This week we’re introducing Caitlin McCormack, a Dance Canvas choreographer from our 2014 Performance Series. Caitlin, a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in Dance Performance and Choreography, has been breaking out in the dance world with her choreographic gift. Her work has been featured at the American College Dance Festival gala and she has choreographed professionally for Dance Augusta and Blabbermouth ATL. We interviewed Caitlin to find out more about her most recent work, Glimpse.
Let’s see what this rising choreographer had to say:
What does Glimpse mean to you?
Glimpse means a lot to me. It was my first piece as an Atlanta artist. When I was accepted as a Dance Canvas choreographer, I knew what an amazing opportunity I had been given, and I knew I needed to take advantage of that gift. So, Glimpse was my debut in the Atlanta dance scene.
Photo by Richard Calmes
How was your creation process?
I love the word process! I am not one to step into a studio and teach choreography. My rehearsals have a workshop feel to them. I might have one phrase of choreography prepared on the first day of rehearsal, with that we break it down in every way possible. I’ll have my dancers use different choreographic manipulations on the phrase to create a bunch of different phrases, for example, only use the right side of your body while doing the phrase, put the legs of the phrase into your arms, put the phrase on the floor, or retrograde the phrase. From that, I create sequences and arrange them the way I want. This format allows me to never “run out” of choreography. Plus, it creates an active environment for my dancers- they are all so smart. I like to be in conversation with my dancers constantly- if something doesn’t feel right in their body I will change it. The great thing about Glimpse is that I wanted it to look piece-y. The idea of the piece is that you, the viewer, are walking down a hallway and pass a window looking into a room; you catch a glimpse of someone, an emotion, a relationship… whatever it is… then you keep walking. Glimpse is five short snippets, windows, or glances into different experiences.
Photo by Richard Calmes
Is it different to restage the work on different dancers?
The luxury of working with dancers that are also your best friends is absolutely irreplaceable. When I first choreographed Glimpse, my cast was made up of four of my college best friends, plus Jaspin, the male dancer. I had worked with Jackie, Paige, Taylor, and Katie multiple times before and they are very familiar with my process and movement quality. Jackie and Paige both live out of town, so I taught them choreography through video and sent them different manipulations. Even though that may seem a little scary, I trusted the process because I trusted my friends with my work. Now that I restaged it, I had to replace Jackie and Paige with two Atlanta dancers. It was important for me to find dancers that had similar movement quality to Jackie and Paige. Erin and Indya have really stepped up to the plate and taken to the choreography beautifully. They have adapted so well and I have really enjoyed watching how their bodies mold to the choreography. Meeting them has also expanded my Atlanta base.
What is your biggest fear when it comes to choreography?
I think my biggest fear when choreographing is giving the audience the impression or expectation that they need to understand it, my piece. It’s okay to not fully grasp what it is. Sometimes I don’t know what it is. If you can take what I have put on stage, watch how my dancers are moving through space, observe the emotions you get from the experience, and form an opinion about it… that’s good enough for me.
Thanks, Caitlin McCormack and thank you DC Supporters for reading!
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