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Inside the Studio : Week Seven Layers of Skin

Well Hello there, its Steven here, I am the last of the company to write the blog for the Layers of Skin creation and as predicted I am handing it in late….whoopsies!!! Oh well, I better get on with it then!!!

Monday kicked off with a rehearsal of La Lutte (amazing way to start the week off…literally with a bang), poor Matt had again been stranded in Amsterdam the night before and had just arrived in Antwerp that morning but even though we were both a tad on the sleepy side the run of the piece went great and we managed to get all the way to the end which, with La Lutte, is half the battle! However, I did manage to scratch Mister Slater on the forehead somehow…Sorry Matt! I love coming back to La Lutte after a break from it, as it always seems to develop and change. It’s a very exciting piece to perform, even if it is just a run in the studio. After we had finished rehearsing La Lutte we all came back together and got back to Layers of Skin. Filip began working on two duets in the piece (Erin and Kristina, Pauline and Dave), the emphasis on the rehearsal was the intention of the movement they were creating and the tone it set at their different points in the piece. We also put a section called ‘the 7’s’ into a clear spatial structure, which I’m sure I’ll get right before the premiere … erm, fingers-crossed! In the evening we performed as part of a celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Cultuurcentrum Berchem (this is where we rehearse in Antwerp, for all you non-Belgian followers out there).

On Tuesday we revisited a Quintet that was created a few weeks ago. Filip played about with the material, creating a gestural version and adding it into the structure of the section. We finished the day with a run of 45 minutes of Layers of Skin. It feels that each time we run the piece it is getting stronger and everything is beginning to settle and make sense…it is very exciting! It’s also nice to see everyone getting more confident in the work. All of the company are so different it is so nice to watch them all and what they bring to the piece…you guy’s rock! Can’t wait for June!!

As Matt and I were performing La Lutte in Gent on Sunday 22nd as part of Rêverie 2011 Dance Festival the company rehearsed in Gent from Wednesday to Friday and did open class and rehearsal there. Wednesday’s rehearsal focused on the music for the first section of the piece. It was useful to listen to the music together and make sure we were all on the same page. Thursday approached with another run of La Lutte, the final rehearsal before the show on Sunday and a Layers of Skin creative task. We had to come up with a short gestural phrase with the idea of exploring your own skin. We were then put in groups so we could observe each other’s movement and take out unnecessary dance steps so you could only see the original intention without embellishment. I then had to give my short phrase its own distinct rhythm, this involved having a metronome constantly ticking in the background for the rest of the day…having a tooth removed without anaesthetic is less painful. I was then teamed up with Matt to mix up our phrases to create one. This was continued on Friday (as was the metronome☹) and then the day was finished up with a run of the piece.

Sunday came along and it was indeed no day of rest for the wicked…erm, I mean me. Filip and I hopped on a train to Gent and began to get ready for the La Lutte performance…well actually, Filip and the technician set up the lights while Matt and I had a snooze in another room until it was tech time! It’s a tough life! The performance was well received by a warm audience and it was a great way to end the week…oh, except I did end up scratching Matt’s face again…Sorry Slater!

Written by Steven Martin, Retina Dance Company

Buy Tickets for Layers of Skin premiere at Cultuurcentrum Berchem on June 23, 24 & 25

Want to dance in Layers of Skin premiere? Aged 12-112 and enjoy movement? Come to our open workshop 28 May

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