Dee da Lost

This semester proved to be my most challenging one yet. Composition 2 involved three weight studies and a Final Study. Throughout my explorations with resilient, light, and strong weight qualities, I found myself extremely discouraged. Because the movement requirements were so limited, I had a hard time creating studies that I thought were up to my own personal standards.

When Sofie asked us to articulate our ideas for our final study (for which we had free reign), the first thought that popped into my head was “I just really want to LIKE my piece!” I knew that I wanted to use music… Oh how I miss dancing to music! But mainly, I wanted to explore the way I personally like to move. While being innovative and moving away from tendencies is extremely important, I found my own personal freedom getting lost in the midst of a stressful semester. My goal was to re-find myself through this study, and prove to myself that I CAN like my own choreography.

I endlessly searched for a piece of music that I felt inspired by, and when I heard “This Place is a Shelter” by Olafur Arnolds, it appealed to me because I could see myself getting lost in it. It is so freeing to feel your body move faster or more eloquently than your mind can even attempt to do. This quality is what I was aiming to achieve in my choreography, especially during the second half of the song. I aimed for ‘business’ in the body (with gestures) which slowly transformed into getting lost in the joy of things.

The choreographic elements that I tried to play with the most were focus and facings. My classmate Mikaela pointed out some of my gestures looked intriguing from different non-frontal perspectives. However, it was very difficult for me to part ways with the front view of my gestural phrases, as it was hard to believe that any other angle did them as much justice. Additionally, I had very clear intentions of illustrating a shift in focus from the first half of my piece to the second half. I wanted my focus to gradually become more internal, slowly blocking out all things around me. I believe I achieved this best during practice, as when I performed it I may have lost some clarity due to nerves.

Because the intentions of the piece were so personal, I made many discoveries about myself in the process. I have found that full-bodied movement that moves through space is extremely difficult for me to choreograph. However when someone else gives me such movement, it is my favorite to do. For some reason, my mind gets in the way of creating the “big” movement that was essential to myself “getting lost” in the piece. When I shared this struggle with Sofie, she helped me create a short phrase of expansive movement, which was extremely helpful as I used it as a stepping stone in moving forward.

I also discovered that I love the action of folding and unfolding the body, as it shows some interesting sense of vulnerability to the audience that I like. My favorite part of my study (as an audience member) is at 0:33, when I pause in an unsure stance and fold my body as tight as it could go in that position. If I move forward with this piece, that moment would show up multiple times, and in different ways.

My biggest challenge during this process was working efficiently and not being too much of a perfectionist. As I create movement, I am constantly saying no to everything I do, convincing myself that it is too predictable, commercial, or that I don’t look good enough doing. Sofie’s words of wisdom to keep tuning into my own personal explorations and not to take value from other people is something that I need to keep with me throughout my future endeavors as a choreographer.

All in all, I found this study freeing, as it gave me a chance to find my artistic voice. I definitely accomplished my goal of liking my solo, and my classmate’s reaction to my showing was even more fulfilling. I do not think I am ready to part ways with the movement, especially after seeing the full video. There are specific parts that did not turn out as expressive as I had hoped. I wish to continue working on this study through next semester, I hope to document my future product.

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Drums Downtown

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your kneesIMG_3490
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

The Never-Ending Dance Film Project

When viewing dance in a typical proscenium stage set-up, some obvious choreographic limitations exist. For example, there is always a clear front of the piece and the audience can usually see everything that is happening on stage. The audience’s position in relation to the dance is static, so if the choreographer wishes for their piece to include changes of perspective, they must integrate those changes into the movement itself. Turning to a different medium of presentation, Dance Film offers some new possibilities. We were asked to explore these possibilities during our Dance for Camera unit of Freshman Seminar.  Continue reading

Dance Pedagogy

While I did not even know what the word “pedagogy” meant when my teacher introduced our next unit in Freshman Seminar, I was relieved when I realized that it is really just a fancy word for teaching. Teaching dance is something that I have always wanted to do for many reasons. Mainly, I view it as a stable and somewhat consistent job that will keep me moving, dancing, and surrounded by an art form that I love, even at times when my dance career is scattered or not going the way I want it to. As I have mentioned before, I also LOVE children. At my home studio, I have assisted combo classes and I taught hip-hop and tap for a summer, and being with my students was often the highlight of my week. That being said, I was excited for our dance pedagogy unit, as I knew it would be a good opportunity to build on my past experiences and help me become a better teacher in the future.  Continue reading