This week I observed rehearsals
for Julia Adam’s Crossing. I am
struck by how quickly the dancers pick up the steps. Just Monday they were
learning the moves and today they dance through them quickly and easily. They
make it look simple, though I know it isn’t. Julia Adam made sure the dancers were
clear on the moves, at least in their heads, before they moved on – it takes
practicing over and over to get the moves to sink into the body.
There are several props involved
-- tape on the floor marks where they go. One of the props is a doorway on
wheels had to be made taller when vertically-gifted Daniel Russell Cooke and
Brandon Ramey were cast in the piece.
The story was inspired by 9/11,
and Julia created the work when pregnant with her daughter, so a lot of emotion
was involved. She said the piece is about imagining what life would be like
lived without someone you love and who’s a part of your everyday life.
is complex and fast, but Julia makes the learning process fun with anecdotes
and laughter. After learning the moves, the dancers listen to the music again to make
sure they know where every step goes. They “mark” the moves, and once they are
sure of the steps they practice them full out.
In one of the sections I watched
today three male dancers dance in a sort of cascade, one dong a sissonne right
after the other, like raindrops falling. In another Daniel Russell Cooke lifts
Crystal Brothers in a renversé that takes the breath away. There are images of
falling and reaching and warm, playful images of family. It’s a striking
work – and this is just the rough draft stage!