Talk backs are different every where you go. Outside of NYC, the questions generally scratch the surface of the art and don't really challenge the choreographer. People say things like: "How long have you been dancing? How many hours a week do you rehearse? I just LOVED it." It isn't particularly useful or thought provoking. Here in New York City, talk backs turn quickly to people choreographing the dance for the choreographer with out asking! They say things about how meta the dance is, or how you infused that hint of Hitchock in the 4th min. While that sounds interesting, it really doesn't help the choreographer go back to the work and make choices to push the dance forward. It feels like an ego competition around who can make the most provocative comment!
The Lovelies were recently gifted an opportunity to facilitate a talk back. So we asked ourselves, "how can we clarify the role of the audience of a talk back?". How do we navigate the paths and offer guidance for constructive feed back? There were definitely things we want (and DON'T want) to happen.
As facilitators, we know it would be difficult negotiating who gets to speak given a short amount of time and with an ever emerging group dynamic. We wanted a talk back where people didn’t project fickle desires onto the Choreographer. It’s easy to watch a dance and give into the thoughts like “this dance is too long here” or “this song, again?” We want to know how we can reframe these thoughts into questions that lead the choreographer down a path that helps them clarify their voice, and not simply viscerally respond to regurgitated versions of the viewer’s voice! Finding a process that supports your voice as a choreographer is hard enough, we don’t want to make it harder.
We learned a lot about a newer version of what we want out of our talk back. I know I want to ask stronger questions of myself and of others, so that we can all help each other find our own unique, beautiful voices!