Dancers have the unique ability to take a piece of music and really show it to you. You may be thinking, how is that possible? Sound is a wave invisible to the naked eye, and even if you were to see that piece of music performed live, you would see the action that creates the sound, but not the sound itself. Here’s where the dancer comes in. If a dancer were to create movement to your favorite song, chances are that dancer would pick up on the nuances in rhythm, accents in instrumentation, the subtle meaning behind the lyrics, and quite possibly allow you to discover something in that song that you did not notice before through simply listening. This is exactly what choreographer Hanna Bricston is bringing to the Dance for Life stage with My Darling, set to the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.”
Blink an eye, and you might just miss a detail in Hanna’s meticulously crafted choreography.
Blink an eye, and you might just miss a detail in Hanna’s meticulously crafted choreography. From the subtle changes in the angles of the head and hands to the smiles and furrowed brows, each motion has been purposefully placed to enhance the tune it is danced to. If you have ever had the chance to see Hanna perform, then you know that the nature of her choreography is a reflection of the skill, prowess, and expressiveness that she brings to each and every stage she has stepped foot on.
DancerMusic’s Kristi Licera caught up with Hanna to get the scoop on My Darling and the debut of her dancers. Here’s what Hanna told us through her captions in this 4PHOTOS:
In re-staging ‘My Darling’, I was intrigued to see what I could do with a cast nearly double the size of the original!
“This photo shows how the ensemble pulls you through the piece with common gestures to make you feel the music. The first concept of My Darling was really an accident that turned to gold. Above you see all the dancers doing the exact same step, at the same time and facing the same direction. I wanted to play on a large group, never changing formations or counts – one piece in perfect unison.
My original cast (pictured above) had about twenty dancers, and I chose to expand my cast for Dance for Life because I have come to love working with larger groups. I also feel there is amplified emotion that happens on stage with a big group, especially with unison dancing. In re-staging My Darling, I was intrigued to see what I could do with a cast nearly double the size of the original! The Dance for Life cast features dancers from Aerial Dance Chicago, Visceral Dance Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, Chicago Dance Crash, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, Cocodaco Dance Project, and River North Dance Chicago alumni.” — Hanna Bricston
‘Unchained Melody’ is a song I know and love, but when it came on over the car stereo, I heard it more from a dance creator’s point of view and was instantly inspired.
“My Darling is set to the song ‘Unchained Melody’ by the Righteous Brothers. One night as I was driving to teach dance classes, I was listening to music from the 50’s and 60’s. I love oldies, especially because they remind me of driving with my dad as a little girl. ‘Unchained Melody’ is a song I know and love, but when it came on over the car stereo, I heard it more from a dance creator’s point of view and was instantly inspired. The quick, six-count back beat and cheese ball feels made me want to move and feel! When I got to the studio that night I created a combo to it on the spot. As I watched my students dance the choreography, I realized I had created something special. I knew I wanted to expand it and play with the direction I took.” — Hanna Bricston
Love has all angles and can even be funny and surprising. My Darling brings a bit of humor, and at times a lot of it!
“While creating the work, the term “Rom Com” (romantic comedy) came up a lot. They’re those movies where everything is over the top, especially the emotions – funny, sad, heartfelt, real. We capture those feelings through the dance itself. The dancers send the audience on an emotional rollercoaster: a little sex appeal? A playful flirt? Complete nonsense? How about all of the above? Love has all angles and can even be funny and surprising. My Darling brings a bit of humor, and at times a lot of it!” — Hanna Bricston
Follow your heart, make fun of yourself, live the dream, don’t question, and HIT the count. That pretty much sums up my creation.
“Emotions are a major lead in how I choreograph. Pulling on a few heartstrings can really bring a viewer in, if done the right way. In this photo, the cast of My Darling strikes a gesture that captures vulnerability. The ups and downs, quick mood changes and even changes in the dancers’ faces are all choreographed and performed with precision.
Follow your heart, make fun of yourself, live the dream, don’t question, and HIT the count. That pretty much sums up my creation.” — Hanna Bricston
Hanna Bricston and Dancers debuts at the 27th annual Dance for Life celebration on Saturday, August 18 at 7:30pm at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre (50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago, IL). Tickets are available online from the Auditorium Theatre or by phone from the Auditorium Box Office at 312.341.2300.