Thursday, December 23, 2010

On making...

I've been thinking about starting another blog, generally about making things, but I do not need another blog to try and keep up with. Instead, I'll share some thoughts about MAKING  that I find relevant to dance, but even more so, relevant to life.

I like the word make better than create. To make something is to dig in, get yourself dirty,  and figure it out. It could be a pot of soup, the lyric to a song, the bow on a present....really, anything!

I love making something from nothing and I tend to do this in two ways: dancing and baking.

When choreographing, directing a project, or just improvising, this is exactly what I do. I make movement from nothing. There is no pattern, no stencils, no how-to book. It is just me. Of course I get ideas from lots of outside sources: media, music, nature, people, dogs, etc. But in the end it's just me, my body, and my brain. I have to dig in, get sweaty, and figure it out. How awesome.

If I wasn't a dancer, I would totally be a baker. But even more than a recipe connoisseur, I would be a baking inventor. I LOVE to put a bunch of ingredients in a bowl -- some powdered, some liquid, some fizzy, some slimy -- and somehow end up with something warm, golden, and smelling delicious. It's magic.

What do you make from nothing?

Do you open your refrigerator and somehow manage to come up with a great meal from that wilted lettuce, mayonnaise, and can of beets? I love that!

For some people, this process of making something from nothing can seem effortless. (Admit it, they kind of piss you off, don't they?) But, I truly believe everyone has the power to make. So, go try it. Get a little messy, have some fun, and figure it out.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Bring on the plaid.

Photo by Jesse Scroggins
The winds have changed...I'm working on a new idea. (Don't worry, my solo is not dead...just being re purposed) I want to start making a dance exploring the bucolic imagery that fills American media during the holiday season. The final product will be presented in the late Fall, 2011.

So, why am I doing this?

Well, the truth is, I am a little obsessed with holiday imagery. Advertisements taunt me with their perfectly wrapped gifts and table settings right out of Martha Stewart's home. What's odd is,  they don't even match my sense of design; I like mismatching prints, burnt wood, and kitsch. Perhaps it's not the design that entices me, but the sense of wonder it brings out in me. What would it be like to live in that image? What would it feel like?

As I look at holiday catalogs, l am fully aware that all of these photo shoots have been systematically  arranged to entice the ideal consumer, namely me. The delicate dinner arrangements have been sprayed with hairspray, dusted with glitter, and photoshopped to look better than food for the Gods. How could this facade translate to a dance? For starters, I think it would be interesting to expose all the things that make these images look so good: the lighting, the coiffing, the glitter, etc. It would be like seeing the "behind the scenes" footage as the actual performance.

So, here we go.  If you've ever wondered how your life would change if it were cloaked in flannel, this is the time. Bring on the plaid.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Catching Up

Well, crap, it's October...the end of October. What have I been doing, you ask? This:

Photo by Jordan Fuch
 I went to the Texas Dance Improvisation Festival in Houston. What a treat! Fantastic teachers, hosts, and fellow dancers to play with. Thank you Rice University, Leslie Scates, and Rosie Trump for hosting this great event!

I started learning a new solo by Melissa Bijork. It's good to be learning movement....I was feeling a little to insular for awhile. Here's some snipets:

We registered the Big Rig Dance Collective  name in Denton County, TX. (I'm a Co-Director)

I presented my paper, Sourcing, Creating, and Sharing: A Method for Creating Site Specific Performances, at the National Dance Educators Conference (NDEO) in Tempe, AZ. Met some great people, including Jane Hawley. Check out what she's doing at Luther College.

I'm collecting some footage for my solo project, which will include a film component. Working title: Contemplating the End. (Thanks to Jhon Stronks for the title)

A little more on this Contemplating the End business...
    Sound's morbid, right? Well, that's not what I'm going for. Actually, I want to craft this project by using a lot of beginnings. I tend to have a lot of ideas for the start of a projects, so I thought...What would happen if I strung all these beginnings together? What would it turn into?

    The first beginning was the creation of a phrase. You can see that in my older posts below.

    My current beginning is this:

    I had this idea of layering dancing footage with non-dancing footage. I'm interested in all the movement we do on a regular basis that might not be considered dance, and how it could be composed in a way that looks or feels like dance. Right now I have treadmill running and cycling. Here's a bit of cycling from my handlebars' perspective:

    Well, I think that catches us up. Glad you're still here...sorry I took so long.

    Monday, September 27, 2010

    Flash Mob turns Dance Film

    Last week, I was at Columbia College in SC doing a residency at the dance department. We did a flash mob, then turned the wonky footage into a dance film. The students did all the hands-on editing....I was there to support them. Here's what we made!

    PS- I am still accepting ACTIONS and BODY PARTS. They will be sting together in rehearsal this week.


    Friday, September 17, 2010

    Gimme some of your moves!

    This week's rehearsal was hard....yes, physically hard, but more so mentally/emotionally hard.

    I'm feeling stuck. I can't seem to remember movement material after improvising.

    So, I would like to ask for YOUR help.

    Below in the comments area, please submit an ACTION (throw, jump, drop, roll, etc.) and SPECIFIC BODY PART (right elbow, left knee, upper right scapula, etc.). I am going to compile these actions/body parts into a movement phrase for next week.

    See ya!

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    Week 2 Solo Mania

    I'm still playing catch up on videos. This was actually last week....but you get the idea.

    In this rehearsal, I started with a movement phrase that I already knew. It was one I created for another dance and felt very natural/easy to do. From there, I messed it all up. I took the original phrase, broke it down piece by piece, and basically made myself stop and investigate my choices. Whichever direction felt comfortable, I went the opposite. If my momentum was going one way, I tried to go the other.

    It was a little wild at first...this video is pretty tame and slow because it's at the end of rehearsal and I was pooped.

    In the end, the new phrase was short, but had a lot of interesting moments for me and helped me find new movement possibilities.

    See ya next time!


    Saturday, September 11, 2010

    I'm back!

    I just finished my M.F.A. a couple months ago. I’m co-running Big Rig Dance Collective....but it gets lonely since my fellow Big Riggers are still finishing grad school.

    So what’s a lonely little dancer to do?

    Make a solo.

    Here’s week 1.....starting from scratch.

    Tuesday, May 04, 2010


    Well, my paper is done.

    I'm about 2 weeks from graduating.

    What shall this blog become?

    I'm not sure yet, so in the mean time, please visit my new website:


    Wednesday, February 24, 2010

    An Article by Camille LeFevre

    On Location: The BodyCartography Project Talks About the Importance of Place

    Someone wrote my paper!

    This paper looks great:

    The audience completes the piece: Site-specific dance choreographers as unalienating laborers
    by Rachel Engh 

    I love that I wrote down the same quote from the book, One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity,  that Ms. Engh begins her paper with. Thank you Miwon Kwon!

    Friday, February 05, 2010

    What IS the artwork?

    I love this...

    Suzanne Lacy, of Chicago’s public art project Culture in Action, claims: “…what exists in the space between the words public and art is an unknown relationship between artist and audience, a relationship that may itself be the artwork” (Kwon, 105).  

    I'm curious how this unknown relationship exists in dance in public spaces. I think the new experience created by having performances in familiar, public spaces is the art. The context creates the art. 

    What do you think?

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    Yet another awesome community-building art project..

    Just look...

    Turning Empty Spaces into...

    What would you do with an emply storefront? It's rent free, for up to three months.

    Take a look at UK's biggest "slack space" project- Brixton Village indoor market. Damn...why don't I live in the UK?

    Making Performance Space into Pulic Space

    Yesterday in my Producing class we were talking about the open-door policy of S.L.A.M, which is the rehearsal/performance space for STREB. I love this idea of making a performance space into a public space. Anyone can literally walk in the door, watch a rehearsal, take a class, eat their lunch, and use their wifi. How cool is that?

    I've been thinking of ways that public spaces could be used as performance spaces, but this is sometimes difficult for dancers. Our dancing environment needs to support our bodies...and concrete floors hurt after awhile. can a space that is funcional for dancing and movment be useful to the public? 

    Here's a rehearsal video providing a sneak preview of the "whizzing gizmo."

    Thursday, January 21, 2010


    An ongoing programme of artists' commissions, investigating and interrogating the Greenwich Peninsula as the area undergoes a huge transformation.
     These projects are so neat!

    Again, we have social spaces, community involvement, and art. What a delicious culture sandwich that makes.

    Street with a view

    We all know what Google Street View is...those mildly creepy photos of your street when you are probably not there.

    What if you had control over how your street was seen?
    Check out this project by Robin Hewlett and Ben Kingsley, called Street With A View.

    This project is really interesting, especially how they involved the people that live in that neighborhood. So, we've got site-specificity, community involvement, and social spaces...

    I'm seeing connections here.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    I'm writing a paper!

    Yes, that's right, I'm writing a paper. A professional paper. (Now say that in a British accent..." A professional paper!")

    The main ideas I am thinking about are:
    • performances in social, public spaces
    • developing a community within physical social spaces and virtual social spaces (like this one!) through the engagement in a public performance
    I just stumbled across this video of Professor David Gauntlett's inaugural lecture, 'Participation culture, creativity, and social change', from November 12, 2008. It's pretty rockin'.  After watching it I feel like there is some common  language used in his talk and in my head. For instance: MAKING and DOING. How do we put more opportunities to make and to do in the social, public sphere? How can performance do that?

    This may be a bit tangential...but there's something there. I'm just not sure what yet.