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ArtDate #11: Kerian and Genevieve

Kerian Pearson, Genevieve Senechal and I got together for an unconventional ArtDate: 3 collaborators instead of 2, props(!), and the intention of creating a set piece of choreography. Kerian, Genevieve, and I have known each other for years and all teach and dance together at Powerhouse Blues. This collaboration was inspired by trying to dance on a small rug in Kerian's house which gave me some fun, theatrical ideas about Piedmont Blues. With just this prop, the Piedmont idiom, and Sonny Terry's song "Hootin' Blues" as guides, we played around.

Piedmont Blues comes from the Piedmont region of Appalachia and often contains the acoustic guitar, harmonica, and vocal riffing you hear in this song. The dance that accompanies this music has ties to earlier buck and jig dances in black American social dancing. Here's an older example of Piedmont dancing and some examples of what Piedmont looks like today, solo and partnered.

We took some of those rhythmic qualities and the theatricality of our props and made a little phrase which breaks into improvisation, each of us focused on a different musical element.

With the desire to create something set and the complicated nature of this music, we didn't quite get to a finished product. I'm hoping we can come back to this idea another time and develop a finished choreography from it. It was exciting to attempt to create choreography that was as dynamic and rhythmically responsive to the music as we were when improvising.

Thanks to Kerian and Genevieve (and my apologies because I had to post the video below). View more ArtDates HERE!

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