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.
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.