July 8, 2017, 2:49 pm
I have been improvising to my music. It's interesting to allow myself the pleasure of moving without composing. When I do find myself in composition, that is when my habit seems to appear the most. I inhabit my head in a certain way, an awareness of other even when I am alone in the room. What is up with that? How can I be alone in the space but still aware of a presence outside of myself, a jugdement? Who is this person in the space with me and how is there invisible presence shapping my decision making? Why is there a sense that I am making, that there is an audience, that I am being seen? How does that shape my thought presence, my embodiment?
There are moments when I am in the room with others that I don’t move as though I am being seen, and there are moments when I am alone in the space and I am moving for myself, moving for healing, for house keeping, moving because I need to, moving because every part of me begins to feel stuck, every part of me begins to feel stagnant, and moving is what I need to do to keep things moving- to find a release, a flow, a ripple, circulating, what is this idea of circulating? what is circulating? How is it circulating?
I am finding after the training this summer than I have a stronger sense of memory while dancing, that images from my life seem to visit me as I am moving. I am also more present with my vision, considering where I am, seeing space, placing myself inside of spaces, that there are others with me even when I am alone, that I am somewhere not here, somewhere real, somewhere imagined. I am finding that I need to be in the studio, that being in the studio is like breath, and what I like about the studio is its stability, its clean, clear, stable ground, a freedom to move without fear of stumbling, cuts, splinters, I like the windows, the light feeding in. I like the firmness, the massage of rolling on the surface, massaging all parts
What just happened in my dancing? What could I describe? I was rolling on the floor switching between two ways of seeing, seeing the ground beneath my feet and then the space above my head. I am playing with gesture, internal rotation of my arms, the stutter of my legs as it rond de jambes, I am thinking about my students, my teaching, my performing.
There are moments when I desire for new friendships when I just want the excitement of getting to know somone, really getting to know them, building intimacy. I crave intimacy; this is something I know about myself, I desire relationships where there is mutal sharing, where someone is letting me in. What are the relationships between people? How are they built, maintained? How does this tie in to beginnings and endings- the beginnings and endings of relationships? How we come together, meet, build community, how we say goodbye, how we let go? Maybe this is my next dance – a dance about coming together, how to stay together, how to let go. I am realizing that I often fight to stay in a friendship far past its expiration date, it is hard for me to let go of intimacy once it has been built. This is my next dance.
I have not posted any of my writing recently. While my practice has been inconsistent, I have been continuing this process of moving and writing, writing and moving. Here are some slightly edited free-writes:
I just finished dancing in the studio and now I am beginning my 16 minute writing practice. How will this experience be differnet after moving? As I was moving today, I was finding myself having a hard time with the mirror. This idea of survelliance is continuing to pop up for me. When do I survey myself? When do I change my behaviors because I feel as though I am beign watched? The mirror makes me consider what my movements look like to audience, how my movements are being read. As I was improvising today I was thinking about making. I was thinking about editing a current solo and I think the idea of a distilled image was really speaking me to me. I remember dances based on images, images that stick with me, images that are provoking or engaging in some way, and I am drawn to repetition as an audience member, I like watching something again and again and again, I like to see how each repetition brings something new to life and how the repetition is connected to embodiment, that somehow the grove gets deeper, the movement more clear. Its funny that I love repetition within a work but I hate repetition of a work. Or perhaps its just that I don’t like repeating a work that I don’t enjoy, that doesn’t do something for me as a performer and then it’s the question of how many times do I need to perform a work before it ceases to do that thing for me. It is about the space and time between each repetition? .
I am proud of my writing challenge. 16 minutes for now is about all I can muster. I find myself getting antsy toward the end but I will work on sustaining, developing my concentration, the ability to drop into myself. In my moving today I was thinking ahead to my dance this fall. I think I want to assign a text? I want to make the reading more rigorous, I want to come up with more content to use as research beforehand? I have learned a lot from this semester of making. I am learning to gernerate material, lots of materials, and then figure out its thingness, then figure out the structure, the form, the images, the content. I want to create a schedule for myself where we make for a certain amount of weeks, structure, and then work, work, work on embodiment and performance. That pattern seemed to work well this semester. I want to continue to think about landscapes. To think about time, to think about what space my work is occupying. And repetition – why always repetition? I feel as though I am beginning to figure out how I work best with others, but I am curious to see what that challenge will be If I work with less experienced movers, with less committed movers. I am beginning to see and feel my strengths, and I want to keep following my curiousity, keep reading.
No edit. Why is that so hard for me? Why do I have such a strong desire to edit as I go? Why is it so difficult to just generate?
A minute and half to go and I just cant sustain it. And I feel frustrated with myself, I know that this work is so important, I know that if if I am going to be in relation to others that I have to do the work myself. And I am working on prioritizing the work. I know that this will be a journey.
I just finsihed moving in my backyard and the question of where am I when I am improvising came up. I was at times located in my backyard, noticing the unevennges of the tiers, noticing bugs crawling in the grass, noticing sounds, surfaces, textures, but at times I was located in the studio, at times I was moving in front of an audience - my neighbors, my students, my next performance, in the past, with people I have danced with, for, places I have moved, I was at JC Pennys working through some Jennifer Wood movement patterns, dancing with Kristin, Lindsey, Shanon, people who pushed my movement vocabuarly and I wish that I could have made dancing with them work long term, that process excited me, but I couldnt get away from my politics of labor, and how labor is recognized, how labor is appreciated, seen.....
At times I was thinking about teaching - how do I go about teaching technique and this notion is getting more and more complicated for me.....I learned how to dance through ballet and through improvising....ballet gave me form, it taught me how to make shapes, it taught me precision, footwork
improvisation taught me how to move, how to take up space, how to be coordianated, it taught me how to make transitions, how to embody and show up, it taught me presence and pleasure
what has modern class taught me....anything? I am curious about how to necogicate these things for myself, why teach choregraphy....do I want to learn someones choreography in class, in what ways is that useful, what does it teach me about dancing? how can i bridge this gap?
this mosquito bite on my forehead is driving me bat shit crazy.
I am not sure how to articulate AT and dancing. I am not yet sure I know what AT is....this idea of wholeness, habit, and making choices keeps coming back. How can I perform a piece and respond in that moment? how can I not let my habits of phrasinig dictate my impulse, how can I locate impulse that is not dictated by habit, informed, but not dictated? how can I allow for a new possibilitity, a new version of that movement that I have not performed, a new unfolding, why that word, why do I constantly come back to the idea of somehting unfolding????
how do I teach young dancers to conduct embodied research - how does one show up with their politics, how do I give censored name a platform to express her frustrations with micro agressions, her experiences in educaiton, how do I give her space to share her fucked up experience of the world, how do I see the ways in which my education / habits show up in my teaching???
Can I start each class with a question?
beginning and endings.....
i am most sucessful when I create a space where we are learning together....but how do I share what I know, what they need to know, how do i claim my authority???
can i take the time to really see what is coming into my field of vision while dancing?
how can i move from my trunk, how can i think less limbs?
how can I light up my spine while dancing, how can I envision my spine, its thickness, its location, the space around it,
what will I do with all this writing?bout the gap between my understanding as a student, when i ngelou,ad the past, I thought that these issues, their voices were representing somehting that hadppened, somehting that no longer happened, I was not able to see that I am racist. I will always racist, that growing up white in the country has made me racist and that t it will show up in ways I don't see, cant see. that when I read about now, it mid not know thatere happening all around me, how reading has allowed me to see the world from another perspective, but I dont know what to do with that information, I can aknowledge it....but what do I do with it, how do I show up in the world, how do I make the world better, how do I teach epartment??
My goal is to improvise for 30 minutes every day.....
Today I attempted the shaking score for 10 minutes.
I also considered what it would like to teach outside for one week. How does technique exist outside of the dance studio? Away from the set up we consider to be the necessary environment for moving.
What movements are "safe" to be performed outdoors; how does one care for the body? How does one explore the vision, the use of sight? There are so many more things to engage the senses with, how do you also stay tuned into the self, into the experience of moving? How does outer landscapes begin to permeate with inner landscapes? How can one distinguish between innner / outer - it is poissible to differenetiate, or is it a whole?
How does one tune their attention, drop into the work performatively?
How can I make a one week syllabus that establishes these research questions- that makes the technique process more clear for the students, for myself, that allows that research to show up in an explicit way?
Where we dance - silmultaneous events
Making dance seen
Making our labor, work, effort seen
We are not hiding in the studio, blurring the lines between in here and out there.....
Who gets to dance - does space dictate practice?
What permission needs to happen?
How to protect from the environment- how to make choices that support your systems, the care of oneself?
I am curious about what it means to trace surfaces with the eyes- to trace a space, to duet with a space, to partner with the space?
I am curious about the ways in which we notice "other", the ways in which we notice the space, and this includes grass. How does one partner with the grass? With a tree? With the air? How does one allow the earth to support - can you notice the uneven surfaces, what does that teach us about balance?
Why do I want to dance outside- there are no walls. There are less boundaries but more boundaries all at the same time. It is a challenge to ignore the fact that I am seen, that others can see me.
Shaking, it was difficult to think of creative ways to shake and then I wonder why I needed creative ways to shake, couldn't I just shake? What does shaking make me aware of, why shake? What does it do - somehting about being constantly in motion, something about liberating the flesh from the bone, something about energy that went out, something about flow.
Writing practices after moving practices...how long to follow?
I want to be more bold in my moving on uneven surfaces - I tend to stabilize in my feet and move upper against a stable lower - can I find ways of moving quick and with energy, power and still protect my ankles?
How does moving outside allow you to see things from different persepctives? How is being upside down completely different outside then it is inside?
How does one relate to the environment? How are we activating a space? How is a space activating us?
Why do I have a desire to teach a week out of the studio? What do I hope this will do for the students? For myself? For my practice?
What is this next dance going to about? Where is the research going to start from? beginnings...endings.....that seems like a good place to start.
I hold so much tension in my toungue.....
Tongue in time out as part of my summer project?
How I sit as part of my summer project?
How expansive can my summer project be?
I want writing to be a part of my summer project....
Improvisation and the alexander technique....
but how to be more specific.....
Wednesday, April 26th 16 minutes
And so begins my daily practice of writing. I am going to try and be disciplined about this practice. What has happened so far, what am I noticing? I am feeling my feet on the floor, my sitz bones on the chair and I am noticing my impulse to want to lean forward, and I am trying to be aware of this forward propelling through space and taking a moment to lean back, to find the back of my sitz bones to feel more of my pelvis on the chair, to let the back of my pelvis come to the chair in order to let the front of my body release more, that when I lean forward, the front of me, especially my hip flexors has to be over engaged. Over engaged, under engaged, what is the right amount of engagement - how does one teach students to be engaged? What does that look like?
I know that in repertory and research the students are doing deep performative research, I can see that in their performance, I can see how each experience is different, that they are showing up in the work each time and in slightly new and different ways, I can see them finding ways of experimenting with performance. And I wonder if that is something I fostered or just the students I have in the room. I know that I have proposed constant experiments with the work, try this, try that, what if you thought about this, and perhaps it is that modeling, that paying attention to how they are performing the movements that has encouraged that level of commitment and engagement. I am beginning to realize how invested I am in how movement is performed, how to speak through the body and that the repetitions of the movement is so important in figuring out what they are, in understanding their flavor, in understanding what movement can do to the body- how embodying these different physical textures and tones can actually shift my experience of the world, how it can shift my being in the world, how the work can literally take me places, into new territory, into new ways of functions, living, embodying, showing up. I dance because it allows me to experience the world differently, to find out.
Nowhere to go received a terrible review but somehow it didn’t bother me because I was confident in what the work was doing for me. That the work allowed me to transform, that the work took me to a different time and place and reality and I couldnt, didn’t want to, leave it. And that I need that world, I need a space and time where I can mourn. I need a space and time where I can feel the weight and significance of this event in my life and my body, because the rest of my life doesn’t afford me that opportunity, I don’t have a place where I feel comfortable or able to express those parts of myself, I don’t have a time that is appropriate to mourn because life just keeps on going, it doesn’t stop, it doesn’t pause to allow you to recover, it just goes on. And I have a habit of moving forward, of taking each step without looking back, of ignoring, of not processing, of throwing myself into the new, and dance provides me the space to slow down, to feel, to really feel deeply, to listen, where in our lives is their time for deep inner listening? and how is this inner listening charged in performance?
I am working on my ability to drop in. To any and all activities. What does it feel like to be fully involved in every aspect of your life? What does it mean to be focused, tuned in, showing up in every task of your life? I learned how to drop in with dancing- while improvising and I am slowly zooming out now. How can I apply this process, this state of being, this invovlement, this commitment, this state of flow to other aspects of my life? While bowling? Or while typing, I used to think that I need my physicality to get to that place, that in order for my whole self to be involved my whole self needed to be active but I am learning how to apply this process of showing up to other tasks and it is not sustainablele for a full day, this pin point focus is not possible to maintain but being in the place is satsfying, being in the place feels like play, it feels easy, comforting, calming, satisfying, it is a sense that I am here in the now rather than being distracted.
What does being distracted do? When is being distracted healthy? Productive? Is it about being on task or is about how you are showing up in the task?
I took a long pause and it is becoming more difficult to sustain my writing- my body is starting to ache a bit, or perhaps I am beginning to feel more connected to these parts, that I am bringing them into the whole and therefore I am beginning to hear them. there is a difference right? Pain shows up because you are showing up, you are listening so things that have always been there are beginning to be heard.
I am constantly wondering what do I have to offer- and I see that now but I don’t know how to write about it- I don’t know how to articulate it so that I can publish it. and why publish? What is with this impulse to compose. And that is the difference, I have had a lifetime habit of free writing, but now I am beginning to have an impulse to compose my writing, but I feel as though I don’t have the idea, I don’t know what to hold onto to compose.
April 25, 2017, 15 minutes free write
. . . censored writing . . .
I am interested in teaching a course that looks at the ways in which dance making has the ability to effect change. How does dance provide us with opportunities to reimagine the world and why is protest so closely connected to those ideas for me?
Why is it that when I make a dance, I feel the most stable? When I am making a dance, I am making sense of the world. I am figuring out how to exist in this world. In many ways, dance has replaced religion for me. Religion was once the process that guided me through my life; it was where I turned to for comfort, for peace; it was what soothed and calmed me. Instead, dance has filled that void, moving, being in dialogue with others.
What is the difference between dialogue and discussion? I am beginning to see how these words are so important, these differences so important in describing my work. How do I teach, practice dialogue in a movement studio class? How does dialogue different in technique then traditional ways of working? How do I teach the students to value dialogue? How do I teach students to value other ways of working than an external force driving them? How do I teach students to intrisically care about the work? To be motivated from within? To create their own agenda? What readings / writings do I need to use within class to promote these ideas and how is this connected to strength / power/ skills that are needed and valued. In other words, how do I want to teach form in a way that promotes freedom, agency, and autonomy? How can form, specificity correspond with freedom? How can being specific about what they are doing and how they are doing still allow the space for them to be indviduals? What does specificity allow in dance? What does unison as a form do? What does canon as a form do? Why do these forms exist within our practices? So first perhaps it is a process of recognizing the value in these forms, unpacking why they may exist, and their strengths and powers within the form. And then after naming how they are useful, how they are serving the work, it allows us to see when they may be appropriate. When these forms may serve the work, live within the work and make sense, to be useful. I have a lot of questions about unison dancing, but I haven’t figured out yet how to make work without it. And I think that this is where watching work would be useful, looking for the unison and naming what it is doing for the work, looking at how other choreographers are negociating these ideas and also noticing and naming what other structures they have used.
I feel good about solos, trios, maybe even a quartet; it is the larger works that I begin to question what to do with the bodies in the space. And I don’t want to have the bodies leave the space, I want to figure out how to function together. And perhaps that is also a reflection of my life- I am good in small numbers, I know how to engage people in small numbers, but when it starts getting larger, when there are more people to mangae, to engage with, to socialize with, I begin to feel confusion. I get less enjoyment, or pleaure because I don’t know how to function within those spaces. I don’t know how to engage deeply, to have conversations that matter, to not be superficial. I have trouble deciding which convertsion to track or how long a conversation should last before I let that person socialize with others. So in many ways it seems like my discomfort with large numbers has to do with both my experiences in making and my experiences with life. Exceptions to the rule are when I made the site dance at San Jacinto College South - there was a clear external motivator for engagement. Students could make / explore their own phrases but be organized in the space -
I am beginning to see how watching other artists work could be useful- by looking at it within a specific frame work. This is the kind of thinking I want to promote in my students- an interest in something that drives their engagement. I want to teach them to think about dance as research- to explore what that looks like- I think I need to ask students to be more specific with their work- and I am getting there-
I was thinking yesterday about my idea that students allow me to learn more about myself, they do so because they force me to think more deeply about my own work and experiences. Students focus my attention in a way that I am not capable of on my own. By thinking deeply about how to best support their work, on how to provide them with feedback, on how to problem solve their questions / concerns, it forces me to thinking deeply about how I engage with dance. It providses me with clarity and allows me the opportunity to articulate what it is I am thinking about dance.
Once I know what is next I want to make it a priority to set some goals and schedules for msyelf. I miss writing and I want to carve out time each day for this practice. I am feeling exhausted, almost as if I don’t care if I get a job.... typing doesn't work because it is too easy too erase. It is too easy to press delete, to censor, to wipe out the ideas that don’t satisfy, the ideas that I am afraid of.
Dance making is a way of being. It is a way to know and understand myself and the world arrond me. It is a way of getting to know intimately another human being. I am asking my dancers to open themselves up in the process. I am asking them to be vulnerable. What does it mean to be vulnerable- it means to be open to change, it means allowing the world to permeate you, it means keeping the borders/ wall down, it means noticing resistance and questioning it. It means being available, present, it means saying yes to the uncomfortable.
I am good at making conversation, I am good at asking others questions about themselves. I am interested in their journey, because in some way their journey influences mine, the knowledge they have gained is passed on to me.
How can I cultivate myself as a whole person?
How can I develop the writing part of me, the part of me that desires to be published?
How can I believe more fully that these things matter?
Somewhere along the way things are loosing their fire. I don’t feel as fired up; I am loosing that energy, that thirst, that push….but at the same time the dreams are getting bigger, I am making space for my reality to expand. I am still driven, but the make or break it feeling is gone. The feeling that this one thing is the most important thing in the world. The feeling that every action is life or death. Is it because I am starting to deal with actual death? It the reality of loosing the living making me see more clearly or is it making me jaded?
I find myself holding my breath. That there is a tension in my lungs, in my ribs, a holding on, a holding on so tightly so that I won't fall apart, or that I am trying to keep it all in. I feel a deep exhaustion today because I think I had been holding it all in, keeping it all together, and today I am letting the seams fall loose, the adrenaline is fading and the reality of a new day is upon me.
Open wide, yawn. stretch the face. My face needs stretching, it needs opening I have been holding so much in my face.
What kind of book would I want to write? What do I have to offer the world? It is something about dance? Or something about living? Is it telling the story of my journey thus far? It is research?
I feel less likely to deal with others bullshit. I find myself drifting. Drifting as the . . . I can’t make it happen on my own. I can’t expect myself to hold myself accountable to doing it all. I need guideliens, parameters.
I think I need to start small. Type for 5 straight minutes without stopping, and then add a few minutes every day. To build my concentration is a new way is going to take time, take effort, to build stamina in any practice takes patience, determination, and perseverance. I expect so much from myself. why? Why do I expect the world from me? Is it because I believe I can do it? Is it because I want to have a full life? Is it because I want to feel like not a second has been wasted? It is because I am afraid of death? It is because I am happier when I am doing things?
How difficult it was to name what I did not see while walking backwards.
Walking through space and reading your writing aloud to yourself
No judgement. That has been a difficult space to get myself into.
I am doing my best to balance the physical with the theoretical, giving myself the time and space to listen to myself as a whole and the only way I know how to do do that is in dance, in moving, in motion. When I am still, I loose a sense of my physicallity. I feel disconnected to so much of myself and perhaps that is the task- perhaps the task is to dive deeply into this way of being no matter what I am doing- to be able to stay and return to breath, return to support.
I question giveness - that is such an important term- questioning is this the way it has to be?
how to bring these things to surface
there are things that I know, I know them with my whole self, I know them intuitively but how can I express them? How can I express this way of knowing? How can it crystalize and become more clear or become clear in another way?
I am trying to get back into my habit of writing and dancing.
Taking time to take care of myself, to cultivate msyelf, to use studio time as a personal housekeeping.
I think that is where I have made some mistakes in making, not all movement belongs on the stage. How can I be OK throwing stuff out, getting rid of material., not being so precious, not being se decisive but seeing what emerges?
I remember rolling and pouring, experimenting with ways of rolling with my arms and legs. Where do they go? How do I flip from one side to another? What do my limbs do? How can they make different points of contact? something about spiral is satisfying but also disorienting. Getting dizzy- why do children love that action so much. What is so necessary about a roll? Why do I want to roll continuously in one direction? What is my resistance about coming back the way I came. Visually, in the body, reversing the direction feels like a wrong choice. What is is about the speed of that activity? Moment. Surface contact. Feeling of weight, touch. Floor. What developmentally does rolling do?
Point of contact.
contained. fluid. skin. (episodes)
realm of possibility
to find out
I have set an alarm for 30 minutes. My goal is to write for the entire time. Free writing, keeping the flow going and not stopping, not editing, not trying to write something that is witty and clever and for keeps.
.....many random words on the page.....
I am failing at my 30 minutes, I am unable to sustain my attention for that long. I know however, that writing is a muscle, it is something I will build towards. At times in my life, improvising for 30 minutes seemed impossible. I have not figured out how to maintain my concentration while writing / typing. I do not have the endurance, the capacity to continue. I feel a need to edit, a need to put to page words that are meaningful, words that have the power to influence. Isn’t that why I write? Don’t I write because I have something I want to say, something I want heard, not because I receive pleasure in writing? Or do I write to figure it out, as a process, as a way of unpacking, a way of giving myself focus and direction? It is curious that I care so much about why I am doing this…...it is also curious that something about writing makes me uncomfortable and instead of facing or embracing this discomfort, I allow myself to be distracted, to lose focus, to wander not in my writing but in other activities. I think I need to learn how to wander while writing. Instead of stopping, quitting, what are strategies for continuing this process instead of embarking on a difference process? Can I make myself continue to type even when I don’t think I have something worth saying? Can I stay in the task, building stamina? Like moving, can I tell myself that it is ok to just show up, that whatever I write, that is the material? Why do I have a different standard for moving then writing? Why do I have a different set of values to apply towards this task? In moving, I accept that some days in the studio I will not make something worth keeping. Yet I have difficulty putting the same time and energy into my writing….
Five more minutes….
And I don’t know if I can follow through, I am not sure I can make myself finish this task. Put words to page, why is that so hard?
I find that posting online keeps me accountable, thus I am embarking on a daily writing challenge for myself. Whatever is written will be posted here; it will be raw, sometimes unfocused, and mostly unedited.
As I sit here with my feet planted on the floor, I find my mind wandering. I have tasked myself with the goal of writing daily, working towards publishing for the sake of publishing and not because I feel as though I have something worth sharing. Writing as a way of organizing my thoughts; writing as a way of figuring out. In my process oriented life I find writing as a means to an end impossible. It is why I hated writing papers for graduate school; it is why I am hesitate to return to school for a PhD. Writing to figure out, that I can get behind. Writing to learn, to unfold, to understand, to unpack an experience, an idea, a sensation.
It is the same in the studio. I can spend hours in the studio moving for the sake of connecting to my self. Yet there is a moment where what I am exploring becomes something. When a nugget of an idea takes form and from there the making is satisfying, the shaping, the narrowing, the repeating until it is just right, until a connection is made, until I enter a state of flow.
And I come back to this idea of flow and how it is so important to my dance making. Flow is like an inner compass that tells me that what I am doing is right; flow is when I can maintain my concentration, attention, and when I am living. I am not processing my living; I am not questioning my choices; I am not disembodied, analyzing what I am doing and why I am doing it.
I think that is why I am so miserable in my life right now. I am questioning my choices. I am wondering how I got here, why I am here, I am not confident, not sure of my footing and it is an uncertainty that takes me outside of my self. It is an uncertainty that makes me unhappy,
Being present for me is being in a state of flow where I feel as though my whole self is one. I am not distracted; I feel centered, calm, at peace no matter what is happening because I am fully present. I am not concerned with how slow time is passing; I am only concerned with the task at hand. I cannot worry; I can only be.
This is a blog of processes. Through the sharing of media and writing I am following my impulses, teasing out and unpacking, translating, solidifying, and making concrete my investigations into something that can be shared.