developed in tandem, and therefore share many structural features.

"I’m always trying to find ways to create more spatial tension in what I’m doing, or more psychological tension. I’ve found that when you place tension on something, in the best of worlds, that makes it break open and then something new comes out," said as Spradlin.

Though g-h-o-s-t-c-r-o-w-n (working title) draws from a rich palette, Spradlin says no work of hers is ever fully known, even to her, until she sees it in front of an audience.

"I like working in the dark," she said. "I never decided on that method consciously, but it evolved over time. I follow my inner impulses."

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