Individuality in Dance II

Yes, I’ve been terrible at keeping this blog going lately… but I won’t make any promises that I can’t keep, so let’s just hope I get better one day!

For the moment, I’m leaving you with another comparison between two dancers in the same piece of choreography.

In this case I’m going to go for McGregor’s Chroma with two different female dancers (Alina Cojocaru and Mara Galeazzi) but the same male dancer (Edward Watson)., which should give even more interesting aspects to the game 😉

So here we go… Just so that you know, and those of you who know me do know this already, I do have a favourite in this one, just because she is my favourite in general, but I’ll try my best to be as objective as possible!! 😛

Videos first:

Chroma with Mara Galeazzi and Edward Watson

Chroma with Alina Cojocaru/ Edward Watson

So generally speaking there is a clear difference in dynamics. Mara is more continuous and controlled while Alina breaks the dynamics more and gives more accents to her musicality (have a look at the end of the turn in 0;56 for Alina and 1:15 for Mara, Mara kind of continues while Alina turns faster and stops suddenly).
In terms of movement we can have a look at a very static position (0:53 for  Alina and 1:09 for Mara) and observe the differences. While Alina is more “abandoned” and her legs are falling more towards the floor, Mara keeps a very clear line towards the audience. This trait can also be noticed in some choices of expression, for example in Mara facing forward (0:47) while Alina keeps her head to the back (0:27), or the line of the eyes directly to the audience (or camera) in the sequence of movements in Mara (1:02) but not in Alina (0:42).

I could go on about the differences between them two, but I think it’s better to leave just a taste of what could be read in these videos. Obviously there are lots of factors that could weight heavily in these differences, like their different training, bodies, understanding of the choreographer’s intentions… Even the fact that these videos are two performances of lots and that their interpretations could, and probably did, change along the way. It would be very interesting also to know who created the role and how that might affect the other dancer when learning the material (I haven’t been able to find this info, and though I have some idea myself, I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong info!!)

Now for another very interesting part of this comparison… What about Ed? He is the same person with two different partners, how does this affect him? Let’s have a look!

Let’s take the little sequence in 1:26 with Mara, or 1:09 with Alina. It does feel like he’s taking in the different movement styles of his partners, he’s got more of a controlled/fluid movement with Mara, while being more “broken” and sharp with Alina. Now have a look at his stance in 1:52 with Alina and 2:05 with Mara, interesting hey? (I was very excited when I found this bit ;)).

Now anyone that has ever done partnering will understand and accept this without question. Of course you need to change when you dance with different people! Not only to adapt to different partnering styles but also just naturally because of the different relationships you might have with the persons you’re dancing with. And that changes the dance too (I lived through a very clear example of this in my last period of rehearsals with the company I dance for in Wales, I had to change partners temporarily from a person I’m very used to dance with, to a person I had met the same morning, and that was a big change!!).
So for me, if I were to look at the dances without taking into account what McGregor was meaning to say (because I do not know what this was), Alina and Ed are having more of a physical fight, quite aggressive and fast. Mara and Ed are having a fight too, but there is more tension than physical violence, it’s more of an argument I guess.

How much can we read in two minutes of dance, isn’t our art wonderful?! 😉

More soon, but I do not promise!

3 thoughts on “Individuality in Dance II

  1. Alina reminds me a gymnastic girl. Really Mara is more dancer in this piece. I can´t see the diference between them in 1:52 and 2:05 what did you see in it?
    I really like to read this blog an your apretiation. It´s a very interesting point of view and we can see the pieces with other eyes ( sorry for my english “patatero”)

  2. Thanks for your comment Eli! And no problem at all with your English, it’s fine!
    I understand what you mean about Alina, but I have to say that if we take into account the style of the choreographer (Wayne McGregor and his emphasis on breaking the body) she’s not so far out of place. Anyway, it’s also a matter of different tastes so you’re more than welcome to disagree!!
    What I saw in those two moments is the difference between the position of Ed Watson’s back. His shoulders are in and his back is a bit curved with Alina, but he is completely upright and with shoulders back with Mara.
    I’m glad you enjoy the blog!! 😀


  3. That was an interesting read, for me as a non-dancer I don’t see the technical step but perhaps can see the difference in quality of movement. It also reminded me of Alina in Diamonds last week where she moved very crisply to take certain poses (more so than Marianella in the other cast) perhaps in a little way like your description above.

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