Monday, May 21, 2018

New Work! The start of Awakening and Is It Through You

I'm working on a new show...

The culminating event will be on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in March, 2019, but in the mean-time, I'll be workshopping the material in a series of shows & showings (Nov 2018 & TBA).  I hope you can come to one and chat with me after about what you see.

There are 2 parts of the show:

Awakening (25-30 min), which will be a feast for the senses and "awaken" your ears and kinesthetic awareness to the parallels of where you are now, and how it connects to the wild earth.  I will be taking my dancers and, hopefully you, on a journey from human-inhabited hovels to places in nature that have a similar spirit.  This part of the show features local dancers and the company Lucid Beings.

Here are some of the places I've created so far (which will be tweaked along the way):

  • Inside a quiet bedroom just before sleep to the forest floor at night
  • From the top of a skyscraper, to the top of a mountain
  • Inside the busy transport of a ferry to underneath the waves in a storm

What I would like to create next:

  • Inside a subway terminal and the trains to inside the byways of a cave
  • Inside a cathedral with the voices echoing to a vast rolling forest with the wind talking through the trees

This is an ongoing project that will naturally branch out as inspiration strikes. For now, a half-show seems best.

Is it Through You (20 min), is inspired by Walt Whitman "letter to a pupil" and will feature the Mountain Empire Performance Collective:

IS reform needed? is it through you?
The greater the reform needed, the greater the Personality you 
need to accomplish it.

You! do you not see how it would serve to have eyes, blood,
complexion, clean and sweet?
Do you not see how it would serve to have such a body and soul 
that when you enter the crowd an atmosphere of desire 
and command enters with you, and every one is impress'd 
with your Personality?

O the magnet! the flesh over and over!
Go, dear friend, if need be give up all else, and commence to-day 
to inure yourself to pluck, reality, self-esteem, definiteness,
Rest not till you rivet and publish yourself of your own Personality.

The theme of finding the essence of oneself, the personal purpose, the idea that to effect real change means you must dig deep and do the personal work because that is where the real and sustainable passion worth following will come from, these are all impactful themes to explore in this particular turning point in both our culture, and our art.

Within dance, we are slowly turning away from replication of our choreographer's personal body of movement, and looking to honor the gifts that come into the studio from a wealth of movement lineages.  What better time to dig deeply and do the work of acknowledging the personal lineage of our movement, and honor the individual movements that have developed along the way?

I hope to find along the way: How does this "Personality" manifest?  What will we accomplish with this elevated definition of self?  How does the acknowledgement of creating movement solely through the breadth and depth of the individual change the direction of our art? And how does that change the power structure of creation?

Tonight I head to the studio with these prompts:

  • Comfortable Phrase: Start by making movement that feels comfortable on your body. Stop. Now create a phrase that feels "comfortable" for you.
  • Identifiable Phrase: Make a phrase of movement that people would recognize as "your movement". What are those identifiers?  Tease them out and play with them. 
  • Personal Theme: Make a few short phrases that are comfortable for your body to repeat. Find the one that you feel the best with. How does it relate to "your movement"?  What could you add to make it more identifiable as you?  
  • Make-it-Your-Own Phrase: Take a phrase you see someone else performing and learn it (not too closely).  Now change it to make it "yours".  Pretend they made it for your own show.  How would you massage it to fit within your aesthetic?
  • Legacy Phrase: Recall a mover or choreographer that had a great impact on your movement.  Create a phrase that identifies them, that recalls their style. Now change it to reflect more of yourself.
  • Relating Phrase: Move about relating to the space or a person in it in a manner that feels natural to you.
    • Claim the space in your own way
    • Observe the space in your own way
    • Remove the person or literal reference to the space. Set this phrase of movement.