Wow. I am feeling visually grooved. No doubt about that.
Last nights 'Visual Grooves' event with GST was really awesome. We had been talking about it since November, but really hadn't thought carefully about it until this last month. I sort of felt as though it was going to pull off best if we approached it casually, but since it was a first, a little over-planning wasn't such a bad idea.
Turns out, as I suspected, that participating dancers were excited simply about the idea of improvising to live music with guaranteed room, and no planning necessary. Most folks didn't even reply to the prompt I had sent about which song to which they'd like to dance. And I kinda liked it.
Improvisation at its heart is casual in nature. The casual, fun, happy-go-lucky atmosphere that we created, cultivated and enjoyed last night was just what I have been dreaming of, and it is my hope that we can continue to make such a thing happen on a more regular basis. As I mentioned to Greg, it seems to me like the perfect kind of event to do quarterly. It'd be awesome to keep it in the same location (at Lee's), but moving venues would not be so bad either. Our audience truly was mostly composed of people who had just walked in off the street to get a drink at Lee's. I'd say maybe a third of the audience was performer friends and family, and the other two thirds were previously described patronage.
That said, they all LOVED it! Other performers (including Scott who I used to work at Muffuletta with) and the bartender all raved about how everyone who just happened to be in the bar at that point get engrossed and really enjoyed themselves. This is just another proof for my idea that people LIKE jazz. They just need to get it in the right setting, in the right way. Jazz can feel stuffy and old, but rockin' it casual with a groove based band and improvising dancers in a classic and beloved bar is the PERFECT way for a lot of people to access jazz.
I suppose this is among the reasons that it might be awesome to pursue a venue change; we'd get access to a whole new random audience that has not yet seen our tricks, and that would be opened to these possibilities. GST also would not need to work on new tunes. That said, they did eight last night in the first set, and I know they have a lot more up their sleeves, so I suppose we are not yet out of ammo. And, a curious improvising dancer can try her hand at the same tune many times and keep finding new things. In this, staying at Lee's and keeping it consistent could be good, but a venue and audience change could be good too. Either way, in the spirit of keeping it casual!
Planning-musings aside, I left last night having been woken up out of my 'I think I'm tired at 9pm' body and kicked into a celebration of people, sound and movement. I am excited to see where this goes next! Either way, I want it to go, and I want it to go sooner rather than later!