Since Samar’s departure in December many things have changed: almost all of the dancers now have smart phones, which facilitates us watching videos or reading emailed notes during rehearsal; everyone has downloaded Skype- for both social and professional reasons- where we hang out in a new sort of virtual apartment; Samar has become increasingly tech-savvy: learning HTML code and expanding her vocabulary as a videographer- a medium that she has discovered is becoming more and more integral in this creative process.
But just as we delve deeper into this process that has changed the way many of us see and interact with the world, many things remain the same. We still hold rehearsal at the same time on the same days of the week. We still have class, learn phrases, still run into the same problems of arranging bodies in space (which still involves running into one another some of the time). In fact, it is amazing the level of normalcy and efficiency that the company has been able to maintain over the past five months, despite our director living half way around the world in an occupied land. A recent observer in rehearsal remarked that from the outside, it didn’t seem so much different than if Samar were there in the room- calling out corrections and coaching dancers one-on-one while the rest of the group went over material (her voice just happens to reside in a computer rather than a body at the moment).
This dichotomy of the foreign and familiar is a theme felt throughout the creation of Bound. Although the studio work remains the same, conceptually all of the artists have had to make some pretty big shifts to be able to work in this unique way. Much like the fictional land that we are creating on stage, so our creative world exists in a place only of our own making, outside and beyond any city, country or border control. As such we are all pioneers and we are each freedom fighters- eking out our own creative territory. As such it takes a healthy imagination and some neat tricks of technology to be able to visualize the missing pieces in a process where the musicians, dancers, composer, choreographer and set are almost never all in the same place at the same time. In videos such as this one (below) created by Samar, technology allows us to visualize some of the elements that are absent in our own experience of the work, and enable us to continue to define this intersection between freedom and imprisonment.