I visited Zhou Liang’s rehearsal yesterday just in time to see the first run through of the whole main sequence with music. It ‘worked’ — all the dancers ‘got through’ the webs of permutations of the elastic to the end of the piece. The choreographer was pleased and encouraging: ‘Now we have to work on the details…’
They then worked through specific problem moments; figuring out why a dancer got stuck at a certain place, why when four dancers were holding the elastic above their heads in a square was it not being lowered down at exactly the same time.
At the end of the rehearsal after a final runthrough Zhou said that he was really pleased and that it was coming together well. He asked if the dancers found it difficult. One of them replied that they HAD to work together as a group and he agreed, saying that it was difficult to combine everyone’s different techniques, approaches and rhythms.
It seemed to me that the elastic band provides something very concrete — a puzzle to solve together, as I noted yesterday, but also it gives the dancers nowhere to hide. There are no solos — they can never work on their own. They have to be 100% aware of what everyone else is doing at each moment. They are confronted very clearly by differences in their training (as noted by everyone in their discussion) and have to resolve these together or the piece ‘fails’ (ie they all get stuck in the elastic). There’s no ‘faking’ anything…