The following painting entitled "Patchwork" was created by two participants.  This work was produced in the first collection of paintings, the dancers will explore movement in relation to their work through reading the painting as a Score.  The foundational bases of the study focus are on the materiality and the layers following which are generated by those who were involved in the creation of the art-making process.  The following layers will be explored through the moving body investigating improvisational tasks, guided through tasks developed through chance methods, including the evolution of movement dynamic driven elements that will direct the impact of the choreographic process which will later mold and design the performative quality of the piece.

Painting Method

Pour/Swipe Technique


Closer Look 

Details of cells produces from Pouring Mediums

Developing a Sense of Chance within the Tasks

As I read John Cage’s “Composition as Process,” I continuously replaced his words “sound” with “movement” and immediately began to develop ideas I wanted to apply to movement exploration methods within my study.  The idea of merging movement exploration with an image can be structured in various chance methods.  For example, I painted the end of popsicle sticks with different colors and had the dancers pull them out of a cup, allowing chance to dictate the color the participant picks to be the impetus for them to trace in process of reading the Score.  I also had various body parts written on the end of sticks that were selected after the color stick, indicating which part of the body led the movement.  Additional sticks had several dynamics written on them to leave it up to chance as to how the action would evolve.   The possibilities of tasking the tasks through chance structures are endless.  When I finally decide to call the choreography performative ready, let us look back to Cage’s quote below. Did the paintings’ initial materials determine anything of the structure?  It is so that the absence of the image can express the dance, yet without it, it would have never existed.   

Color Stick / White

The participant chose a patch that had white in it.  The second stick she picked had the body part "fingers" to trace and map her painting/movement.  In evolving the developing phrase, the third stick she pulled out of a cup was "vision/projection" and the final stick she drew from the cup was "floor" which will expand and vary the movement into a new patterning.  

Color Stick / Blue

The participant chose a patch that had blue in it.  The second stick she picked was a body part, "rib-cage" to trace and map her painting/movement.  In evolving the developing phrase, the third stick she pulled out of a cup was "sharp" and the final stick she drew from the cup was "travel" which will expand and vary the movement into a new patterning.  


Floor Evolution


Traveling Evolution


As the methods emerge in the making, I seek to flesh out the dancer's tendency to deliver codified technique that is confined within the habitual mold of the body.  The dancers begin to understand the study is not about developing their technique but finding new ways their bodies can move through exploring the painting as a choreographic device.  They are discovering there is no wrong way to use their body as a thinking tool and to trust the knowledge their body is producing.  As they face the back of the room, the mirror does not assist them in determining aesthetics.  When asked to turn around for me to film, I notice that ego may get in the way as one of the participants is questioning her movement choice.  Trust in the process. Allow the painting to guide your body. We are not worried about how it looks. We want it to be as abstract as the painting.     

Allowing the energy to pass back and forth from painting to body and body to mind with new tasks enables different ideas about how to orient oneself in and through dance and the world.  As a group, we discussed how the pulse of humanity influences the decisions we make in our lives and that we become an extension of threads designing the fabric within our society.  As for these young dancers, this process is producing a new level of awareness for them.  We talked about the last piece we filmed and began to think about how this one may be suited for a public venue, in a space where they will fade in with the natural landscape within our society and stand out for moments at a time.  A place they can disappear into, the patchwork and then stand out at times.

This investigation led to deeper thoughts, potentials and other kinds of orientations to help us move out of our habitual models of movement and that of perception in terms of the performative for these young dancers who have only performed on the proscenium stage.  The idea of obscuring dialogue with additional patchworks of mediums within a public venue not only carries the thought of visual image impact for film, but the projection of the human-scale within the level of work along with it.  The Score is becoming a means of shaping our thoughts, beyond the dance, but into life itself.   

July 2021

 “For nothing about the structure was determined by the materials which were to occur in it; it was conceived, in fact, so that it could be as well expressed by the absence of these materials as by their presence” 

-John Cage

Choreographic Progression

Roll of the Dice

After seeing how excited the girls were with the previous chance structure, I wanted to continue to present something new to incorporate into the movement- driven tasks.  A roll of the dice prescribed both timing and repetition of the choreography.  First I had the dancers evaluate how many movements they had developed within their phrase.  They then rolled the dice that many times for the number of movements within the phrase.  The goal was to apply this number to the timing of each movement. 


They had a very difficult time with this.  It was clear the challenge was held within the historical rhythmic counting of dance in eights or sixes.  The girls had to keep looking back at their paper.  We discussed if the movement had been choreographed in such a way where it would be sharp (1 count) or suspend (with 12 counts) this would be easier to remember.  What was discovered is that not all decisions in practice-led research work or are good.  Sometimes we try things for the sake of trying them and if they do not work out, we simply move on.  From this experience I told the dancers not to focus on the timing, I didn’t want to spend time on this task, but to be aware of the duration of their movement.  Sometimes the audience needs time to digest what they just did, and not to rush through the progression of the move in order to get to the next.     


For the next roll of the dice I had the dancers repeat each movement within their phrase.  They had no idea what the task was going to be when they were rolling the dice.  The amount of repetition for each movement was dependant on the number the dice landed on.  Reflecting on the previous task, they could vary the timing of each move repeated.  For example, if they rolled the dice on a four, the first time the move could last for 2 counts, the second time 8, the next 4, then 1 count.  They just had to repeat the move as many times as the dice dictated.  They could also travel or change the direction the movement was facing to add additional texture to the choreography.


Back to the Sticks

I wanted the dancers to generate more movement from various patches within the painting.  I had them pick another stick to leave it up to chance what color patch they would be developing their movement from.  They then picked another stick to dictate which body part would be leading the movement.  After the development of this movement, I had them roll the dice once.  With the number they rolled, they were to walk around the building and find objects with the same color and create a bodily shape of the object.  Why?  Because the talk of patchwork and society came back into our discussion and the idea of performing the final piece in a public space.  We decided at one point in the performative piece they would look for the particular color within the space and embody the image in time and space.    

Purple Stick


Fingers Stick

Yellow Stick


Shoulder Stick

Self within the Patchwork of Art

I thought it was necessary to situate self within the work and explore the chance method and how it is located within the process of this work.  Here I experience the randomness of picking up a stick which leads me to choose a color patch on the painting and then another dictating the body part that would lead the movement.  Then I pick another stick that added texture and dynamics to the movement.  Not a preconceived notion of the pattern in which the movement would be carried through space, but that which is speaking through the painting and my body then speaking back.  It is not my ambition to alter the intention of the methods of the work, but to participate in the practice of the process and share in part of the choreographic performative act in reflection to the meaning and discussions we have shared.   


After working through the tasks, I understand why sometimes the dancers have difficulty with the actions their bodies have produced when they turn around to watch themselves in the mirror.  The movement is not the typical aesthetics of choreography that would be produced in a dance studio.  The participants are young dancers who compete in both state and national dance competitions.  Unless this movement was refined with music and timing, it would not be satisfactory for that stage...but this is not the goal of the study.  The aim is to flesh out codified techniques and find new movement possibilities through reading the painting as a Score.  The outcomes are unpredictable, unplanned chance occurrences.   I will teach the girls the phrase next time and explore timing with them.  

 August 2021

"Agency is not an individual property.  Rather who and what acts, is a phenomenal question.  It is a decision, an incision, a cutting together/apart of the magnetic qualities of phenomena that emerge in the ongoing performance of the world."

Final Movement Tasks


Review Researcher Choreography

This was the first time I shared personal movement developed from the tasks with the participants.  I felt it was fitting as a narrative began to develop with the dancers during our talk about art and society shaping space and sharing our work with others within the community.  To personally participate in the research exploration and share in more than just the concept, but the choreographic nature in reflection to the context adds an element to the inseparability  supporting the theory of agential realism.

Jumps & Turns

As I entered the final workshop with the dancers, I wanted to explore movements that would challenge them more than the tasks I had been giving them, such as tracing and mapping the paintings and then evolving that movement with dynamics.  Still working with chance method,  I had the dancers pick sticks with color on the end of them, two for the jumping task.  They were asked to jump from one patch to the next.  Where and how would you land?  Would you generate a shape or pattern in the air, during take-off, or in landing? They were asked to connect the movement.  

The directives for the turning task were to pick a color stick and find an image within a patch that stands out to you.  Turn like never before.  How can the body take off or prepare to move or turn through space?  What form or shape does it take in motion?  Think of the body as a whole and embody this image as it rotates around the body.


Jumps from Color to Color Patch



"The challenge is being able to be in the air long enough to get the shape in your body, especially when the movement in the painting is so is trying to find fluidity in the body."



Both dancers went back a number of times to examine the painting.  B-really explores the bodies capacity for movement ending her turn on the floor



"I have something in my head, I just don't know how to do it."  S-really struggled with developing unfamiliar movement in this task.  The turn creation appears to be a mixture of recognizable turns together with a landing. 


Shared Movement=Contact=Duet

As the closing task to this project, I wanted the dancers to connect their movements and connect to one another.  After the year we have had with Covid, having to be socially distanced, wear masks in the facility, we were now fully vaccinated and the state no longer mandated masks to be worn indoors by individuals who were fully vaccinated.    Although we had been making connections and watching one another work, I wanted the dancers to make a physical connection with one another and develop work together from the movement they had created individually.  For the final task, I asked them to chose their favorite phrase and connect the movement into a new phrase pattern.

Placement Review/Final Documentation

End of Project #2 ...see Performances September 2021