Project # 5

Since the infancy of my research, this choreographic project materialized from an ongoing dialogue with a professional dancer from Chicago, Illinois.  Through numerous conversations regarding the process of the work, she would prompt me with questions that influenced various choices in my practice.  These talks became, in a way, a space for me to present my research and have it assessed by someone from the outside looking in.  

One day, she told me she was coming to New York, and we decided to work on a project together, but time was of the essence, and there was not adequate time to send the materials for her to make a flow painting.  I suggested using a picture she recently painted at an art show.  The method would not be in accord with the process of painting I had been using, but I thought it would be interesting for her to use a work she created from her personal methods to develop the painting. 

Her painting was constructed by the act of her physical body actually moving on the canvas.  This was in line with research she had been exploring with the dancing body and quantum tunneling.  I thought this would be a fascinating painting for her to investigate, given the movement tasks I used in the other projects because she already embodied this work in the making of the painting and has conceived a relationship with it.  Now the question and task at hand were how would one dance translate into the next?

Reading the Painting as Notation

As I was not present in the studio at the time the tasks were being explored, the dancer had more freedom with her movement.  I was not there to tell her to break her technical structure, slow down or speed up her tempo, add suspension, tension, etc.  She was aware of the process from many a conversation over the past year and a half.  I plainly explained to read her painting by mapping it as a Score.  I told her to be concisely aware of where she was reading this information from within the painting and develop the movement in her body, first tracing with the hands, then foot, next hips, and rib cage.  Once she completed this task I told her to find six images within the painting and send me close-up pictures of them.  After discussion of the images she chose I told her to mold her body into those shapes as if she was translating that image as an architectural site within the body.  

Choreo-Draft in Studio

Evolving the choreography by adding dynamics to the movement phrases and including her newfound body shapes the participant composed her work.  After I reviewed the development of her process, we discussed waiting until she arrived in New York to work together in person on additional elements and texture to layer onto the piece.  Having known the level of creativity and professionalism this dancer carries, I wanted to step out of the step-by-step process as I maintained with the other projects and give her space to allow her painting to speak back to her versus me dictating a personal aesthetic. 



Honestly, I was not sure how to go about conveying to this dancer what I was looking for once we stepped into the studio.  This was a professional, technically beautiful, seasoned dancer trained in ballet and Horton Technique.  She was tiny but mighty, with straight lines and a lifted torso.  I had to put my fears aside and treat this as a job.  I had to trust in my research and the methods developed to craft the choreography.  I had to listen to the voice in my head and not be afraid to ask questions, to ask what part of the painting translated the movement materialized, and tell her some of her movement looked like something I have seen her do in the past.  She was very open to my feedback and we worked together to translate the movement into a new movement within the vocabulary of her dancing body.  

Final Rehersal

End of Project #5...see Performance February 2022