Growing up in rural California, I desperately wanted dance lessons but no dance teachers taught in our small town. I saw dances on TV and made up ballets wearing plastic tumblers for toe shoes and convinced my older sister to sew me a kilt for a Scottish dance that I performed on top of the family picnic table.
In high school, I was elated to sign up in PE class for modern dance every semester for three years but still no dance lessons. My friends and I were left to make up dances while the gym teacher took donut breaks. Our audience-pleasing specialty became “Green Slime” dances, dancer-protoplasm rising out of the green slime to seek the sun, seeing each other, conking each other over the head, then one-by-one sinking back into the…yeah… green slime.
At twenty I finally took my first dance technique class at UC Santa Cruz and fell hard in belated love, studying composition and improvisation with Tandy Beal, Ruth Solomon, and Marcia Esposito. My end-of-term choreography was frequently voted for the quarterly open showings.
With my BA degree in Aesthetic Studies, Performance in hand, I moved to Berkeley with my composer husband and started a contemporary dance/music company called “Dancing Ear, Inc.” We did six seasons and received three grants from the Zellerbach Foundation. A highlight was structuring an entirely improvised concert with pianist Art Lande, oboist, Paul McCandless, and four dancers.
More recently I was awarded a grant from ODC/SF and won a Take Five competition for my choreography. In Berkeley I’ve studied with Leonard Pitt (mime), Dana Lawton (modern dance), and David Ford (solo performance). Since April 2018, I’ve finally taken the ballet classes at BBT I longed for when, as a child, I stared endlessly at my ballerina wallpaper.
To this mentorship project, I bring my creative ideas and humor. I hope to gain help counting my steps, conveying the steps and counts to the dancers, and bringing the piece up to performance quality.
Dance Genre: Classical, Contemporary, and Comedy
Dance Title: “Almost Late”
Music Choice: An original jazz piece, “Almost There” by Victor Spiegel. Hear it on SoundCloud:
Dance Concept: Dancers drop off their dance bags and coats and begin an Intro Ballet class with treading, cat/cow, tendus, pliés, etc. during the A section in the music (think Five Minute Hamlet, only this is a One Minute Intro Ballet Class with an imaginary barre). Eight bars in, a dancer hops late into class unsuccessfully putting on her ballet slipper, dancing with one foot bare. During improvised music sections, a line of dancers do simple pony steps, “comping” to support dancers who step out to do solos, duets, trios with the one barefooted dancer always verging on being musically late. When the A section repeats dancers peel off leaving class. The late dancer is alone when the music finishes. She looks around. The A section fades up. She dances a marvelous solo. When she finishes, a dancer brings the missing ballet slipper and puts it on her foot ala Cinderella.
Tomorrow night will be the very first time I perform THE MOBY DICK DIARIES, the whole sheebang. It’s also the first time I perform at the Exit Theater in SF.
Downstage the Exit Theater has a ladder attached to a pillar that goes up to the ceiling. It’s maybe 20 feet up. During the dance finale, I’ll climb up that pillar to the imaginary “crow’s nest” and look out over the ocean as part of my dance finale.
How high should I climb? Five feet? Ten feet? Fifteen? Twenty?????? Yowza! I haven’t decided. I’m excited to find out myself!
These days I walk around feeling like the first time I dove off the high dive at the Porterville Plunge–heart-expandingly thrilled and knee-buckling terrified at the same time in the same body.
No matter how much I’ve rehearsed, the show doesn’t exist until it’s in front of an audience. Speaking of audience, who do you know that needs a little nighttime excitement in their lives?
Please tell them about the show. And please join me for this super-charged premiere of THE MOBY DICK DIARIES Saturday the 13th or Friday the 19th.
“Andrea Mock’s The Moby Dick Diaries looks especially intriguing.”
Theater critic, Jean Schiffman, ARTS/SF Monthly
Grab your tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2912061.
Click the link to view the trailer for “Call Me Ishwhale“– the dance finale from THE MOBY DICK DIARIES.
Last year I told you about my workshop production of The Moby Dick Diaries at The Marsh in San Francisco. After a metric ton of buffing, polishing, and major permitted remodeling (OM effen G, ladies, and gents, please put two hands together for my patience-of-Job directors!), the show lunges towards its adrenaline surging, lung-pounding premiere, May 13th and 19th.
TMDD is part of the Yes To Everything Series curated by producer Mary Alice Fry. Last Sunday, theater critic Jean Schiffman wrote in the SF/ARTS monthly, “ The Moby Dick Diaries looks especially intriguing.”
YAY for me!!!
No, wait. Seriously. Everybody’s show “looks especially intriguing.” Slap some color into the cheeks of your imagination by checking out these descriptions:
If you buy a ticket online, I get 15% of the proceeds!
Here’s the updated description of my show.
THE MOBY DICK DIARIES, set during the Trump election, is an updated, semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical account of how—growing up in Porterville—Andrea Mock ended up as a Berkeley modern dance choreographer.
Your basic white girl, a goat-roper, LEE WEST, reads then decides to choreograph Moby Dick as her ticket out of her depressing, drought-stricken, California town. Blowing her off course is her eco-warrior boyfriend, DAVID MONROE, who demands “What good is Art if we all fry from global warming?” LEE’s answer is Call Me Ishwhale, a modern dance for Porterville’s Got Talent talent show. Her dance doesn’t save the earth, nor her relationship with DAVID but does save one quirky girl from a life trapped in a stifling town. Lee discovers in her bones, the joy of creation and the self-agency and strength to prevail in a romantic conflict of wills which becomes her rite of artistic passage.
The story is told with a metric ton of mime, movement and, dance with original music by composer, Victor Spiegel.
Director: Leonard Pitt
Developed With: David Ford
Performance Consultants: Mark Kenward
Original Music: Victor Spiegel