Posts Tagged ‘Movement’

Generate a Phrase

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve always struggled generating phrases. When attempting to generate a phrase, I find myself trying to locate meaning to every movement that occurs. To combat this tendency, I began to question my understanding of “meaning” in a dance work. A movement can be meaningful and have importance without it being directly correlated to a theme/idea/concept. I also believe that an investigation of your concept through physicality must occur. This may not be the case for every process, but the sake of this piece I wanted to go in that direction.

I began with the idea of groups and the many layers and tensions that arise when a group is being formed. That notion of tension I then began translating on a physical level – where in my body can I generate tension? This led me to investigate torque within the body – the tension of twisted body. I found it interesting the language I chose to use to aid in remembering the phrase. Below is an excerpt:

Right wrist presses left knee

Right elbow attacks right hip

Extended wrists out

Bitch slap



Below is a demonstration of those instructions:


What is Structure? The Beginning of a Dance

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

In the beginning of Group Forms, an important question was raised – what is structure? Or an even better question: how do I interpret the word structure as a choreographer? To begin locating a response to that question we were asked to generate a choreographic manifesto. Below are some points in which I expressed:

The dancer is human.

The music is not secondary.

Develop work that reflects how bodies function or operate in society.

With my manifesto in mind, I began working on a new choreographic process that was heavily invested in the notion of “process” to determine/discover my tendencies as a choreographer.


The Performance Jitters

February 7, 2010 Leave a comment

In a couple of hours I will be showing my work-in-progress, “Chalk Boundaries” at the Wexner Center for the Arts. I have no idea how many people will show up. I have no clue how people will respond. I don’t even know if people know how to get to the Mershon. But, will all these worries and with my nerves exponentially at its peak, I’m still very at ease because what I’m thinking about most is the past 5 weeks  and how thus far it has been such an eye opening experience; teaching me to understand my values in choreography and also the importance for me to maintain a dialogue with my dancers. I realized that I can never be the choreographer that never asks the performers their opinions, thoughts, or ideas. I realize that I have a tendency to let context and movement have a ongoing battle in my process. I’ve learned that I’m learning and that my fear of staying stagnant is no longer a fear.

I always get like this before every performance, very trance like. I’ll post again after the performances later tonight.

Oh Dance…

“Chalk Boundaries” Rehearsal Footage- GIRL!

January 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Today in rehearsal Eric had to leave early so I asked Rashana to fill in for him while we worked on this new section. The clip below is the beginning of the new section and it’s interesting how the tone changed in the studio when we did this section. The uncertainty of being offensive was apparent in everyone yet, the energy didn’t turn negative, just inquisitive. What came across my mind was how do bodies approach the gender that they don’t claim as their own? Especially if they’re attracted to them? This section is clearly a stereotypical depiction of one way, but it would be nice to continue to explore that idea more in the work.

“Chalk Boundaries” will be performed as a work in progress, Sunday, Feb. 7th on the Mershon Stage (Wexner Center for the Arts) at 1:30pm and 2:30pm.

Phrase Comparison

January 16, 2010 1 comment

Below is a clip of a phrase that I taught to my all male, and all female casts. It’s interesting how bodies deal with momentum and weight differently, regardless of gender affiliation. Also,  notice how each cast emphasized particular movements, particularly the jump. I’m not stating that all male dancers move alike and all female dancers move alike; it is not my objective to generate a commonality among male and female bodies. Instead, I’m interested in the choreographic atmosphere that is formed when you separate genders in a process, while maintaining the same material, and how movement can have different connotations on male and female bodies.

Rashana Smith, a fellow MFA student,  is doing an independent study regarding gender in choreography and is participating in the all male cast rehearsals for her research. Check out her link for more info on her approach and experiences in the process.

Below is a clip of both casts learning the material the for the first time.

Emotion,Space, and Smile

December 6, 2009 2 comments

There is something about this song that I find interesting and compelling. It’s relatable, but not everyone’s relation to this feeling is the same nor is the setting. This feeds into my interest of locating common themes in various social settings. It’s something that I’m still working on in my head, but it’s remarkable how an emotion can be tapped into because of its close relationship to a particular moment in time and space.

Choreographically, I’ve always used imagery of space to generate a particular tone or emotion that I wanted.  But now I’m wondering what would happen if I did the reverse? What would happen if I asked the dancers to remember a moment regarding an emotion and then asking them to relive that space, but not the emotion? I think I could use this as a method for movement exploration. Having the performers continue to work with that setting in various ways (those ways, I have no idea).

Here are the words:

Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

The song is originally by Charlie Chaplin, and I’ve posted a clip of Janelle Monae singing it (check her out).

Oh dance…

What Comes First: Context or Movement?

November 16, 2009 3 comments

One of the things that I’m trying to find for myself as an outcome of this process is what I would like to generate first: the context or the movement. Some rehearsals I come in with a very set idea of what I want the movement to mean and other days we set movement and then layer on a contextual meaning. To be honest, I’m not really digging either approach. What I find most intriguing and promising is when movement is created without having some later application of meaning. Why should every movement mean something anyways? I don’t want every movement to answer why for the viewer. I want movements to generate images that generates moments in time that generates an experience (gotta love those run ons).

What I’m discovering is that I’m enjoying creating moments in time. Moments that are loaded with contextual meanings of their own right, they may share a common theme but are not generating a narrative. I think this growing interest is a result of my recent appreciation for Tere O’Connor’s work. I’m beginning to become  interested in the architecture of these moments that are being created in this process and  I’m excited to discover interesting ways of framing them in the dance.

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