Original photo by Bill Hebert.
These are the original program notes from the 2013 performance of Embedded Layers at Temple University:
As with many processes, this investigation began with questions. I was taking class with a mentor, and observed that she performed her teaching beautifully. Why are you not dancing on stage anymore, I asked? She shrugged - I would, if the right person asked me... I do miss it. Why was this physical and intellectual BODY of knowledge limited to the medium of the classroom? Was it due to her age? Her maternity? Her lived female-ness? Often in dance, the answers are revealed through the process of creation and the live performance.
As time passed, I continued to question: the seasons changed; political challenges took effect; mass shootings and bombings occurred; natural disasters uprooted populations within the country; families were lost and divided through war... What was my role? I'm a dancer.
And there lies the answer. Movement of the body and mind, integrated creatively creates positive energy and joy within the individual and community. I have learned that dance is a force of positive social change, though community building and joy creation. This desire and need to creative positive social change, specifically as I related to the many different women in my life, led me to more questions surrounding acceptance and beauty. What does Beauty look like? Feel like? Where do we find it? How do we identify it? Can we/ I discover Beauty in between the spaces of terror and destruction? Can and where does Beauty exist in the awkward, the socially relevant, the industrial, the natural, the outcast, the enlightening, the troubling...? Why do I only see certain types of bodies onstage and others in other settings? How do we find value in Age and the Beauty of Time and Wisdom? How is that Beauty revealed? These questions and more are unearthed and collaged in this dance. Taking Lord Byron's poem "She Walks in Beauty," NASA's "Earth as Art" and perceptions studies as inspiration points, through the process of Embedded Layers, we've transformed our lived, verbal, and visual experiences of Beauty into a kinesthetic expression for the stage.
Thank you to Nanette, the Dance Department, Boyer College and Temple University for this opportunity. Thank you to my dancers for your dedication, trust and energy. Thank you Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers for sharing CHI MAC with us during this process. Thank you to Widener University for the time to workshop these ideas. Thank you to Tracy Scott Silverman for your friendship and music. Thank you to my family, friends, and partner in all things beautiful and challenging for your unwavering support and commitment to my investigations. ~Jessica