My studio project culminated in a score-based improvisation practice called ‘Exiting Re-Existing’. The goal of this practice is generating different ways of inhabiting the body. It starts with ‘emptying perception’, or a departure from identity and familiar physical imaginings in order to enter a state of ‘open embodiment’. From this state, the dancer then shifts to ‘activating projection’, using movement scores that allow subconscious material to be reflected back, or made visible, to the dancer. It is this ‘material’ that I believe I cannot impose from the external position of choreographer/author, and opens the practice up to the agency and multiple perspectives of individual participants.
The language in the scores was generated through introspective meditative exercises from which I captured audio recordings of my experience. I described my actions, and allowed them to affect me. This kind of self-surveillance brought an attention to my inner dialogue, but it still maintained a certain performativity brought on by the audio device. I’m interested in what is performed to the self, even in the seemingly private space of thoughts.
This practice/ mode of production has manifested in several projects:
1. A handbook, with abbreviated text that allows the reader to insert herself into the proposed actions. Accompanying the text are images I made using a scanner – a metaphor for ‘flattening’ the three-dimensionality of the body, and the possibility of seeing it in another way. Here is the HANDBOOK LINK
2. A sound score of the Exiting Re-Existing practice. This score can be followed in-studio.
(I'm interested in making a sound piece using a similar entry point, whereby a dance 'performance' could be presented without the physical presence of the dancer's body. The audience follows the dancer's actions based on her words, descriptions and experiences in the room. I will present this finished piece in Berlin at the summer residency.)
3. A performance trio: myself and two collaborators (Alicia Grant and Julia Male) follow and subvert guidance from the sound score (that I composed and edited using my ‘self-talk’ audio recordings). The piece reveals both the influence of words, and that which is transmitted in the spaces between words. It's about influence, or what isn't said but is still communicated through the subtlety of gesture, intension, and subconscious transmission. The work was performed in December 2014 in Toronto at Hub 14, and in January 2015 in New York at 100 Grand Dance. It will be performed again in Toronto on May 28th at Dovercourt House
5. Video documentation turned dance film: I've been making these 10-15 minute pieces throughout the year to reflect my process, but they are presenting themselves as works in their own standing. They combine sound, text, are derivative of the practice, and play with the transformative affects of the camera, its perspective, and a choreographic approach to editing. I will present the finished video piece at the Berlin summer residency.
It is my hope that the meditative affect of my practice will come through in these works, and the possibility for experiencing the body differently could be transmitted to an audience, or participant using the practice. I am interested in the experiment of 'audience as collaborators' in terms of transmitting affect, and experiential tactics for providing an audience access to the practice behind the work.
What these pieces have in common is an attempt to provide space for the viewer to insert herself, her beliefs, her history, ideologies, etc. into the work. I’m interested in how scores can specifically offer this, and the production of their language can come from movement improvisation. Scores offer a metaphor for structure – one that contains and enables movements that are characteristic of said structure. In future research, I’m interested in the relationship between structure and action: how structures affect an ensemble's dynamic within a dance space, but also how the interactions and body-based practices generated from within the dance space can affect ensemble, or 'social' dynamics on the outside.