Written by Pernille Abildgaard Ullmann & edited by Katarzyna Kazimierczuk
Sunday - The Rain Came
This morning it was cloudy and the air felt a little wet. A few still did their warm-ups outside, but most moved into the dry indoors.
The training space didn’t get any bigger since yesterday, and it is still a lot of Winds in one place. But today we were aware, and made some agreements on how to get the most out of the space, without having to restrict the exercises, and it seemed to work.
The rehearsal program today is quite full, so the training was a little shorter and more concentrated, to make time for everything.
After the training, the rain came, and the grass and drums were wet. The drums are made out of large plastic barrels, to be able to withstand all kinds of weather and also be lightweight, so they are fine. But rehearsing with them in the rain may not be ideal.
Fortunately, only the air remained feeling a little wet - a light rain now and then, but dry enough to practice individual scenes.
Even though the exercises in The Bridge of Winds training program are meant to be done in a collective manner, the Winds have individual personalities, which shine through as they train.
For the last eighteen months or so, I have been working on the project of digitalising the Bridge of Winds’ work, including the website, and I have literally looked at thousands of images of The Winds - many of them taken by Francesco Galli, the photographer who has followed the Winds since 1998.
During this process, some of the images that were chosen for the Website, have almost been imprinted in my memory, as a representation of each of the members, and they pop up along with the names: the gaze of Annemarie as she does The Green, Signe’s body twisted as she turns around, Tatiana and Mika’s bodies, levitating from the ground in the Wind Dance, and so many more. For each one of them, there is a crystal clear image, imprinted in my mind.
Watching the morning training now, I begin to see patterns in the movements. As the Winds are training, they actually animate these images I have in my mind, right before my eyes!
Looking at the brand new training pictures taken during this meeting, I see the same patterns, because Francesco Galli captures these exact moments of everyone’s individuality within the collective, with his camera very precisely.
Monday - Drumming in the rain
After yesterday’s wet air, we talked about going to Ringkøbing to Teatret OM to rehearse UR-NAT, but it looked like the skies were clearing, so we decided to stay, as it is much better to rehearse an outdoor performance outdoors.
The skies were in fact not at all clearing, and shortly into the rehearsal, the first large drops came from above. It was a light rain at first, so the Winds quickly adjusted - umbrellas were found to cover instruments, as well as the Maestra and her computer, and many changed out of their costumes, as they were not meant for rain. Carlos Simioni’s costume for example, is made of paper, and none of the masks do well in the rain.
Some instruments like Elena’s violin and Jori’s accordion had to go inside, and the four Chinese drums - the red ones - were covered in yoga mats.
All other drums - the black ones - are made from recycled large plastic barrels, and they are fine in the rain, so the rehearsal went on, drumming in the rain, without costumes, and with the musicians humming their parts instead of playing.
As soon as the rehearsal was over, we went inside, and did a “white rehearsal” - a quick run-through all the cues of the performance. Antonella and Iben decided that we were to move the whole work day to Ringkøbing tomorrow, to Teatret OM, and do both morning training and rehearsals at their working space. All the drums and costumes were loaded into the cars to be ready for leaving early tomorrow, and it was agreed to leave early to get the most out of the day.
In the afternoon there was individual rehearsals, and some had costumes that needed fixing - or making! Antonella Diana worked hard all day, cutting, measuring, fitting and sewing the costumes, assisted by Iza Vuorio and Adriana La Selva.
In the past few days, we have had a few visits from local people, who were on nature hikes, or just wanted to see the strange people with the loud drums and have a chat. Some just came to see the area and eat their packed lunch at the benches outside the building.
When we first arrived at Kronheden, we felt we were all alone in the wilderness, and didn’t realize there were in fact a couple of houses just down the road, and that the drums were heard very clearly through the air. Especially the first two days, the Winds had long hours of drum rehearsal, and some of the neighbours were curious about what was going on, and maybe also a little concerned about just how many days these hours of drumming would last.
So today, we invited them and their children to come and see the rehearsal, and say hello to everyone. They came and watched most of the rehearsal, even when the rain came. And as the work progresses, we could also promise them we wouldn’t have to drum for so many hours every day.
The Maestra's mushrooms & the "summer"
While everyone was working hard on their individual scenes in the training room, Iben went for a walk in the forest area surrounding our campsite. Iben has a good eye for finding mushrooms in the forest, and she came back with a bag full of nice chanterelle mushrooms. Just enough to make a little appetizer for everyone. She also brought wine for everyone,(not from the forest.) to enjoy with the dinner.
During dinner, Iben looked at the weather forecast again. And - surprise! It said that not only would it not rain tomorrow, it would be high sunshine all day. Looking outside the window, there was absolutely no sign that this was true - the skies were grey and the water was pouring down.
These changes in the weather are typical for Denmark, especially in the summer. Planning an outdoor performance is always like playing the lottery. You might get lucky but you probably won’t. As a result, we get a little more weather resistant - rain has to be really hard for us to not enjoy a BBQ or a walk in the nature - or even a performance outside.
Songs are written about this, the most famous being “Du danske Sommer”, which starts: ”Oh Danish summer, I love you, though you have so often let me down.”
So - now we have decided to decide tomorrow!
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