The session with “Dance for Parkinson’s” today was yet another reason to be thankful for my career choice. My recent appointment with “English National Ballet” as a musician for this weekly class is a real privilege….and reminds me how important it is to focus on “the moment”.
The dancers are a complete joy to work with musically, following my lead with gusto and creativity in the warm ups…..they inspire a freedom in me to try new things and just be myself. I feel like a child again, exploring and improvising with sounds and rhythms….sharing what I can offer with openness and honesty. It’s fair to say that some of my contributions work better than others – but I am pushing my boundaries (especially by not being a piano or percussion specialist – which is the norm in a dance accompaniment setting).
After the warm ups, fabulous choreographer Kate encouraged me to get physical and mingle with the dancers for a striding exercise – riffing with funky south American sounds on saxophone (ending with a very impressive Mexican Wave!), and to strip everything back to a simple lullaby on clarinet and foot tambourine to support another exercise (with a neat segue from pear and lemon shakers!). Somehow I then found myself behind the piano with my stripped back rendition of “Oh for the Wings of a Dove” for a plie’ exercise….and then an improvisation on some energetic Bartok for an upper body routine. Phew!
The courage and acceptance of the Parkinson’s dancers is rubbing off on me for sure.