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Singing Ladders

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Guest artist, Polly Motley, has been working with the Core Performance Company since this past Wednesday, and I finally had a chance to pop into rehearsal today. From the description of her class, “Singing Body and Voice,” I guessed that there may be some vocal work thrown in with movement, and I was proven right!

“They’re having a ball, and keep surprising themselves!” Kristin, the Rehearsal Director told me, referring to the vocal ranges of the dancers. Polly has been working with the dancers individually to find their highest and lowest note, once even shaking Rose so that her voice vibrated as she hit her highest possible note. Yesterday, the dancers made high pitch noises and let these noises reflect in the joints of their body, allowing their voices to warm up their bodies. (When Kristin said this, I pictured a robot jolting and singing “beep-boop,” but the dancers were much more graceful than that.)

Although I was expecting the singing and speaking exploration, I wasn’t quite prepared for the multiple ladders spread throughout the space. They range from small, medium, to large, or as Phae said today, “That’s a big ass ladder!”

Before the class, the dancers were asked to bring the lyrics of a song they connect to, or a song from their childhood. On Wednesday, Polly had the dancers assign each step of the ladder to a section of that song, and they sang or spoke their song based on the scale they create by going up and down the ladder. This sounds complicated, and I haven’t yet figured out how it works, but I’m excited to see it unfold throughout next week.

Polly also instructs the dancers to avoid the floor once they ascend a ladder, so they have to figure out creative ways to get from one ladder to another. They play with balancing their own body weight on the ladder, and even balancing the ladder on their body parts. And along with balancing, comes falling. Yesterday, Anna fell from high off the fifth rung of the large ladder into the waiting arms of her fellow dancers. Although I’m not afraid of heights, I’m not sure I could have dared that feat.

Next week, Polly will continue working with the dancers, and will offer class to the community on Monday and Wednesday morning, 9-10:30am. Stay tuned for more gravity-defying acts

And of course, please join Core Dance this Sunday for our Fieldwork Showcase at 5pm at the Schwartz Center at Emory University. BUY TICKETS HERE


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