In the Studio with Julia Adam and "Crossing" Cast

This week I observed rehearsals for Julia Adam’s Crossing. I am struck by how quickly the dancers pick up the steps. Just Monday they were learning the moves and today they dance through them quickly and easily. They make it look simple, though I know it isn’t. Julia Adam made sure the dancers were clear on the moves, at least in their heads, before they moved on – it takes practicing over and over to get the moves to sink into the body.  

There are several props involved -- tape on the floor marks where they go. One of the props is a doorway on wheels had to be made taller when vertically-gifted Daniel Russell Cooke and Brandon Ramey were cast in the piece.  

The story was inspired by 9/11, and Julia created the work when pregnant with her daughter, so a lot of emotion was involved. She said the piece is about imagining what life would be like lived without someone you love and who’s a part of your everyday life.  



Crossing is complex and fast, but Julia makes the learning process fun with anecdotes and laughter. After learning the moves, the dancers listen to the music again to make sure they know where every step goes. They “mark” the moves, and once they are sure of the steps they practice them full out.  

In one of the sections I watched today three male dancers dance in a sort of cascade, one dong a sissonne right after the other, like raindrops falling. In another Daniel Russell Cooke lifts Crystal Brothers in a renversé that takes the breath away. There are images of falling and reaching and warm, playful images of family. It’s a striking work – and this is just the rough draft stage!  

Posted by Joan Biddle at 1:06 PM
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