“Her company reminds me so much of my own.” -Rosie Herrera
In July we were honored to work with Rosie Herrera for the first time as a dramaturge and mentor. Rosie Herrera is a Cuban-American dancer and choreographer, and the artistic director of Rosie Herrera Dance Theater in Miami, FL.
In Rosie’s process, she practices a radical, empathetic, and intuitive presence with the dancers. She devises tasks that encompass their bodies, spirits, and imaginations. Her work with the company helped to break open the symbolism of our starting points and movement phrases in a way that revealed something deeper about the human condition. We found ourselves so moved and inspired by her keen ability to articulate tasks that would guide the dancers towards physical moments of surrender. Her task about this particular section called “Carried” found its way into the final work.
As a choreographer, I have always been fascinated by an image I first saw in a book when I was a young dancer of a group of people holding someone up high above their heads. To me it looked liked the epitome of what I could ever hope to give to people one day – that kind of support to literally feel lifted. This image was our starting point for this section with Rosie. What I love about “Carried,” is that it developed into a more mature kind of support. We actually physically prepare to step to the side so that the one being caught can make their own choices. We moved from holding all of someones weight, to gently being there when they lean in so we can listen to the direction they want to go. It develops a sensitivity in the dancers and requires a vulnerability to practice a sort of pause before jumping in to catch. The presence and sensitivity of the bodies remain the most potent source of information about what is happening in this section. The release of control somehow physically honors our differences. We are there now to catch each other, but not to hold.