Open Movement at Brooklyn Studios for Dance, 11/23

This Monday Movement Series‘ event at Brooklyn Studios for Dance was Authentic Movement lead by Katie Workum.

Some of my thoughts during this wonderful, quiet, three and a half person movement exploration:

  1. It is the watcher that gives movement, not the mover – i.e. I was so concerned that I was being too choreographic with my movement, until I became the witness and took a step back from my internal processing.  Then I realized that as a witness I could choose or choose not to view the movements before me as performance, compositionally sound, and that it was my viewing them, the perception, that made them choreographic or not in a compositional sense.  Therefore, although even while I was dancing I was perceiving it compositionally, that didn’t necessarily mean others were, or that I was doing the exercise incorrectly.  It meant that I was viewing my own movement from an internal eye as I was doing it.
  2. That there are as many techniques as there are bodies, which is to say people. Technique is fun to think about for me, and how it is and isn’t the same as style. I like thinking about the words we use to talk about dance. But what I thought about watching these fellow women in the midst of their authentic movement is that each of us dance in our own technique, our own already established vocabulary through life experiences and anatomy. And that when we learn choreography we can attempt to inhabit the technique of another body in all its specificity for just a moment. 

I’ll be writing more on dance soon. I’m going to be watching a lot of choreography in December, and I’ll be performing with Progeny Dance in January and February. 

Poems from New York #4

Some questions that are now

from the past:

Do you have to burn something to stay warm?

What is it with (those) (your) green pants?

How can you stay in the house all day and …. ?

However, there is no basement in the Alamo.

Why would you put books on a shelf no one can reach? It’s kind of like a glass ceiling, right? You think I can’t see it, but I can feel it there. I can even see the stars on the other side. How can you stay in the house all day – ralph lemon gus solomon bill t jones

How can you?

Poems from New York, #2

about my mother, and the hornbeam trees

underneath this

there is a passage

loose, rocky soil,

ideal for aloe, that unlikely balm,

except for climate.

What I see here, instead,

are mostly weeds I can’t identify

and too much brick

cement steps

a “yard” made of gravel

a man diligently tending the next

concrete plot

over there

and this one I sit in

a stranger

neglected

just a bit.

Hart St. Brooklyn, NY

Some thoughts on the feath3r theory Presents: Another 37 Reasons To Cry (A Warholian Production)

“Art asks questions; architecture answers questions.  Art is uncomfortable; architecture is comfortable.” – Rasmus Waern & Gert Wingårdh

I read these words a few hours before viewing Another 37 Reasons to Cry on October 2, 2015.  What follows are some thoughts I had during and after viewing this performance.  They are not intended to be a review in any way; they are more of an impression, perhaps approaching feedback.

Ralph Lemon was looking for the perfect gesture.  I think the perfect gesture is that which is becoming something.  When Amy fell first in part II, a kind of messy lean back with a front attitude, and Raja caught her, it felt like that almost that makes the perfect gesture.  It was almost falling almost sweet almost something almost everything, clasped tightly.  I think Raja and his cast found the perfect gesture to answer some question, but I don’t know what the question was yet.

The end of the piece confused me, caught me by surprise, and felt like I was coming out of a trance.  Either because I was sleepy, or because this was the desired effect.

Wanting to suck on something – to put one’s mouth on something – to clasp tightly, with both hands

Uncertain contract – For me, there was an uncertain contract between the performers and the audience.  At first, because audience members were cajoled onstage to hold tubes that later emitted a large bang and a lot of silver confetti (that interacted stunningly with the lighting for the duration of the piece), I told myself to expect some kind of interaction.  And because the narrative material in the program was so charged, I expected that we as audience members would be held accountable or active in some way.  This expectation was never filled, and I felt very comfortable watching the anger, violence, and vulnerability portrayed onstage.  And so I felt safe, and really, not that discomfited.  Rather than a challenge to act, the piece read more like a repeat or a replay of recent history or of the noise of everyday life.  And I felt like it had no resolution.  Not that the present moment or recent current events have a resolution either. But in general I expect some kind of resolution from art.  Overall, I suppose, my expectations were not met.

It felt like something I could “read.”  I was aware that I was someone who regularly watches dance while I was watching it.

And it feels now, a few days later, as if the program handed to us was for shock value, while the piece itself was so devoid of that.  Or maybe it just feels like I’m confused about why the program was the way it was.

It felt like a collective of individuals, together, in disarray.

Click here for more information about the piece on which I’ve been ruminating.

almost  caught  falling  uncertainly  clasped  tightly  together 

Poems from New York, #1

When you understand

why art exists.

Because without it

Why live?

We follow what is pure

If impractical

And that is why I ache

(In different ways)

To protect you

(All of you)

Each day

~

There is a necessary step

And then another step

Which is really just a step

~

The city of waiting around

the city of being late for

tomorrow

~

I don’t believe we ever

kick the tentacles of the white lily

once it makes its first grasp

~

We just go on

fighting

if we are lucky

Check-In #4

A new post is coming soon!

Some things that have happened:

  • Progeny Dance apprenticeship ended well! We had a little showing and got to “perform” what we’d been working on all in a row. It’s a lot of material!
  • I figured out how to turn the side porch into a dance studio…
  • Halestone Dance Studio has an open house tomorrow during the Community Festival in downtown Lexington, see link here.  Show up with the kids!
  • I’ve been writing at the creek, about the river, and away from the river. Some of that may show up here!

Stay tuned, a longer post is coming soon. xo

Immersive Impressions of SFDI (Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation) 

“At the furthest reaches of the world often occur new marvels and wonders, as though Nature plays with greater Freedom secretly at the edges of the world than she does openly and nearer to us in the middle of it.” – Ranulph Higden   

Playing badminton with Oscar Kosky, rising third grader, in his backyard in rural Virginia.  Watching his body fall over and over again (very beautifully and completely subconsciously).  Watching his badminton racket become an extension of his body.  Thinking that perhaps dance benefits rather than is diminished by being more open to all forms of movement.  Imagining a summer camp based around an appreciation for all movements: sports, art, dance, science –> hiking, soccer, swimming, kayaking, frisbee, modern dance, ballet, West African dance, improvisation, hip hop, CI, tag, hide and go seek, tai chi, movement forms I can’t list here from my frame of reference, and on and on and on… With high levels of rigor. 

Should rigor be porous? Would that be inclusive? What do we mean by these things, these words? 

A score for a score within a score, and a way to escape: as if something to get stuck on; safety in numbers 

What would you say if you knew people would listen the way you believe you’re listening to them? – I ask myself. 

What does it mean to be a geologist’s daughter? A geologist’s dancer? Daughter of deep silence.  Daughter of deep time.  Daughter of geologic time.  Daughter of waiting for water. 

Hybrid practice:  with a partner, hold hands and walk through the space (in this case the park), for five minutes timed. One person in the pair has their eyes closed the entire time. At the end of five minutes switch roles and repeat. After, take a picture, write an email, text, letter, etc. and send it to someone that you care about or love. The letter/picture/text/email in some way describes the experience of walking with eyes closed and the experience of being in the park.  

The perfect gesture is something not quite known or almost fully achieved – it is at the cusp of being established as what it is.  

The perfect gesture is not interesting to me.  
Momentum gains mass// my presence in place is momentum gaining mass 

In public parks I think there should be “human-recreation free” zones with planted trees that in 100 years will be forests that remain.  

Bearing certain stupid scars – the title of our dance 

And Onye Ozuzu’s son passes me by on his way up wooden bleachers and he handles my body like he does the stairs, tools to get where he’s going.  And I like that environment that, guarded openly and porously rigorously so that it is safe for a child to do that to an adult he doesn’t know.  But more so I love that environment that causes him to think that he should (use bodies as stairs).  

 The Underscore.  Drawn.  

SAM Olympic Sculpture Park

  

  

Andrew asked, “Why improvise?” And to myself I answer: “For me, improv is the freedom to choose what to follow, what to take responsibility for, as myself, freedom to chose my own movements and morals.” 

……….

New projects and poems… 

Women

FAIR Week #2 and #3 

The last two weeks at FAIR I became more comfortable disciplining and teaching the children, and I enjoyed it a lot more.  Showing videos at the beginning and discussing dance was very helpful for the rest of the lesson.

Here is what I showed them:

Monday: Oatka Trail (1979) by Garth Fagan

Tuesday: Oyster (1991) by Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak

Wednesday: AGWA (2008) by Compagnie Käfig/ Pavement (2012) by Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion

Thursday: Lines Cubed (2012) by Jessica Lang

Friday: Bleu! by Compagnia TPO

Overall, I think the kids enjoyed Oyster and Lines Cubed the most. The kids constantly surprised me, both with what they picked up on and what they didn’t. I continually had to redirect the conversation back to a discussion of the movement, rather than simply the costuming, set, props, or lighting elements.  I think that movement is more abstract a concept than these other, more spectacular elements, and therefore harder for kids to grasp at a glance.  But overall it worked well to use part of class time to go over some basic dance history and then to use that to jump start the rest of the lesson.  I think that with slightly older kids it would have worked even better.  

Interestingly to me, the Garth Fagan piece was more useful for teaching specific movements and dance vocabulary than many of the other pieces I showed, perhaps because of the way the clip is filmed, but also, as one of the older pieces out of of those I chose to show (choreographed in 1979), the movements Fagan created and used are slightly more codified and adhere to traditional ballet or modern vocabulary, and therefore were able to be picked apart and taught to young children. (Tangent: this reminds me that I want to research dance vocabulary in general, and by that I mean, the vocabulary of the dance world.  Words like phrase, combination, front, vocabulary, technique, structure, composition, and so on and so on, get absorbed into our bodies and brains as young dancers, but do not always hold the same distinct meaning across disciplines, teachers, and students. So this is a reminder to self, for something I want to investigate inside teaching and choreography.) 

During the third week I primarily used class time to build small dances for the kids’ Friday showing for the parents.  Within these dances I used the same basic structure: partner entrances, a unison section, something else if the kids could handle it, then a finale type ending with solos, duets, or trios that the kids themselves choreographed.  In the spirit of Halestone and Nancy Saylor, my early dance training, I let the kids create as much of the movement material as possible, and I just did the arranging.  

In other news… I’m posting this update from my friend Madeline’s house in Seattle, as today is the first day of the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, hosted by Velocity Dance Center, which I will be attending, and writing about here! Check back soon for more!