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Fantasy, Dreaming, and Memory in 'Dreamscape' by Roderick George

Fleeting features the premiere of Dreamscape by NYC-based choreographer Roderick George. Roderick's second creation for CCDT connects his own teenage experiences with those of the dancers, creating a space for them to forge their own future paths. Company dancer Tristyn Murray reflects on the creation process and bringing Dreamscape to the stage.

My experience with Roderick George has left me feeling tremendously grateful and inspired. No matter how long the rehearsal days got, I always left the studio with a sense of accomplishment, as well as new skills that I will carry with me into the future. Roderick’s professional presence and essence guided my focus and determination, and created a space where I could grow to my fullest potential. I learned more that week than I ever thought I was capable of doing. I remember starting the first audition phrase and thinking “this is my jam”, and right then and there is when I first fell in love with our company’s piece Dreamscape

Roderick had mentioned that the piece is about dreams and how sometimes when he is having a good dream, bad dreams tend to flood them, making it feel as though the sky is falling. This influenced him to create a motif found in Dreamscape that looks as if we are carrying the weight of the falling sky in our hands. After the sky falls, his good dreams start to seep back in, leaving a positive impact. With all of this information, we were told that we could interpret the concept however we'd like. This meant traveling on our own separate journeys, and figuring out what that meant to us. Even though some of us didn’t resonate with the idea of bad dreams flooding the good ones, thinking of the dreams as something both negative and positive in our lives helped us to understand this feeling more personally. The sequence in which Roderick mentioned his dreams, reminded me that even though times can get rough and possibly affect the good in our lives, it won't last forever, and good will always find its way back. 

Some of the biggest challenges of the creative process for me were the constant changes of counts. With this piece being recreated for so many different companies around the world, Roderick had many counts in his mind that he was constantly changing for the piece to work for our specific group of dancers. Even though I was able to pick up the original counts and feel confident, I always had to keep in mind that it could change. With this said, I feel as though I learned a lot about myself throughout that week, figuring out my own strengths as a dancer as well as where my weaknesses lie. Discovering where I need to work harder motivated me to expand and push my boundaries.

I feel that working on this piece allowed the company to grow relationships within each other and strengthen our bonds. It created a space for us to really work together and uplift each other during a stressful time. There were many times where I would just pause what I was doing, and look around at the gorgeous and talented souls around me. It was a gift to watch my best friends, and they left me in awe most of the time from their incredibly inspiring dancing. The amount of talent in the room that flourished in only a one week period was just amazing. I love the company so much and am so appreciative that the universe has brought us together. From the partnering sections and numerous lifts, to the memorizing counts and lending a helping hand when someone was in need, we were able to effectively bring Roderick's vision across. While watching Dreamscape, I hope that the audience will feel a sense of journey and individuality throughout the piece as well as the growth and unity within our company.

Since learning the piece, I find myself reminiscing about the incredible March break I had and how much it influenced me to keep pushing and working hard. The process was a long one, and would leave me massaging and icing certain parts of my body from how sore I was. It truly did open an outlet in me as a dancer to further strengthen my craft. Having such an amazing role model come in and share such an intricate and fierce piece of work, was just what the company needed and craved. It is an understatement to say that the experience was one I will never forget. 

Last but certainly not least, I wanted to thank Natasha Poon Woo on the company's behalf for lending us a helping hand for the first two days of the process. A huge thank you to our Rehearsal Director Steph for guiding us all during the process, and being there for us to ensure we were all executing the piece to our best abilities. Thank you Deborah and Michael for bringing in such an inspiring legend, which brings me to Roderick George…we are so incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you on such a stunning piece. We can't wait for you to see the end result on stage at the Fleck dance theater!


Don't miss Tristyn and the 2023/24 Company dancers performing Dreamscape alongside works by Jennifer Archibald, Chantelle Good, Deborah Lundmark, and Cherice Barton, as part of CCDT's upcoming Fleeting mixed program. On stage at the Fleck Dance on May 24 & 25. Tickets and info here.


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