Choreography Intensive with Susan Rethorst
April 11-29, 2005
New York City
A two to three week workshop and/or mentored project.
"an opportunity to work on choreographic issues in depth"
This choreographic intensive explores dance that does/effects/says what cannot be done/effected/said in another form, and what this implies in the day to day work of the choreographer. How can we use the communicative power of movement to its fullest? How can we approach sequencing not as order, but as alchemy? Explore working with unknowing, perceiving and taking cues from what you are making while you are making it. Investigate ways to work with patience, humor, spontaneity and rigor, and address how to keep engaged.
Students can choose to take only the workshop, or they can elect to continue into a mentored rehearsal situation with Susan. Mentoring will occur on an individual basis and may coincide with a project begun during, before, or after the workshop, regardless of whether the artist intends to have the work performed or finished. The mentoring will consist of 4 sessions which may include visiting rehearsals, conversations, or working together in some other way that the situation indicates. Mentoring can extend over a period of several months if necessary or desired. Students who elect this option may also continue as a group, meeting for peer feedback from the common language established over the course of the workshop.
SOME THOUGHTS ON PROCESS/ Susan Rethorst
“It takes a greater rigor to not dismiss the partial poor thing, the bit of something, the not quite right yet. It is the beginning of accepting how things get made…..something will come of it, but you have to be there with it, regarding it not as a lousy substitute for how complete and wonderful you think you/it should be, but as the humble promise with its very own nature and ton of information… that it is….Like a newborn…..” -SR
“It’s the way you never knew you always wished things were.” -Student (of Rethorst’s work)
“What does it take to keep the engagement going? For, you, now in this year, not for the ideal choreographer with all her discipline in place, all her homework done - but for you, the sloucher, the no-good-nik, the too-busy, the ambivalent. The study is not to be a monk but a choreographer.” -SR, on dailiness
“Qualia: the ineffable in experience, that for which there is no substitution, for which description will always fall short, that which can only be known through experience: i.e. the smell of thyme, that twirly arm thingey movement done by that person in that place at that moment in the dance.” -SR
Susan Rethorst began modern dance studies at an early age with ErikaThimey, a contemporary of Mary Wigman. She continued dancing at Bennington College, where she met Judith Dunn, a participant in the Judson Church performances. From 1975 until 1995, Rethorst steadily created dances in New York City. Since 1995, Rethorst has been dividing her time between NYC and Europe, where she has developed post graduate courses for Dansens Hus in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Firkin Crane in Cork, Ireland. This year she has, in collaboration with three others, inaugurated a Masters in Choreography for the Amsterdam School of the Arts.
Rethorst's work has been presented in New York by The Museum of ModernArt; The Kitchen Center, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, The Downtown Whitney Museum, among others, as well as at various dance theaters, universities, and festivals throughout the U.S. Internationally her work has been produced by The Holland Festival, Spazio Zero Rome, The Kunsthalle Basel, The Aix-en-Provence Festival, Jerusalem's Room Festival, among others. Rethorst was among the first to receive a New York Dance and Performance (BESSIE) Award for Outstanding Achievement in 1985. In further recognition of her choreographic achievements, she has been the recipient of many grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1979-1989, 1992-1994), the Creative Artist's Public Service Program (1979), the New York State Council on the Arts (1979-1983), the Foundation for Contemporary Performance 1988), the New York Foundation for the Arts (1989,1993), the Ernie Pagnano Memorial Fund (1991), the Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation (1992), and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1999).
Rethorst has lectured on dance and choreographic thinking at Dartington College in England, Arizona State University, New York University and the Amsterdam School of the Arts. She is currently at work on a book tentatively titled 'A Sober Passion'.
Photos: Julieta Cervantes