This semester, I had the honor of being cast in Eddie Taketa’s original work “Onionskins, Opaques, Ox Bloods, and Pearls” for the Department’s Spring Concert (April 7 – 9, 2016). With a cast of twelve dancers including myself, rehearsals began at the start of the semester. A mixture of grades and training backgrounds, we entered into the studio with essentially nothing. We were starting from scratch with the intention of creating something as a group.
Under the direction of Eddie, we began a slow but steady process in creating what ended up being about a six-minute piece. Through improvisational exercises, we developed material and translated it into the whole of the piece. We worked with each other and Eddie, collaborating to create a final product that we could be proud of and feel confident performing. This piece was both unique and special due to the fact that all of the material was generated throughout the rehearsal process. Additionally, it was a unique experience performing movements which I had either choreographed myself or had done so in collaboration with another member of the cast. However, none of this would have been possible without Eddie’s guidance, feedback, contribution, direction – basically none of it would have been possible without him.
Never have I felt so connected to a cast while performing onstage. There was a general environment of positivity and encouragement, from my fellow dancers and from Eddie. This made the performance experience something truly special. It was evident that our joy was genuine throughout the piece and I cannot thank my collaborators enough for helping me to experience that. I could not imagine my first Department performance being so amazing, but I am so blessed that it exceeded my expectations. I would not trade the experience for anything, and I will forever remember every bit of it.