Posted on March 30, 2014 by Basement
If I could trade any talent that I possess to be a choreographer/dancer, I would; sadly, I was born with two left feet. That being said the best thing that ever happened to me, as an actor/creator was being required to take modern dance classes while I was earning my theatre degree. That time spent looking the fool in my University dance studios was crucial in the development of my theatrical aesthetic (and my crush on Thom Yorke). I have wondered though if other actors feel the same way about dance, so I decided to pick the brain of my friend, actress Morgan Bradley, who saw dance show The Way We Fall with me at The Basement this week.
DG: Do you feel that studying dance is something that has informed you as a performer?
MB: Yes. The end. Next question. DG: Because….?
MB: I feel like dancers have a really good knowledge of their own bodies. Which, I think actors need because it helps us to understand the way that we specifically move. The way one individual walks, or where their energy comes from.
DG: Exactly, because how can you become a character physically if you aren’t aware of your own bodies tendencies? How can you change something if you aren’t aware of what it is originally?
MB: Also, there is something about the discipline of it (dance). The ability to segregate the different parts of your body… realizing that one little movement can change the way an emotion comes across and the way that the audience perceives it.
DG: I also find dance such a great way to explore within a rehearsal process. I had a director who used to tell me to dance through Shakespeare because he knew that if I could physically figure out the verse then I would be able to fully comprehend it’s meaning and speak it with confidence.
DG: So obviously we’re fans. My bigger question is, do you think dance should be a crucial part of a theatrical community like the one that The Basement fosters.
MB: Yep. Because, dance shows don’t spoon-feed the audience an opinion. It sparks a level of creativity that isn’t dependent upon a spoken point of view.
DG: I see where you’re coming from. Theatre that is dependent on dialogue doesn’t necessarily spoon-feed an audience either, but words have a way of informing us, where movement has a way of inviting us to consider the information giving us the freedom to “fill in the blanks” and therefore discover what we, the audience, instinctually thinks or feels about a topic. I think that’s why my favourite bits of The Way We Fall were the moments where they were playing with those high and low movements. I responded to that on a deeper level than I did to any of the word play between the performers (not that I didn’t appreciate the playful wit of the dancer/actors/writers involved with the non-dance bits).
MB: So what we’re saying is….
DG: Dance shows the writer/creators a way to reach an audience without being tied down to the pressure of answering or even posing every question and/or thesis statement within the dialogue or journey of a script.
DG: So Morgan, would you like to see more dance shows at The Basement?
MB: Oh yeah.
DG: Final question. Has dance ever inspired a crush for you?
MB: I love me some Carlton from Fresh Prince…but on a hotter note, Channing Tatum.