Monday, March 22, 2010


From Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary

Micro -
1: very small, especially
2: involving minute quantities or variations

Cosmic -
1a: of or relating to the cosmos, the extraterrestrial vastness, or the universe in contrast to the earth alone
1b: of, relating to, or concerned with abstract spiritual or metaphysical ideas
2: characterized by greatness especially in extent intensity, or comprehensiveness

Current -
1a: running, flowing
1b(1): presently elapsing (the current year)
1b(2): occurring in or existing at the present time (the current crisis)
1b(3): most recent (the magazine's current issue)
2: used as a medium of exchange
3: generally accepted, used, or practiced, or prevalent at the moment

More stories from the collaborative studio

Last week, Chris and I spent two hours in his recording studio listening to the music he had created, watching the choreography, and discussing successes and adjustments. It was a luxurious period of just working!

He and I have spent the past month exchanging e-mails, files, and ideas for clarification. After our session, Chris created more layers for the final section and identified each dancer with a melody, chords, or series of tones! He based these musical identifications off of the choreographed movements, the quality of their individual movements, and the things they said in his interviews with them about the process. I'm so impressed with his attention to them, as individual performers and I deeply appreciate his involvement in this exploration.

At our final rehearsal on Friday, Chris detailed the music for the dancers, explaining each musical identification. It was interesting for me to hear 1) how he interpreted the dancers as individuals and 2) how he interpreted the movement as a whole with its swells and dips.

I've been listening to the music almost non-stop for the past week and a half and am so intrigued that in listening, I feel the same vibrations that I felt when first investigating the work. In essence, Chris took what I said about my physical experiences and put that into the music. It should make sense that sound vibrations resonate in my body, but I was and continue to be surprised that the resonations occur simultaneously with the movement descriptions of the felt experience.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Last week, Chris asked several of us to come to his recording studio. He was playing with inserting some of our voices into his work. One of the questions he asked me was "What do you hope your dancers will get out of this process?"

I was surprised by the question. Usually, choreographers are asked, "what do you hope your audience will take away from the work?"

But there has been a great deal of work on the part of my dancers... more than just what the audience will see in twenty-five minutes.

My present (and I believe this will continue far into the future) research goal addresses understanding the body as a form of empowerment. An idea can't be destroyed as long as the body in which that idea inhabits exists. Throughout history, violence is enacted when one body takes control over another body. Our society is heavy with dis-empowering messages, especially regarding the body. The media is laden with images of how the body should look and move. Corporate America decides what we put into our bodies and how our bodies are taken care of - or not taken care of, as evidenced in the current health care crisis. I believe that if a person is empowered through a knowledge of his/her body, that person is more likely to take responsibility to for the care of his/her body. In taking responsibility for one's self, the individual also takes responsibility for his/her surrounding environment. There is more to this that I'm still working out, but I believe there is a strong (if only potential) relationship between dance, individual empowerment, and positive social change.

Dance is an empowering force. Dance involves, requires, demands a holistic understanding of the working, moving body. Dance requires knowledge of the anatomy. Dance requires knowledge of the psyche. Dance requires knowledge of space and time - environmental awareness. I believe (and have seen evidence in the classes that I've taught) that dance empowers individuals by allowing them to have a multi-dimensional relationship with their bodies.

Back to Chris's question... My hope for my dancers is that, through this process, they've developed a deeper awareness of their bodies and the stories that their bodies tell. I hope they learn to notice the habits of their bodies - both positive and negative. I hope they've gained a new knowledge about their bodies and will continue this process after the performance ends. I hope that they will use this knowledge about their bodies to make positive changes within themselves, and therefore, make positive changes to influence their environment. I hope that they've learned and grown from this process as much as I have from them.

A friend posted this on her Facebook page, and I find it relevant to my hopes for this process and for my dancers:


In these final moments, when most of the work is done, the fine tuning begins: the details. I've asked Chris to change some of the levels in the music - it's intriguing how the level of the bass can influence the listener's perception. Little things are becoming very important; little things like the small gestures and focus of my dancers. We've been working on clarifying how far their/our focus needs to be; identifying the difference between a 20ft focus, an internal focus, and a 3 ft, immediate kinesphere focus. We're defining how to draw the energy up through the body and and training the whole energetic being to focus - 20ft, 3 ft, beyond the performance space, into another performer...

I'm paying closer attention to the little things like the detail on the costumes. I realize that these details may not be grossly noticeable from the audience's perspective, but I believe that attention to these small details clarifies and enhances the process of the performers and of the experience of the audience. In these moments of clarifying, I'm beginning to really enjoy this process more deeply...

Saturday, March 6, 2010


We were able to get into the theater for one rehearsal. What a difference being in the space makes! The reality of the performance began to sink in, both for me and my dancers.
I've finalized the set.
The posters are printed.
The costumes are almost complete.
Chris is completing the music next week.
I hope to pick up the postcards on Monday or Tuesday.
The program is almost finalized.
It's coming together!

Less than three weeks to showtime!

As I was heading home from rehearsal today, I began to reflect upon the immediacy of the performance experience. As artists - performers and choreographers - we spend months preparing for a singular moment. In that moment, the community - the dancer and the audience - comes together for a shared, magical experience. If anything goes wrong - a dancer falls, the technical equipment malfunctions - there is no second chance. In that regard, it is no wonder that my heart still races in the moments before I enter the stage space. No one will live or die because of my performance, but I only get one chance. I only have one brief opportunity to communicate with my audience on a kinesthetic level. I only have one brief opportunity to share my story with them. I only have one brief moment of pure honesty and vulnerability.

In performance, I do expect everything to go right. After months of preparation, that one moment should be perfect. But, of course, the human experience is not perfect and technicalities happen.

This too is part of the excitement. The excitement of the unknown. The excitement of taking a risk...

These last few weeks are filled with tension. Last minute details that can only happen at the last minute - things like program order and printing. Things like costume fittings and final performance notes. The excitement and the risk is building. Likewise, the tension and stress is building, too.

I'm trying to enjoy this process. I'm trying to take a few minutes to smile at the tightness of my chest as I realize my work has been an exploration of what I am experiencing.

And although this work has been about communicating the felt sensations of energetic pathways, I realize that on March 26th and 27th the process both continues and ends. Because of this realization, there are times when I take the role of participant-observer, step back, and enjoy being in the moment. The frantic excitement of the moment.

This is what I love. This is why I dance. This immediacy. This vulnerability. This risk.

I look forward to meeting you in the moment.