Ex-Sydney Dance Company dancer and emerging choreographer Cass Mortimer Eipper facilitated a series of choreographic workshops for a group of Pre-Professional Year students last month. PPY student Georgia Adelt reflected on her week with Cass and the challenges in readying herself for new work:
One of the many challenges I face each week is re-setting my mind to being open and ready for a new choreographer. Within this course we are presented with the extraordinary opportunity to work with a new choreographer/artist each week, each with their own philosophy, perspective and processes in developing work or technical skills. As amazing as this is, I must ensure I refresh my mind so that I am open minded to immerse myself in the work at hand, be in the moment and be open to taking every piece of advice from each person along this journey. That means filing away previous work, clearing the slate and readying myself for the work at hand. Not that it is forgotten, but to ensure that I am able to get the most out of every artist I encounter.
With this in mind, I cleared my thoughts and was excited to see what Cass would bring to our workshops. Cass shared with us a series of movement sequences devised through improvisation. Initially, the improvisation sequences were difficult to learn due to the pace and uninhibited movement quality, which were then broken down and formalised to enable unison. As we began to work in small groups, we embraced the opportunity to play with the choreography, adding and extending on sections, enabling us to feel a sense of collaboration and ownership of the work.
This process was unique in the way that we started with a base sequence and built on it within our groups. We had great fun experimenting and developing the choreography from the original concept that Cass had shared. Throughout the process Cass worked with the groups, shaping the evolving work. Cass gave directions which challenged and extended us to make our movements larger and more twisted to find unconventional movement paths.
We were also given the freedom to come up with duet sequences building from the original phrases which challenged us further. I particularly enjoyed the way Cass would give us small tasks and allow us the freedom to have our own interpretation.
Find out more about our Pre-Professional Year.