DIARY: MICHAEL GREYEYES
This week’s diarist is actor and dancer Michael Greyeyes. He kept his diary last week while rehearsing for Dusk Dances, a dance festival taking place in Toronto’s With-row Park until Sunday.
BY NATIONAL POST JULY 13, 2007
We open in 17 hours …
Not that I’m counting.
Dress rehearsal was tonight and Meegwun and I were looking for redemption. Sylvie (assistant director for Dusk Dances) saw our piece for the first time yesterday. She was gracious in her response, but we were unhappy with the showing. It wasn’t as bad as that scene in All That Jazz where Roy Scheider’s character (a.k.a. Bob Fosse) shows his producers his latest creation.
Afterward the camera pans to the producer’s faces, which are frozen into masks.
CUT TO: Scheider retching into a toilet.
Okay, we did better than that, but we didn’t have our singer last night, nor our regalia — so the overall impact of the dance was really compromised.
Today, Meegwun and I were determined to knock their socks off.
10 a.m. We began rehearsals for Triptych, the new dance work I’m choreographing. We worked all day, with the other cast, on what turns out to be the hottest day of the year.
4 p.m. Change a few sections of the Dusk Dances piece that I still wasn’t happy with.
5 p.m. We race from York University to Withrow Park for a 6 p.m. call. Just make it.
6:30 p.m. We start getting into our regalia and rehearse the new choreography. The humidity is stifling. It’s hard to breathe. We’re sweating like horses.
8 p.m. We forgot to eat dinner, or drink fluid. My legs, my whole body feels leaden. We dance. It’s a sprint uphill from start to finish, carrying a fridge on my back. (Note to self: You need to drink fluid and eat supper in order to keep the engine running.)
The audience we had for the dress was enthusiastic, but we’re holding ourselves to our community’s standard.
Powwow is about excellence and truthful expression.
Redemption will come tomorrow.
Michael Crabb reviewed the festival for The National Post. The following is an excerpt from that review.
Dancers in the Park
Yet, for masterful dancing, the prize goes to dancers Michael Greyeyes, Meegwun Fairbrother and singer-drummer Eddy Robinson for their spirited Grass Dance. These traditional dances have always varied from nation to nation, and choreographer Greyeyes, whose diary is featured in these pages this week, gives the form the more polished structure appropriate to a formal performance. What impresses, apart from the colourful feathered costumes — their movement evoking the swaying prairie grass — is the sheer power of the dancers’ presence: proud, dignified and utterly virile.