On Saturday around noon, I headed to the New 42nd Street Studios to watch a rehearsal of TAKE Dance Company (pronounced TA-kay) for their upcoming performances at Columbia’s Miller Theater, May 15-17. Nine floors above the bustling crowds and noise of Times Square, I entered a beautiful, sunlit studio where about ten dancers were rehearsing a section of a piece that is danced in silence. The only sounds were the dancers’ breathing and the creeks of the floor as they moved about. After a few minutes, artistic director Takehiro (Take) Ueyama (who is a former dancer with Paul Taylor Dance Company) broke the silence and gave some corrections regarding the spacing and timing. Moments later, the dancers started soaring through the space in another section of the piece that was lively, upbeat, and celebratory – and also exhausting, since most of the dancers collapsed to the floor at the end and took deep breaths. Some parts of the piece needed to be polished, but with three weeks to go until the performances at Miller, the dancers have plenty of time to work out the kinks.
Next, I watched a trio of duets called “Love Stories”, danced by Nana Tsuda and Kile Adair Hotchkiss. The piece was poignant and tender, and the dancers’ differences in appearance – she is small and slight while he is much taller and muscular – made it all the more interesting to watch. After the run-through, Take asked them to work on a lift where Nana runs downstage and leaps backwards into Kile’s arms. “Higher”, he told Nana several times. After a few more tries, there was a definite improvement.
What I enjoyed most about the rehearsal was that it was an opportunity to observe the rehearsal process and the way that Take interacted with the dancers, as well as the way the dancers interacted with one another. The atmosphere was friendly and laidback (several dancers said hello to me and the other bloggers throughout the rehearsal), but everyone was clearly working diligently. Seeing the studio rehearsal has also increased my excitement about the upcoming performances, as it will be interesting to watch the transformations that take place from studio to stage: costumes will replace sweats and t-shirts; the movement will be more polished; and the dancers will be dancing full-out, with an adrenaline rush that usually comes with performing.
Many thanks to April Thibeault for inviting me and the other bloggers and greeting us at the rehearsal.