Sally Potter

Warming Up

Yesterday Pablo, Lucila and I met for the first day of rehearsals in the cavernous studio at Lilian Baylis House where we will now be for the next six weeks. It will be just the three of us for this first precious week as we all - literally - find our feet. Next week we will be joined by the other dancers and the following week by the soloists, the chorus and the children. This huge barn of a space, which felt so empty yesterday, as two jet-lagged Argentineans lay down on the shiny linoleum and tried to come to earth, will gradually be filled by a hundred bodies, each finding their way into the piece.

Before moving at the speed of light, dancers need to slow down and warm up their bodies, not just to avoid injury but also as a bulwark against a tide of rising panic about the volume of work to be achieved. Of course I too need to slow down and gradually stretch to meet the task that lies ahead. (Sheer effort does not always accomplish results. I learnt that definitively during my first ballet class aged twenty one, when I discovered that however hard I tried I could not touch my toes.)

Beginning any major project – even after months of preparation – opens a Pandora’s box of questions; to what degree will the imagined production resemble the reality as it manifests, step by step? What will I need to give up, cut away, abandon? What revelations will emerge in the process? Where must I hold firm? Where must I bend, flexibly, in the storm of activity?

Terror and delight will surely accompany me in equal measure on this journey. I hope I will have the courage to be open to both.

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