end as start

Standard

Dancing to express and dancing to feel. The former is about the relationships between one and the external while the latter is about the internal relationships of which one is composed. Experiencing and experimenting with the work of Trisha Brown deepened my awareness of these two modes of dancing. Sometimes they work perfectly together. By nature of feeling one is expressing. Perhaps that is the best type of dance. Sometimes, however, when the need to express comes before one is able to adequately engage in the act of feeling there is a disconnect.

The work of Trisha Brown is meant to be felt. The beauty of it is the inherent logic of the movements. Beautiful and striking movements are begotten by an appreciation of the wonder of the body as it is. Her work centers entirely on kinesthesia. It’s honest and therefore powerful.

I started off feeling. Experiencing and wallowing in the logic and sheer naturalness of the movement. Trisha’s building videos showed her doing a similar thing. She was feeling an idea over and over, each time producing a clearer image.

I wish we had more time. I could have gone on with the feeling for much longer. Feeling without worrying about what I was expressing. The semester was short. The need to express and show came before the feeling had matured. The showing was my least favorite part of the experience. Feeling and expressing were still in the process of congealing into one powerful dance. Anxiety about expressing obstructed the process and broke the two. I wanted nothing more than to go back to feeling and allow for connection with expressing to ripen so that I could try again. The showing, however, signaled the end of the project. And it was so incredibly sad.

A heightened awareness of the duality of expressing and feeling was the most valuable aspect of this project for me. Although I did not achieve it in my own body during this work, I understood it. I know what it is supposed to feel like. I will seek this feeling for the rest of my dancing life.

Becoming Art

Standard

Walking around the gallery barefooted. Feeling the varying textures of the different spaces on my skin. I don’t think I have ever felt such a close connection to exhibited art. By allowing my flesh to become that of the walks and floors of the gallery I felt like art. We were all art. We were not distractions from the pieces but instead a moving installation at one and the same with the static pieces of art around us. Even the act of being spectated felt completely natural. Performing the early works in the gallery space was absolutely nothing like the jitter inducing act of performing onstage. I felt such an intimate connection with the other dancers and the space. 

The feeling of becoming one with art was most organic at the beginning when it was completely novel. By the 6th or 7th repetition of some of the early works things took on a slightly more practice performance feel. But in the beginning it was just for us. It was about feeling the artistry in the simplicity of the movements. 
 
The most connected I felt to other dancers was in Leaning Duets. In those weight sharing moments, my entire world narrowed to the bond between myself and the dancer next to me. Connected speaking, connecting breathing, connected leaning. It was an incredibly beautiful shared experience.
 
I felt a similar connection during Group Primary Accumulation. But instead of my world being narrowed to just the existence of the dancers, it felt as if we were all consumed by the art. We became embedded into the very floor of the gallery. Moving in synch. Driven and directed by the art. 

Some bits were frustrating although all seemed to just work better than we had ever experienced in the studio. It was the first time the work was adequately and completely contextualized. It was the first time everything felt natural. Part of me wishes we’d performed Newark in the gallery as well. I wonder if it would have made that piece feel as natural and as ours as the early works.