Events: Lauren Carnesi & Dancers Present “We’re Working On It” at Dance Project

By Lauren Carnesi

The story behind, “We’re Working On It” lies in three distinct places. A pair of lace dresses, two of my closest friends from college, and my love for all things Harry Potter.

The costume for this piece was a particularly awesome find I happened upon in Southampton, England. The entire piece began by making movement based off of the two lace dresses. I considered things like color, designs in the lace, texture, and the natural movement of the dresses. I even had my dancers wear the dresses during our very first rehearsal. After some extensive editing to the piece, I believe only five or six of the original movements made it to the final cut.

My performers, Cory Lilley and Christina Miller, are two of my closest friends from college as well as two of the biggest goofballs that can be put in the same rehearsal. Many movements in the piece ended up in there as a result of me saying, “If you keep doing that I’ll make you do it on stage!” I’m not sure if at the time they realized I was being 100% serious! Many of the quirkier movements in the piece were placed there after the girls were in a particularly silly mood during rehearsals. For example, there is Corey’s penguin chest slide and Christina’s Outdoor Empire goggles. With a little direction and artistic tweaking, we ended up with a vocabulary of interesting and quirky movement out of just plain having fun.

The Harry Potter Connection

Harry Potter is one of my favorite things in the world and I am not afraid to admit it. I came into rehearsal one day after watching one of the HP movies the night before and for whatever reason, the idea of the snitch ball used in the wizard sport quidditch wouldn’t leave me alone. I happened to look at my hands and found that by creating a circle between my thumb and pointer finger while extending the remaining three fingers at the same time could create the shape of half of a snitch. From that moment, the prominent hand gesture and other embellishments for the piece were born.

At this point, you may be a little confused. I mean, how does a pair of lace dresses, goofy friends, and a snitch end with a mysterious, dark, quirky, and mature looking dance? The beauty behind an entry point or entry points is exactly in the name. It’s where you begin! That never guarantees where the piece may go or end. In this particular situation, the fun-natured entry points started a choreographic journey that traveled through much more conceptually rough waters.

The Evolution of The Story

As time went by, a story of two beings trying their hardest to work together to find a solution evolved. At this point the piece doesn’t have a set in stone storyline. The controlled vagueness of what it is the dancers are working on or searching for was a specific choice I decided to make as a choreographer. Typically, my choreography will follow a very distinct story or concept. With this piece I really tried to push myself through the choreographic process to let the piece evolve as its own being rather than block it into a set limitation of what the piece was to be about.

“We’re Working On It” has been a wonderful journey to create. I got to incorporate inspiration from some of my favorite things, work with two of my closest friends, push myself to make new choreographic choices, and just enjoy the freedom of creating dance as I do with every choreographic project.

Lauren Carnesi & Dancers will present “We’re Working On It” at Joy of Motion Dance Center’s annual Dance Project. Dance Project takes place Saturday, December 1st, 8:30 p.m. at The Jack Guidone Theater. Tickets start at $12.