I’ve been thinking about this article by Gia Kourlas for over a week. There is a lot here for dancers and performers to draw from. I just suggest you read it for yourself.
Time to Put Choreography Back on Its Feet; By GIA KOURLAS; Published: September 2, 2010
What I appreciated most about this article is it made me rethink the definition of choreography. And when I go home I’m going to revisit my old dance composition books and binders from school.
I’ve been thinking about the strange interactions I have when describing the dances I’ve worked on.When asked what type or kind of dance I “do”? I usually get really nervous because I can’t answer that. I mean- I usually just frolic around, crawl around and play with props. Nevertheless, after I define myself as dancer I wince when someone suggests I should try out for So You Think You Can Dance? And then I give the side eye.
And while I use to fantasize about Alvin Ailey dancers, I now cringe when I am told that I should look into dancing with them. This is not to say that SYTYCD is at all comparable to AAADT. Let’s be honest, that Fox network show is quite dreadful. But unfortunately, to most of America any dance form that is not ballet is defined but what you see on SYTYCD. And the most natural or only recognizable institution for a black dancer (such as myself) is AAADT.
I would have to be 4 years younger and I’d have to do some serious training to even consider auditioning for the AAADT. Fortunate for me, I have no interest in doing that. More importantly those scenarios are proof of the limited vocabulary we have for movement forms. Recently I made a bold move. An acquaintance asked me, what do you do? I told him I’m a movement instructor. And then he gave me a really weird look. So that was pretty pointless.
I mean, I know being able to communicate through language is based un accepted and recognized meanings that are referenced by symbols as words. But I’m very frustrated by the limited understanding of movement exploration or the overflowing meaning of dance. While dance’s definition becomes more and more shapeless, Kourlas concludes the article saying, it [choreography] moves beyond dance and performance to represent the most expansive way to think. It’s time to reclaim the word before someone else gets a hold of it. It stands for too much. So let me go work of the two pieces I’ve committed to and I’ll figure out what choreography is for me.
photo from my short life as an apathetic dancer for Das Racist’s performance with Leslie Dick at the Whitney (http://www.whitney.org/Events/LiveOn5SongsLeslieDick). The lecture/performance was apart of the Whitney’s biennial performance series: Live on 5 Songs. The series was curated by artist/sculptor Martin Kersels. While his sculpture was aesthetically make-shift, it definitely made for an interesting and quirky performance space.
I’m a huge proponent of “contempxualizing” traditional ideas and concepts. And the linking of Das Racist’s music with Lacan’s mirror stage could make for an interesting addition to psychoanalytic discourse. But Leslie’s lecture, while accompanied by great video projections, was at times elementary. Nevertheless, I had a good time.
This is old and I don’t know about the NFL or who Bernard Pollard is, but this guy obviously had an earlier career at Chippendales or perhaps he’s a down low brother that can drop it low. This is just hysterical.
Which creepy robot am I?
note: Performing super swift, rigid, robot moves with plastic gloves on in the middle of winter will spur tendinitis in fingers!
I should have posted this a loooooong time ago and I didn’t.
This summer the BF and I took a day trip to the New Island Festival on Governor’s Island. It was a festival in celebration of Henry Hudson. The festival was great, with the exception of a comedy group asking the audience to draw their hand up to the mouths and make “ooga booga” sounds to impersonate Native Americans. Aside from that unnerving moment, Sam and I had a great time.
I was there particularly to see SHOT by Anouk van Dijk Dance Company. It’s no secret I enjoy most things non-American. I believe this Netherlands based company is able to successfully merge compelling movement with theatricality and concept. Very few groups use techniques of performance art without sacrificing bodies that really move through space. In addition to this merger, the choreography uses composition techniques like: levels, time, retrograde, space etc extremely well. I’m kind of obsessed with Anouk van Dijk DC.
November of last year, I acquired a yoga passbook from a women who recently became a mother and wasn’t able to take advantage of the passbook. In fact, she’d purchased the book in January 2009, and come November she had only taken two classes. I bought the passbook for 40bucks. I understood I’d only have a few weeks to use up the passbook. Considering a single yoga or dance class costs 16-20bucks, if I took more than 3 group classes I’d get my money’s worth.
I arranged a private Alexander Technique class with instructor David Coben. The private session was one of the best experiences that came out of using the passbook. David was able to identify very subtle and improper habits I have. Perhaps this is part of the technique, but when making corrections, I was asked to think of a movement happening. Opposed to being asked to take an immediate corrective action. The intention behind this approach is when we address an issue in the body through action there is a tendency to over compensate or go beyond the point of correction. I left this session thinking about habits and movement patterns that I’ve never been open to. I don’t remember the specifics, but David Coben’s sessions are very well priced. And there is a promotional rate for referring friends. When I find another job, I plan on arranging another private session.
Last Sunday, Sam and I took a field trip to Brooklyn! The first stop of our adventure was the Superstar DJ Record Fair, put on by the Brooklyn Flea. The Record Fair was aaight. It was nothing to write home about, but as it seems, something to blog about? I did, however, come upon a jewelry table by Wrecords By Monkey. This BK based designed company has been around for a few years, but this was my first time seeing their work. I think their pieces are dope. Their pieces are handcrafted out of reclaimed vinyl records. This is right up my eco-friendly alley.
check em’ out: http://www.wrecordsbymonkey.com/
The next stop was Urban Art Projects in Billyburg. Burgeoning choreographer and friend of mine, Lydia Bell presented: Work for Pay.
I always appreciate pieces that allow “dancers” to speak. The development of the “performance artist” has definitely loosened the restraints of just being a dancer. But it is still gratifying to hear the voices and breath of performers that are expected to solely move their bodies.
Most importantly, the performers addressed questions and concerns that most artists contemplate daily, if not hourly. The ladies’ resumes and thoughts on finding employment served as the sound score. Many radio stations now have radio resumes; job seekers read their resumes on air. In that vain, Work for Pay moves one step farther.