Like most creative people, I wear many hats and work across a handful of mediums in the quest of self-expression. Yet, one form persists as the thing most fundamental to my being, dwelling not at my fingertips or cerebrally, but at the core of my body. Perhaps it’s because I was introduced to this medium earliest on: before nervously stepping foot in my first combo ballet-tap class, I was moving and grooving topless in my front yard at dusk. Even crayons found their way into my toes, and drawing became a full-body activity.
The medium I’m addressing, of course, is dance, and viewing my relationship to it now as a choreographer, I must return to that little kid who had something to say but not the words nor the know-how to say it. Here I’ll talk about why I make moves for others (and sometimes myself) to perform in front of an audience.
I fundamentally believe that words are not enough (unless they are your medium), and that movement provides emphasis, reassurance, subtext. That gesture makes misunderstanding impossible. That abstracted gesture is feeling, memory, relationship, and irony made visible.
I believe that technology, which has all but eliminated the business world’s apparent need for face-to-face contact, has made the human world hungry for facetime–not to be confused with FaceTime. What about bodytime? Presence? Do emojis count as contact?
Performance art of the future: people sitting in a room staring at each other. Oh wait, Marina Abramovic‘s already done that.
I believe that nothing is original but everything can be made personal and most things are absurd.
Inexplicably, movement affects me viscerally. As a young dancer in New York City, I was terrified for a while that I had lost my love for dance: life was a tornado of rejections, impossibly poor body image, and a swelled misrepresentation of the importance of technique (pronounced by a jazz teacher I’d had in college with not two but three syllables: Tech-ni-Q). Fast forward to a one-way plane ticket out of the city, and seeing and writing about countless concerts–everything from NDT to Southern California’s local Laguna Dance Festival–left me convicted over and over again that dance is simply part of me.
As it is part of me so too does it insist on wriggling its way out of me as my life unfolds. Aside from making dance work as a personal processing mechanism, I am fortunate to be growing into a professional life that includes co-directing a collaborative group of dancers and artists of varied disciplines, writing about the arts, and spending time with groups of dance artists in residency-type settings, such as with Yaledancers (2015) and New York City-area artists at Mana Contemporary (2014).
Lastly, I want to address process. I believe in simply showing up and making; in editing; in being precise; in working with diverse groups of people. I want dancemaking to pull me out of myself, for it to bring my body into a room with other bodies from other backgrounds to investigate, identify, and invent a language. I believe in combining mediums. I want to imagine our audience: what will hold their interest? what will give them access to the work? I want to value dancers’ unique bodies, to allow and encourage their interpretation of my cues. I want us all to get lost in movement before coming back to Earth to examine our motives, narratives, composition, and the poetic imagery each gesture holds.