A Dancer's Perspective on the Alice Sheppard Intensive - Kaylee's Story

When I first learned that Alice Sheppard was going to come to Edmonton and work with CRIPSiE, I was instantly excited. When I first learned that I was going to be lucky enough to be in the piece, I was ecstatic, and couldn’t wait to see where the process would go. And when, three weeks before rehearsals started, I injured my lower back (ending up in the hospital) I was worried. Would I be able to keep up? Could I do everything I needed to? Was my back ready to dance again? Thankfully, rehearsing with Alice has put my mind completely at ease. The dancing is challenging, and I’m moving in ways I didn’t know I’d be able to. But Alice is amazing and takes us through really thorough warm-ups that stretch and open our bodies. Afterwards, I feel like my body is ready for anything.

Of course, in the morning after intense, long rehearsal days, I’m tired and sore but it’s a good kind of sore. It’s the sore that says, ‘You worked hard, and you did something new and challenging.’ Alice has really interesting and new ideas, and it’s such a privilege to put those ideas into motion. You can feel the passion behind her moves, and yet she is open and flexible to what our bodies will do with those moves. She has such a brilliant way of approaching dance and movement – rather than having moves and making the body conform to it, she thinks about the body first and making the movement conform to that. And seeing her get excited over our different, sometimes weird or ‘creepy,’ interpretations is such a great feeling. In fact, one of my favourite parts of rehearsal is when we get to mess around with the choreography; when we get to change it from a solo to a duet to on the ground to using different body parts and so on. It’s amazing to see what different people come up with, and how many amazing ideas and ways to move there are. It always inspires me to try new ways of moving, and to keep taking chances. Sometimes the most beautiful things come out of the most random places, and it’s such a joy to see all of the beauty that comes out of taking risks and trying something brand new.  

So far, this experience has been challenging (in the best possible way) and a lot of fun. I get to develop my skills, help create a fantastically cool new piece, and work with amazing people. It’s only been a few days, but already I can’t help but feel that we are all creating a little bit of magic, each day. I can’t wait to see where the rest of the process takes us, and I most especially cannot wait to share our work in November.

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