Laura Poole is restaging Bella Lewitzky’s Suite Satie for Indiana University’s Contemporary Dance Program. A onetime member of Bella Lewitsky’s Dance Company, Poole is also a former IU faculty member.
She has a variety of reasons for the project. “I wanted to bring Bella’s works to a larger audience. She passed away in 2004, and I wanted her repertory to live on and to reach people everywhere, especially here in the Midwest where I did my work. So with Nora Reynolds Daniel, her daughter, we decided that Suite Satie would be most appropriate to restage.”
The Challenge of ‘Lyricness’
“It’s a visually beautiful piece,” Poole goes on. “It’s a lyric piece. It’s easy to watch and to relate to, and the music is beautiful. For the students, the technique is very difficult. It requires a tremendous amount of core strength and an attention to space, to sculpting space. I think that [working on] it has added to their palate of abilities. Also, there’s a ‘lyricness’ about the piece that has challenged them as well.”
A Link To The Past
Laura Hunter is an IU senior who dances a solo in Suite Satie. Laura not only had a chance to work with Laura Poole; she also had a week with Nora Reynolds Daniel.
“I think the week with Nora Reynolds Daniel was very helpful for us as students, because it gave us a direct link to Bella. We never knew Bella Lewitzky; we never trained with her. So having Nora as well as Laura here was very special and helpful to us.”
For this piece, the dancers had to learn a different style of movement altogether. Hunter explains, “The Lewitzky Technique was new. It’s different than ballet, jazz, or classical modern. There’s a lot of focus on core strength, and initiations are different as are intentions. The technique is demanding, but I love it. Satie Suite is the most challenging dance I’ve had to learn—ever—in my entire life”
It was a challenge for the students. “This piece was set for professional dancers,” Hunter says. “And not only were they professionals; they were in their thirties, and I’m twenty one—but it was very exciting and fun!”