March 21, 2013

The HEARTBEAT of Dance.

Sometimes in your life, you get stricken by unbelievably good luck that you wonder how on earth you got so lucky.

Like today, I found out that international choreographer Joshuah Michael had followed me on twitter.
Yeah ok, ok... it might not mean much to some of you, but hey, an international choreographer actually came across my twitter and followed me. That's a pretty big thing for a dancer in a small town, if you asked me.

Also the time Cathy from Dance Moms actually replied my tweetsAnd when Sophia Lucia favourited one of my tweets.

Alright, alright... that's not my point. (Then again some part of it is...  photo 16.gif)

So anyway, one day, I received an email regarding one music composer's intent to 'work with me' regarding his new piece which was about to be turned into a full fledged concert. Thinking it was one of those spam emails, I disregarded it.

But about a week or so after, I got another email from the same person, voicing his wish to collaborate with me. I gave it some thought, and finally decided to accept.

It has been nothing short of pleasant after that. So this post will be of my interview with singer/songwriter George Woods, and his project/concert called 'Heartbeat', a full fledged Modern Ballet/Rock Concert, and which tells a love story.

I admit, I couldn't believe my luck. What are the odds of a songwriter coming across MY little blog, out of all the other dance blogs out there, and choosing MY blog (once again) to correspond to? 

But I was honoured.

One thing that I liked the most about George (and his correspondent Jon - yes, I'm talking about you. ;D ) was his sense of humour. Our conversations through email was very friendly, with little formality, which is what I'm comfortable with. Too much formality tends to build this.. wall, if you will, between me and the other person, which causes me to be more guarded.

So anyway... Heartbeat the Concert is made up of 12 dancers, who were picked by an open audition, where it was not necessary for the dancer to be affiliated with a studio. Which, personally, I think is a great opportunity to discover hidden talents, because I know that there are some great dancers out there who do not have the opportunity to be affiliated with a studio. (Think of The Mob from Step Up Revolution). However, a good few did come from OnStage Dance Company; choreographer Jennifer Kuhnberg's studio, who also happens to be choreographing for the concert.

Humourously, George had also admitted that the idea for the choreography of Heartbeat had come to him in a dream. In his own words, he had said:

"I had a dream about a woman dancing on stage in a black out theatre to the sound of the music of track 6 on the record, Chapter 3: The Moon. So I woke up at 5am and wrote it down, and that slowly grew into Heartbeat: A Modern Dance Rock Concert. "

When I asked George what he looked for in the dancers, he gave three criterias: Being able to connect with the song and portray the mood perfectly, their ability to catch up with the choreography that has been presented to them, and that they were able to really embody their character.

Ironically, George's first criteria also happens to be the main thing I look at when I watch someone dance: the way they portray the message. So needless to say, I was drawn in.

Another fact that I noticed when watching the videos was that the dancers were in different shapes and sizes. I don't mean to break the stereotype here, (heyy not-so-skinny dancer here myself *raises hand*) but I really do feel proud of the casting crew. Because I know that not all great dancers are the stereotyped 'skinny' size. ;)

Then when I asked what the main goal of this concert was; other than to get his music out to the public, his answers touched a place in my heart. Because as cliche as it sounds, his answer was the exact thing I hope to achieve whenever I perform:

"I really want to expand the concert goer experience beyond just a band on stage. Every song you hear has a story behind the words and the thing that has always inspired me about the work of my friends and other writers is knowing their story and seeing them work it out in song. So it's really driven me to "give legs to the lyrics" so to speak. I want to give the audience the stories behind the words. But moreover the thing I have really noticed about songs is that they have the ability to condense your personal experience in a way that makes it truly palatable and transferrable to the listener. Thats why a good song will comfort you when your feeling down or just be the perfect thing for the right moment. I really want to give that sense of togetherness to the audience with this show."

I remember just staring at that answer for a few seconds, transfixed. Almost in tears. And was secretly very disappointed that the auditions weren't held at Kuantan instead.  photo 26.gif  photo 40.gif Haha.

A bummer for dance fans in Malaysia though: it is not in Malaysia... YET. (*hint hint nudge nudge*  photo 7.gif  photo 7.gif ) Here's hoping either George or Jon will see this... and hopefully tour to Malaysia? Hee~ xD

If this write-up doesn't get you all excited, then you, sir, have a problem. (I kid, I kid.. ) But maybe just a little nudge to give you an idea of how awesome this all is, I have a few words that the dancers have wanted me to tell you all - my readers:

"To all of you reading would mean so much if you came out to see HEARTBEAT: A Modern Dance Rock Concert this Thursday, March 21st at 8:00pm. What an incredible collaboration of music and dance. Just came home from an unbelievable rehearsal with the band. WOW. Words can't describe. Here is the link to buy tickets. Worth every penny to come out and dance with us on this spring solstice. Celebrate love. Celebrate life." ~Jessica Muise, Ensemble Dancer

"People... This show is going to be incredible! The dancers are absolutely amazing! If you've got Thursday night free come to The Oberon and rock with us!" ~ Heather Smist, Vocalist

"George Woods and Jennifer Kuhnberg thanks to you I can't fall asleep! Just music and moves are all that are keeping me awake!!!" ~ Diana Pilarski, The Moon

"Yesterday morning I woke up for some reason at 6am and was wide awake, and couldnt fall back asleep due to heartbeat choreography" ~ Brenna Banister, Ensemble Dancer

If that STILL doesn't get you hyped up, I have below a video for you. My favourite parts are not the dance (though of course I LOVE them); but the interaction. I believe that the way you speak to people DO affect them, and I love how everyone is so friendly towards each other; like a family. Just see for yourself:

If y'all are interested, you can check George out at his YouTube channel (where there are more videos!) or his website.

As a last word, I have this to say to the dancers: You lot are probably the luckiest people in my eyes right now. Lol. I would LOVE to be doing what you're doing and be in your shoes. ;p