Talk backs are different every where you go. In other places that aren't NYC, the questions just scratch the surface of the art and don't really challenge the choreographer to get better. People say things like: "How long have you been dancing? How many hours a week do you rehearse? I just LOVED it." But in New York City, people choreograph the dance for the choreographer with out asking! They say things about how meta the dance is and 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 can end up as 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 that the audience plays after seeing the work and then switches to needing to comment or question a choreographer they've never met. There were definitely things we wanted and didn’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 their 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 wanted to know how we can reframe those thoughts into questions that lead the choreographer down a path that helps them clarify their voice and not just a regurgitated version of the viewer’s voice! Finding a process that supports your voice as a choreographer is hard enough, we don’t need to make it harder. And then each choreographer is in a different stage, maybe wanting to hear different things or not even knowing what they want from the experience.
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!