Inside the Studio….Reflections from filmmaker Danny Mendoza

From the first moment I spent at Ballet Hispanico earlier this week, I felt welcome and supported – and the atmosphere I’ve encountered here since then has remained one of open communication and kind collaboration. Eduardo Vilaro, the Artistic Director of Ballet Hispanico, introduced us to the dancers and choreographers on Monday; since then, he and the rest of the Ballet Hispanico staff have gone out of their way to ensure that we have all that we need to do our jobs well.

Gerrit, Ben, and I – the filmmaking staff involved with the Instituto Coreografico Fall 2010 – have thankfully overcome the technical issues we’ve encountered and are currently on track with our work. Gerrit and Ben have been a pleasure to work with – professional, adaptive – and that has made my work easier.

Maray Gutierrez is the choreographer whose work I’m covering during these two weeks; she has allowed me great access to her work, speaking with me daily about what she’s done with her dancers, where they’re at in their process, and where she hopes they’ll go next. She has asked the dancers she’s working with to look inside themselves for inspiration regarding the movements in this piece – and she’s nurturing their sense of who they are and how they move to develop combinations from those essential movements for the choreography. It seems to be a process that values honest exploration, allowing her to sculpt the choreography from the dancers’ evolving work and giving each dancer a sense of collaborative, authorial investment in the piece. I have had the pleasure of feeling engaged and fascinated by their work as I record it – and I am excited to share excerpts of that work with all of you on this blog.

For all of this, I am very grateful. This is turning out to be a beautiful project – and I’m glad I get to be a small part of it.

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