…and other wonderful tidbits in Part 1 of 2 interviews with Carolena and Megha by a couple of gals in Florida, Mary and Tammy. I love especially the discussion of preparing students for performance starting at around 25 minutes.
Here is a transcribed snippet, from around :50, in brief, to whet your whistle:
Yip: “Through the years…how do you keep ATS fresh? I mean, do you guys add in new moves, and how do you decide if you’re gong to add something in or…the creative process behind that.”
Carolena: “You know, I don’t even think about keeping it fresh. I just do it. And I don’t consciously say, you know, ‘This is getting stale. We need a new move.” We just do what we do.
And it’s like an energy bounce. It just keeps rolling and rolling and rolling, and I just, I follow it. I don’t direct it. D’you know what I mean? It’s like I really feel like it never really intended for it to happen in the first place. It just sort of showed up and like, said, ‘Chase me,’ and I was like ‘Okay, I’ll chase you.’
And it’s still like that. I really feel like there is a Dance Goddess who wanted me to present this to everybody, and I was like, ‘Me? I’ll try.’ And she’s been running ahead of me all these years…”
Around at 53ish, here is a final favorite snippet…
Carolena: “Being onstage, I feel, is really like a moving meditation. Because, you can’t be anywhere but right there. You can’t be ahead of yourself or behind yourself. You just…all you can be is right there. And you’re either doing what you intended to do or not… …it just flows.
When you’re really like, right in that spot, it’s so satisfying, because nothing else is happening right then…it’s really like a single pointed meditation. It’s fabulous.”
Megha: “And I think also, with this style, what the audience sees, whether it’s due to your successful attempt to do something or your mistake at doing something; the audience sees, whether they are conscious of it or not, the cooperation that’s happening within the group. We talk a lot about how the audience sees the spark of creativity, because you’re making the decisions as you go along about the sequence of things that you’re gonna to, and they can see that exciting part of it. But they also can intuit the cooperation that’s happening. Like, if there’s a mistake and no-one gets frazzled about it, there is something that happens within that group that they can pick up on, and it just makes the whole thing even more mesmerizing and special. I love that about it.”
Carolena: “Yeah, it’s true that there really is a communication between the dancers and the audience. And that’s what I really try to impress upon people when I’m teaching them, is being natural on stage. Be your natural self, because the audience is being its natural self, and they are looking for natural gestures. So don’t be fake.
Definitely be showy. Y’know, be on the stage, and own the stage, and give us a show, for sure. But be yourself, because the audience can read a natural gesture. So if something is a success or a failure, they may or may not be able to figure that out, but your response to it is what they’re going to trigger their response from. So if you look, y’know, you’re just like “Oops!” and the other dancer is like “Hey, I’ll help”, the audience is like “Oh, that’s cool”.
Megha: You know, it all comes down to “Just be cool”. Whatever, just be cool!