TG20: Being the Brand New Ball Passer
Teasing Gravity 2020 Spotlight: Charles Moulton's Nine Person Precision Ball Passing
The first time I saw Nine Person Precision Ball Passing was in the spring of 2018 on a field trip to one of CCDT’s school shows at the Fleck Dance Theatre. My first impression was, “WOW,” the movement was so specific, the different patterns made it very satisfying to watch and also created interesting pictures throughout the piece. As I watched the piece there were many questions that came to mind. How long did it take these dancers to learn this piece? How many different patterns were there? I also remember seeing a ball drop from someone's hand, but before I could figure out where it was supposed to be, it was like it had never happened. When I watched that piece in grade 9 I never thought that I would be doing it now and be able to answer all of my questions!
Overall, I think that learning Ball Passing is less intimidating than it seems. It might seem like there are a lot of patterns to memorize, but really there are only a little more than a handful. Many sequences repeat, and memorizing the different series took time, but it was easier than I thought it would initially be. Once I learned all the series it was just a matter or practicing, and still is! The more rehearsals we had and the more I thought about it on transit or at school, the easier it became to execute.
The most challenging part about learning Ball Passing was just remembering the piece; remembering each series and then the order that they happen in. However, I am very lucky! Jeffrey Lapira and Paris Forbes are the other two people in my row and they made the learning process a lot easier. They were both in this piece last year so they are both experts! They had so much patience when I was first learning, and Paris was always ready to call out what came next when my brain was blanking. The piece is all about teamwork, and without teamwork it just wouldn’t work. We have to make sure we are all on the same page, and when we all work together we have the most success.
Ball Passing has taught me how to keep focused under pressure, be adaptable, and it forces me to make quick decisions. I also realized that Ball Passing is still a dance, even if it’s not what we traditionally consider to be a dance. The movement in the piece needs to be full, involving the whole body, for it to really be effective.
When I think about performing this piece I feel just as excited as I do nervous. I think backstage I will be nervous, but somehow I know once we sit down, the music starts, and we finish opening series, excitement will take over!
Soraya Lee Wo is 16 years old and enjoying her first season as a member of CCDT's Company. As the one brand new dancer in the 2020 Nine Person Precision Ball Passing cast, she looks forward to her first performances of the iconic work by famed choreographer Charles Moulton in the months to come.
WATCH: CCDT's 2020 Ball Passing cast in rehearsal
Learn more about choreographer Charles Moulton and his Ball Passing Projects at ballpassing.org
Meet the artists and discover more about Teasing Gravity 2020 here.
CCDT's 2020 Ball Passing Cast:
Paris Forbes, Lola Rose Jenkins, Nikkie Jeong, Jeffrey Lapira, Kaiya Lee, Soraya Lee Wo, Jaedyn Richards, Sydney Runions, and Melodie Yeung