Towards the end of last week we were joined at Bern Ballet by the extended Von Wattenwyl family and their friends. It was great to see the descendents of Vivienne and Bernard; Vivienne’s daughter was also there which was extra special and it was moving to see how touched herself and the whole family where by what we are doing to commemorate their ancestors history on stage. We had a very warm reception from all the family and they seemed to really like what they saw. Everyone was very pleased with their reaction and support of what we are doing, it was a huge relief to get such great support from the family themselves.
Last week I was sick in bed for a good part of the week so I had to catch up on what had been choreographed in my absence as soon as I got back into the studio.
In the rehearsals we have continued to build upon the ‘Hunt’ section and the ‘Skinning’ section. Cathy talks about the skinning being “a metaphor for getting under the skin”, the choreography that has been created is very representative of that both physically and emotionally with the movement material that has been created.
The material includes a group of four men representing an animals skin and one of the women enacting skinning the animal, treating it, stretching it and preparing it for transit to be exhibited. The woman, or Vivienne, manipulates each of the men in turn, striving to an evocation of what it would really be like by pulling, slicing and stretching the men off the floor as though they are in the intense heat of the African safari.
This particular section, for me, really draws me into what is happening and makes one think about the gruesome process that Vivienne is faced with in such a hot sticky climate, I ask myself, could I do it? I feel like I am led on a journey with Vivienne through the challenges and turmoils she faces. The music, from Pamela Mendez & her Band, is very fitting for this scene and really helps create an atmosphere that pulls you straight into the action on stage.
With the hunt material there are movements that conjure up in the mind items or thing’s one would do on a hunt. For example holding a hunting rifle (see picture below), creeping or trying to embody the prey.
This week we will continue rehearsals on Cathy’s creation, have two performances of the current triple bill, V:Dance Everywhere and will also be joined by New York Choreographer Andrea Miller who will be working with the company.
So a full and exciting week to look forward to!