Monday, January 16, 2012

"I Was Just A Card"...Kate Jablonski

Although it may seem as though there is a dearth of good web choreo at times, it is primarily due to the flood of half-baked, under-cooked, amateur material that is floating around. I had initially planned on featuring a choreographer's work only once, to highlight the breadth and spectrum of quality work that can be found online. However, when I saw a recent posting by Kate, I realized that I my plans would need to be reexamined. This girl is a gift to the dance and off. What she is bringing to the table, in terms of reevaluating the truly important aspects of dance education, is revolutionary. She is proof positive that kids are capable of using dance to make important artistic statements. Her students understand that dance is far more that trophies, dance moms, competitions and ribbons. She is not churning out trick monkeys and spin junkies...she is fostering the growth and evolution of tomorrow's ARTISTS...bravo KJ&BW:

MUSICALITY: A novice talent would be tempted to take a literal approach to the lyricism of the track. But Kate's aesthetic is neither novice nor typical. She choreographs to the actual timbre and tone of the singer's voice. Watch at 0:44-0:51 how the choreography augments the lilting vocal pattern with pendular, swinging motion. This quality of movement is then punctuated by more linear gestures when the vocalization shifts to the staccato phrasing. Kate's work has a sophistication and subtlety that many choreographers lack. For example, at 2:32, she highlights a single snare tap with an isolated jab to the side. When it is done in unison, and following a moment of calm stillness, it is unexpected and electric.

DANCER SYNC: I have never seen a piece of Kate's work that made me question the safety or health of her dancers. She never puts them in harm's way by asking them to do something that is going to cause long term damage. For many choreographers, partnering is an area fraught with potential hazards. I have personally seen dislocated shoulders and concussions occur because some idiot-ographer decided to "get creative" and just have their dancers "go for it." However, Kate's partnering is both FULLY SAFE and FULLY INVENTIVE. All of the lifts have been carefully manipulated for constant connection between the base(s) and the flyer.

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: If I were to list all the engaging elements of this piece, which add to the complexity and texture of this work, I'd be here all night! So a few of my favorites will have to suffice. First of all, I love the interplay and visual impact of the contrasting skin tones in the opening sequence. By focusing our eyes on the hands, fingers and arms, we key in on the light and dark hues of the two principle dancers, thereby foreshadowing the struggle to come. Secondly, she isn't afraid of repetition and understands that this is a structural concept that resonates deeply with the viewer. At 1:44, Kate revisits her first choreographic motif, but from an alternate side angle. The first time we see the motif, the dancers are frontal and then angled toward each other, but the second time we see it, they are at combative and diverging. And in this way, the audience understands that there is both a progression and cyclical nature within the passage of time. Finally, I really appreciate how she incorporated the corps dancers into a piece that began as a duet. In Greek theater, there was a chorus that would provide commentary and emphasis to the action on stage. In a similar way, the ensemble dancers are fully integrated into the action, without ever pulling focus from the principle dancers...a very challenging feat to achieve, and Kate does it masterfully.

KUDOS to Kate for transcending the typical studio model, and embarking on a new direction in dance education...I predict that someday we will be interviewing numerous acolytes who grew up under Kate's guidance and mentoring.


  1. So happy for you Kate! Kate is truly amazing! :)

  2. Her amazing talent is equalled only by her humility and her caring, emotional connection she has for her dancers.

  3. Love it. Though I dont fully understand it :)

  4. i love this video! thanks for sharing! :)