How to be a cog in a machine (4:24)
I’ll admit it: I am fond of the idea of being a cog in a machine. I love the clarity of compartmentalization, at least in theory. Of course, it may not always work in practice ... unless you’re in the Chapkis Dance Family. As a performer in CDF, you create something that is much larger than the sum of its parts.
To make a point, I’m calling out this kid, who betrays a blocking error by moving ever so slightly to his right here (2:20). How did he know to adjust, especially considering he is in the front row and has no one else in front of him to use as a visual reference? He knows exactly, absolutely where he is supposed to be, which is very useful in knowing when he isn’t there. Adjustment made; my mind is blown.
Now, apply that understanding and self-awareness to moving in a group, like in this wave (0:26), or this one (1:03). Try to imagine a a CDF performer on her way home from rehearsal, practicing her timing during this slow wave (3:13)while she waits for her bus, by herself. This is the sort of hivemindedness one needs to be in to make a crew move as one veritable beast.
There’s a pressure on creative folks to be unique, to stand out from the crowd. But if we want to make something really great and we can’t do it alone, shouldn’t it be okay to find your place in a machine? Especially when the machine you make together is so awesome to behold?
Sorry to get all Brave New World on you. Watch video!
Full screen, HD!!!
PS The same performance, from the front row (4:23).