Each of Annabelle’s pieces has some autobiographical seed. This one, for Whim W’Him’s next program, grew from a moment on a crowded train in Holland, when she received a phone call: a marvelous dancer, friend, and subject of her choreography, had died, suddenly,at 33 years old, apparently healthy and strong, perhaps of a heart attack…
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, born in Belgium of Belgian/Colombian parents, has lived and worked in the Netherlands for 17 years. She is highly regarded, the recipient of many awards and commissions, but does not belong to any company: “I am very happy being a freelance choreographer. It gives me opportunities to meet new people and new cultures. That, already, is a big source of inspiration, that I wouldn’t want to miss on.”
Two weeks of creative time with the dancers in June, another week in October, then final preparations before the premiere in January 2011 at Seattle’s Intiman Theatre (along with a new solo and duet by Olivier plus a new piece by Mark Haim). It’s an interrupted work-process, but allows for gestation and ripening between times.
For Annabelle, this Whim W’Him project is a very uncommon undertaking in one respect, the first piece she has choreographed without knowing the music ahead of time. The score is only now being written, is only partially completed. Its Belgian composer, David Van Bouwel, “is in an early music band. He has been very busy traveling this spring and summer. He also just sold his house and is moving, so things are going a bit slower than expected”. Keep in mind that this whole project really just got underway in March.
But for them, unlike in last winter’s 3Seasons, where the choreography had been faithfully set to the Vivaldi score—and they had to cope with surprise substitutions of Byron Au Yong’s just-composed and exceedingly different music—Annabelle’s sound loop has been present throughout the process so far.
Along with learning the movements, they have learned to modify the spirit of what they are doing to fit whatever particular music is being played at the moment—new or old, fast or slow, harsh and angular or gentle and smooth—so that each musical/choreographic iteration adds a layer of what is possible.
In the next few days, look for more posts, on Annabelle’s piece, rehearsal of a new Olivier work, and *preparations for Bastille Day at the Triple Door…
All photos by La Vie Photography, except the first, from Annabelle’s own website: