It all starts with a class offered to graduate composers and dancers interested in choreography: “Composers and Choreographers.” Commonly known as CHOREOCOMP, this is one of the few interdivisional classes at Juilliard; their number is limited because of the immensely busy and complicated schedules of both departments. The collaboration that starts within the class is between six choreographers and six composers - teamed up in pairs. Later on it is extended to also involve six teams of Juilliard's incredibly talented dancers and as a final step, a group of musicians for each developing piece. I have been anxiously waiting for the past week to happen, ever since I found out that I will be playing the bassoon part in one of the dances, Mirror Stage, composed by Luis Cruz, choreography by Justin Rapaport.
We have been busy with preparations ever since last Friday when we first got the completed music. The first rehearsal happened the next day in a dance studio with the entire team. After a quick look at the finished piece the musicians watched the choreography accompanied by a midi file, then played the music to the dancers and finally we had a first run of the piece together. It is always a great experience to be part of big collaborations like this, you get see the excitement of the “creators” while their brains are constantly clicking as the final touches take shape and during these final days the piece usually evolves at the speed of light.
By Thursday we were on stage for a dress rehearsal with every seat filled in the house, all costumed and lit. The entire machine is tested on these high pressure events, and this time everything worked flawlessly. Over the weekend we presented four sold out shows with demand for more. The six dances on the program were all so strikingly different, it simply amazed me how much of the personalities involved merge and show up as the final product, which keep evolving through the four runs. Playing in CHOREOCOMP was on of the best experiences I had at Juilliard so far. I would love to do it again next fall!
- d a n