Our Viewpoints series allows you to hear directly from our dancers as they blog about the process and experience of working with Broadway Dance Lab.
Melanie J. Comeau grew up training at the Albany Berkshire Ballet in Pittsfield, MA and has had the pleasure of performing works by contemporary artists Jill Johnson, Christopher Roman, and Aszure Barton in her training. Since receiving a degree in Human Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University in 2013, she has enjoyed working with the Kuperman Brothers, Sidney Erik Wright, Mary John Frank, Eric Williams, and numerous music artists in NYC. Proud Crimson fan and alum of the Signet Society and Hasty Pudding Theatricals.
BDL Cycle 3 is about to wrap week 5, and what a fantastic five weeks it’s been! Josh has curated a warm, welcoming, and wonderfully talented company of dancers from all over the dance spectrum; it’s been a blast to learn from one another’s experiences and varying skill sets as we delve into new territory with each choreographer. I leave the studio each day wholly inspired—not only by the vibrant new movement we’re collaborating on and the prowess of the Cycle 3 choreographers and my peers, but by the bravery and respect that emanates from each body in the room. (As I tend to shy away from the pressure of it,) I know getting in front of a group of dancers and having to produce something for them to do is *scary! *Most of the choreographers we’ve worked with have said, “I have no idea what I want here” at one point or another. With some sweat, playfulness, and a lot of trust, we’ve figured it out, time and time again.
My colleague Clinton and I, as understudies/apprentices, are able to have the amazing perspective of both jumping into the work yet also stepping back to see each new story as it’s created, edited, and lived in. Some of my favorite moments in rehearsal so far have been of sneakily observing the choreographers as they watch their ideas (maybe even ones they didn’t know they had until that day or hour) come to life. There’s an electricity and appreciation there that is so genuine and so rewarding to be a part of. It’s rare that a choreographer has the freedom to create like this—with the luxury to be carefree about resources and overhead costs—and it feels like a blessing to be able to work with an organization that understands these limitations of the dance and theater world.
In working to solve some of these problems, BDL is able to keep the annoying (yet incredibly necessary) logistics outside of the studio and simply allow us to do the part of the job we love to do, and for this we are all incredibly thankful. I cannot wait to see what the remaining weeks have in store!