My experiences learning Reggie Wilson’s choreography and Akram Khan’s choreography were different. There was an emphasis on manipulation of time in the Khan choreography that was absent in the Wilson choreography. In the Khan choreography my movements were informed by the counts. The goal is to hit the movement at the same time as the count, not before or after. This creates tension in the movements followed by bursts of sharp or smooth energy. This also forced me to be extremely present in each moment. I could not dance the Khan steps on auto-pilot. Both the mind and the body are equally exerted, but the mind is the leader in this choreography.
There is more focus on finding the true movement in the Wilson choreography. When I was learning the steps, rather than manipulating my form to fit into time, I listened to my body to find the form. The body is the leader in the Wilson choreography.
A similarity in my experiences of Khan and Wilson choreography is the importance of the mind and body connection. I felt that both forms of choreography required attention to my own thoughts in relation to my body, or my body in relation to my thoughts. For example, in Wilson choreography the pelvis is the key part of any movement. When I danced the steps, I tried to listen to my pelvis to determine how long a movement should take. It takes a given amount of time to transfer my weight from my left foot to my right foot. I can calculate this amount of time by listening to my pelvis.
In my experience of Khan choreography I learned to manipulate my body using my mind. I determined what time I wanted a certain movement to happen, then performed that movement by manipulating my body in time and space. For example, first I decide that I want to shift my body from my left foot to my right foot on the third count of a phrase of four. Then, I count: one, two, shift-three, four. I do not shift at the beginning or end of three, but in the middle of the count.
Both of the ways I just described of shifting my weight from one foot to another require a strong connection between the mind and body. This is what connects all of my experiences of dance. I believe the connection of the mind and body can only be explored in the artistic art form of dance.