a dance with three steps

An exploration of the process of creating dance

Remy Charlip

1 Comment

Welcome! This is a bloggity blog blog about the sources of inspiration that I deem necessary in the creation of a new dance. This piece aims to be around 3-5 minutes long. But first, I’m going to need to conceptualize the work drawing from inspiration found in history, emotions, objects, imagery, etc. Basically anything that draws my eye could be used to create a dance. In order to achieve this mystical dance, one will need to create movement, analyze it, then edit it. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again until I run out of time and need to present it. So, without further ado, welcome to THE process (or just MY process as every choreographer is different… THE sounds much more dramatic though…)

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Where to even start?! From the beginning I guess… but maybe somewhere around the middle and I’ll work my way around to everything. Here is a nice picture for me to get the ball rolling with:

dance with three steps Remy Charlip

First you may exclaim: Why, this is the name of this lovely blog I am currently reading!

Second you may ponder: Who is this lovely Remy Charlip?!

You probably don’t have a third, so I’ll just bore you with the history of myself, Evelyn, and this lovely photo (which, unbeknown to you, is actually a card that my sweet mommy and daddy wrote me to commemorate my first professional performance at the ripe old age of 7 in the 1999 premiere of “Moon” at the Joyce in Chelsea, New York.)

Now! Onto the good stuff. Yes, this blog name has been borrowed from a genius named Remy Charlip. No copyright infringement intended; I just have a special emotional connection to this card, phrase and idea. Come on, a dance with three steps?! One would assume the three steps were a turn, jump or roll. Instead, this faceless dancer is performing a plethora of movements on three steps! SO DAMN CLEVER. Thank you very much Remy Charlip. Wait wait wait. Do you know who Remy Charlip is? Shall we address question number 2? Because I certainly think so..

This is Remy Charlip:

Remy Charlip

Remy Charlip was a dancer, choreographer, illustrator and author. Born January 10th, 1929, he died rather recently on August 14th, 2012, 84 years young. He did everything. He influenced a great deal in the artistic community throughout his entire life. He participated in and created dance, art and literature (i.e. everything beautiful and good to the world!). He was creative and unique enough to run alongside greats like Merce Cunningham and John Cage. Charlip was one of the founding members of Merce Cunningham and Dancers. Not only did he perform as a principal in Cunningham’s company, but he also designed all of their costumes while he was a member. He also co-founded the Paper Bag Players, a children’s theater company. In the field of art, Charlip illustrated picture books until he started writing and illustrating his own; he is responsible for the creation of more than 38 children’s books.

Charlip is also well known in the dance community for his 1960’s series of “Air Mail Dances,” where he would send a series of sketches of gestures to dance companies. The dancers would then pieces together the gestures and and create the transitions and dynamics on their own. This is an interesting choreographic choice (which also parallels Cunningham’s use of chance), in which the choreographer has a part in the choreographic process of creation (the building blocks), but also leaves a certain amount of the choreographic effort up to the dancers. This is really useful because choreographers can see other routes in which their movement ideas could have gone.

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One thought on “Remy Charlip

  1. Very interesting! Thank you for explaining who Remy Charlip is.

    I look forward to reading more about your creative process!

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