New projects

This has been a big year for me --- I feel like I am in a big turning point. I received a promotion at work that has given me space and permission to re-dream, re-purpose, reflect and remember what I value and how I want to move forward in this life. This fellowship too, has given me space, and validation, in a way that allows me to go back inside, ask myself again

:: what do you want? ::

I am learning my rhythm, my negotiation with time. I prefer to work slowly, and for a quite a while now, largely. My projects have been on an always-bigger trajectory, and I credit/blame the tenure track for that. I can honestly say that I always make the work I want, but I always also have an awareness of "impact" "reputation" "profile" 

:: i have been quiet :: slow :: gentle :: patient :: listening ::

I love these times of going back inside. Of listening to find the beginning of the next impulse. The idea comes from somewhere, and if you slow down, sometimes you can feel it begin. These moments of gentle shaping are deeply satisfying to me, trying to hear feelings and direction and desire rather than trying to find the words or see the picture. Practicing the patience needed to drop down past the clutter and the static on the surface. 

I'm excited about small long projects. I'm excited about not trying to make a piece. I'm excited to go back into process. 

(As I say this, I have a big project opening on Saturday, with a new piece I have made, and I just wrote a grant with some beautiful artists for another really big project, with lots of people and ideas and disciplines. I am coming to terms with the fact that I place value on accomplishing things that seem impossible - hence the really large projects. I love bringing people together, making connections across disciplines, cultures, and geographies, but even as that goes on, I am looking for something that is just for me. Well, for me and my friend Kimberly....)

That is the answer to the question, what do I want? I want something that is just for me, but I don't want it to be just me. I want at least one other person in the room, literally or metaphorically or whatever other kind of way, but I don't want many, if any, more than that. I want there to be space between moments, but I also want to be relational to something, someone, some idea. I want to respond, as well as generate, and this is much easier when someone else is in the process - I love how ideas shift around ideas, how a thought can create a ripple around which an idea can bend. I do not want to be adrift in a sea of my own, familiar impulses.

My friend Kimberly is a poet in Austin. Her writing is rich and visceral; it doesn't enter through my brain, it punches a hole in my gut, seeps in through my skin, lands in my bones. We had the start of a process together a few years ago, as part of a larger process. She came to rehearsal and wrote and wrote and wrote, and at the end of three weeks gifted me with gorgeous writing filled with her process and my process, images and form that reflected back the shape of the air in the studio. 

Jaye Sheldon invited me to be a part of Poetry, Stories, and Motion during Story Days, and I had the opportunity to meet and work (very quickly!) with Gloria Muñoz for a short performance. Gloria's work is also deep and devastating, and it led me back to the quiet time with Kimberly, and a process interrupted. (I am so grateful to have met Gloria --- and look forward to more)

Anyway, Kimberly and I are starting on something new. Something that has no shape yet.

:: how do you make the thing that you don't know how to make? ::

:: how do you know the thing that you do not know? ::

She has sent me floods of writing, and I am going into the studio with them to discover a physical structure that responds to the words. With no end goal. We are planning to meet in a studio Austin in January, we will share what we have, and we will begin to map the shape of the space between us. Beyond that, I have no idea.... 

Our Trail!

We are in the final days before Our Trail: Performances on the Pinellas Trail opens on November 4!

The success of my project, Our Town: A Moving Dance Tour of St. Pete, produced by the St. Petersburg Dance Alliance and Dance Linkages as part of SPF 16, led to a nomination from the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance to expand the site-specific performance project and apply for a Stretch Grant from Creative Pinellas, which we did, in partnership with the New Music Conflagration. I devised Our Trail: Performances on the Pinellas Trail as a vehicle to expand the reach of live performance across the county with events in Largo, Dunedin, and St. Petersburg. I invited Helen Hansen French and Kellie Harmon to create new site-specific dance works, and Elizabeth Baker of the NMC curated the composers working with them. I am also creating a piece, and I am working with St. Pete-based Mike Alexis, who will be performing live in addition to creating the music. We had a rehearsal with Mike yesterday, and I am so excited!!

Our first performance is this Saturday, November 4 at 5:30p in the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. The three works are placed in the gardens, and the audience will walk from one location to the next. The location is beautiful, and I can’t wait to see the performance come together!

The 2nd performance is behind the Dunedin Historical Museum (shout out to Elizabeth Brincklow, Vinnie Luisi, and Fairlie Brinkley!) on November 18th at 4p, and our third and final performance will be on December 9 during ArtWalk in St. Petersburg. We are getting final permissions for our location, and I’ll let you know once it’s all final.

I’ll have more to say once we’ve had our first show because I should have started breathing again by then. I sure hope that you can join us on Saturday!

 

Getting back to work

I feel like I have been moving in fits and starts since Irma. We were super lucky - we didn't lose power, and we had manageable tree debris. We had friends staying with us who had evacuated from the beach, and I was cooking extra for other friends that had lost power. Time was so weird during that week, stretching and snapping. I lost track of days in there. 

Now all of a sudden it's fall, and things are about to hit overdrive for my next project, Our Trail. There will be three performances along the trail: Largo, Dunedin, and St. Petersburg, with new works choreographed by Helen Hansen French, Kellie Harmon and myself. I'm working with Mike Alexis on the music for my piece - here's a little bit of what we're working on. 

 

Irma

I’m still exhausted.

 

I know so much more now than before the hurricane.

 

About coins on frozen water in the freezer.

About closing all of the interior doors.

About water in ziplocs.

About solar phone chargers

About battery operated fans and radios.

About community sandbags.

About boarding up windows.

About lavender in crock pots.

About giving in to the inevitable.

About generosity.

About caring.

About money.

About access.

About who gets taken care of.

About who gets covered on the news.

About who has control over their choices.

About what it actually means to evacuate and

who gets to do it.

More words

I think a lot about the power of word choice in describing things – how the words used to mark an idea, object, person, etc., define and limit the possibilities of what a thing can be. And how the search for the most appropriate word/phrase is an exercise in specificity, meaning, and nuance – an additive process that increases the density of context and understanding around an idea.

Words are power. Who gets to speak? 

What does it say when we call dance a “performing” art? What does this say about what dance can be and who gets to do it?

Performing is such a small part of the dance world, but it defines so much of the field, particularly to those outside of it. When I was young, all I wanted to do was dance with a company and tour all around the world. My goal was to be on stage, but I learned at an early age that that was entirely dependent on someone else’s choice.

Being on stage is not something that you choose. It is something for which you must be chosen.

What this means is that the dancers who get to perform are the ones that fit someone else’s aesthetic. Someone else’s taste. What someone else likes. Consider too that whether a choreographer has her or his work produced also depends on someone else’s choice. Having my work produced on-stage is not something that I choose, it is something for which I must be chosen.

This is not to say that there aren’t other ways to be onstage, like free-lancing or self-producing, but I would not discover that until much later in my career. More often than not, as a free-lancer, you are either invited or apply for opportunities to perform your work. 

A complicated thing about performing is that a choreographer’s aesthetic is irretrievably tangled up with the physicality of real people. So when an artist’s work is performed, those dancers represent Dancers to the audience, and that dance represents Dance to the audience.

Now this is fine if your aesthetic lines up, but what if it doesn’t? And given that we are dealing with a very small number of people’s aesthetic, the chances of fitting in are pretty slim, not even mentioning the demographics of power in dance. Who gets to be a dancer? What gets to be called dance? Whose story is it really?     

There is a category for me: Mid-Career Artist. When I was an Emerging Artist, I always wondered what it would feel like to be mid-career, but I find it feels pretty much the same except that I know a little more, I’ve done a little more, but I still feel like I’m discovering myself as a person and as an artist. And one of the things I’ve discovered is that my relationship with performance has changed over time, and that I am no longer invested in my identity as a performer. Or at least as a performer in a traditional sense – in a company, on a proscenium stage, with lights and technology, in front of an audience that knows when to clap. Not that I don’t enjoy performing on a stage, it just takes up a much smaller part of my experience at this point in my career. My body is not a performing body in the way it was when I was younger, and I have a different relationship with virtuosity, both physically and philosophically.

I am no less a dancer now than I was then. I am simply interested in dance in different ways. I am interested in what it reveals to myself, more than what it reveals to an audience, though I don’t mind if people watch, and I am always interested in sharing. I want it to be less precious, less rarified, more mundane and human, which is why I am so drawn to site-specific work and finding different ways for an audience to engage with dance.

Dance is a way to exercise and challenge perception. Dance is a way of negotiating truth through physical experience and proprioception. Dance is a way of connecting us to our own humanity as well as each other through the physical act of moving. Dance is a way of reminding us of the miracle it is to be alive – thinking, sensing and feeling.

There is so much more to dance than performing. I recently read this article that really resonated with me about a program for a mid-career artist residency program at Banff. (I'm also pasting it below.) 

http://www.thedancecurrent.com/feature/fundamental-questions

The issue of performance came up during the residency, and more importantly, the expectation of performance and the belief that performance is the most desired outcome from a creative process. And what happened when artists chose not to place performance at the center of their experience in the residency. (Spoiler: they were asked to leave.) 

The problem I have with this is that I know how to make a dance. But I don't know how to make a dance that I don't know how to make, and frankly, I am more interested in figuring out how to make that dance. I have no idea what that dance will look like, and in order to figure it out, I need time, without the model of performance waiting around, asking to play. As a mid-career artist, I am questioning everything again, and I have a desire to dig deep into the possibilities of movement as a way to exercise and challenge perception.

I am lucky to be an educator because it anchors me to the field in practical ways - teaching technique and choreographing works. It gives me a reference point as I renegotiate my relationship with Performance and Dance. Which I now call a moving art. 

 

 

 

Words

I love descriptive language. I love language that describes physical feeling. I want to put my experience of my physical body through another processor, translating sensation into words, because finding the words that best describe an experience helps to clarify my understanding of what is happening.

 

I am lying on the ground on my back. I take a deep breath, feeling my ribs expand on the back side of my torso, keeping my shoulders soft. I can feel my lungs filling like balloons, and I become aware of the interior surface of my ribs, as my lungs press from the inside. On the exhale, my bones follow my lungs as they deflate and come to a gentle rest. I take a few more breaths like this to remind my bones they are not stuck, to acknowledge the connection between the inside and outside of my body, to experience the rhythm and efficiency of this moment. I make a mental note of my organs – stomach on the left, liver on the right, kidneys in the back, lungs, heart, and intestines, and I sense them as the deep interior space of me.

(How my sensation of my living organs is informed by pictures and photographs!)

I feel my organs in relation to fascia, bone, and muscle, an organic and dynamic architecture. My joints are soft, listening, ready to respond to impulse. I slide the back of my right hand along the ground, thumb-leading, exposing my palm and the soft inside of my upper arm. My elbow floats off the ground, moving across my body, and there is a stretch, more like a skin-tightening, on the left side of my neck as my body begins a slow spiral that brings me to my left side. As my right hand pushes into the ground, I become aware of the line of energy that connects the heel of my hand and the base of my shoulder blade. Muscles activate between my scapula and my back, and I ride the roundness of my ribs as I return to my back.

My right side feels heavier now, looser, and I experience again, that in order to release, I first have to engage. 

The rhythm of things

I believe having an honest relationship with time is a key to the universe. 

 

Last year, Loretta Livingston (choreographer) asked a question in an artist talk: 

             "What does it feel like to be you?"

I almost always feel rushed. Like I never quite have enough time- not enough time to process what is happening, never enough time to feel the true rhythm of my body. My natural rhythm is really slow. Slow twitch not fast twitch. My cycles are longer- sometimes I think my default is (at least) a 25 hour clock, rather than a 24 hour clock. During the summer, I stay awake a little longer every day, until I get to the point where I have to reset my clock by staying up all night so that I will be tired enough to go to bed "on time" to function on a normal work day schedule. "Bed time" always comes too soon for me (which drove my parents crazy when I was younger). I don't actually even know how long my cycles are because I have rarely been able to take my time. I am always running late or feeling like I am holding people up, and the pressure of other people waiting overrides my desire to take my time. 

Time is rarely on my side. 

I have become quite resentful about clocks. I feel that learning to tell time taught me to believe that the passing of time is constant, that it is something ordered and regulate-able. I have been trained to give priority to what the clock says, over other ways of marking time, and for a long time, I thought that telling time and experiencing time were the same thing. I would try to fit my experience of time passing to the number on the clock, and it was confusing when it would pass slower or faster than what I was feeling. 

But the beauty of things not making sense is that there is an opportunity for gaining knowledge- understanding beyond what is already known. 

A few years ago, I was in Italy working with Lenka Flory and Simone Sandroni of Deja Donne Dance. This was for "Woman's Work: Reconstructions of Self," a solo commissioning project I conceived, curated and performed. It was important to me to be able to spend more time in the creation process. 

(In modern dance, commissions are usually completed in 7-10 days due to money and scheduling issues, which means that the process is truncated, with little time to develop the work with the dancers. The work is often placed on top of them rather than in collaboration, which means the work does not necessarily reflect the individuality of the performers.)

So for Woman's Work, I worked with each choreographer for one month, and we were able to engage in a deeper process, which was reflected in each of the pieces that were created. It felt indulgent to take this kind of time- it was so outside of my experience to have the luxury to let things unfold. It doesn't mean that we were not aware of the schedule, but we had more space to respond to the actual process rather than having to push through to the product. 

I don't have much practice taking my time; time has always felt like an adversary.

The value of the process in Italy extended beyond working in the studio because nothing exists in a vacuum - everything affects everything. Taking time with the artistic process spilled over into taking my time to eat, taking my time to warm-up, taking my time starting my day, and taking my time getting ready for bed. 

I realized that I often felt like I was living in the front of my body, always pulling forward to meet time. Having the luxury of time allowed my body to catch up, and for the first time I was able to feel how much time I need to wake-up. About an hour. I experienced how long it takes for me to warm-up before dancing and prepare for rehearsal. About 2 hours. I also learned what I need to do to warm-up, rather than what I have been taught to do to warm-up. I learned how much time I need to wind-down at the end of the day so that I can feel ready for bed. About 2 hours of quiet time. That's five hours a day! Add in rehearsal - 4-6 hours- and eating - about 4 hours between breakfast lunch and dinner, and suddenly I had a different perspective on how much I can actually accomplish with integrity in one day. 

Perspective. 

Now I am thinking about the words I have used when I think about taking my time- words like "indulgent" and "luxury." Like it is a want and not a need. As if taking longer somehow is analogous to lack of industry or laziness, aka bad. 

But it is a necessity, understanding my personal rhythm, because that helps me understand that everything has a relationship to time that is independent of mine. Learning that time is marked by more than a clock. Using my experience and sensation to help me determine the rhythm of things, sensitizing to the inherent cycles that are already in motion. Feeling how time moves differently in different situations, processes or organisms; that it is situation specific, rather than universal. Developing an awareness of what affects my experience of how time moves- when it speeds up or slows down, so that my relationship with time is no longer adversarial.

So that I can have an honest relationship with time. 

Summertime 2

June is winding down, and it has been a great month, a lot of traveling, visiting family and friends, dancing with new friends and old, dreaming of new projects and ways to connect and be connected to those that inspire me and support me.

 

Community. Sharing space and ideas with people over time. Old friends. Being in a space with old friends in Austin, dancing, sensing the circularity of pathways. Spirals, always returning, but to a different latitude. Reaching out only to find myself returning to what I already know. Remembering again and again, giving up ownership of the knowledge, letting go of the preciousness of knowing.

 

I have been traveling, solo traveling with my dog, Skye. I grew up in Texas, and my family still lives in the DFW metroplex. Every June, I take care of my three nephews while my sister reads AP tests in Ohio, and this summer I decided to drive because 1) I love the drive, and 2) I could make a detour to Austin for the Tuning Scores workshop, and 3) I could take my dog Skye so she could hang out with my nephs.

 

I love driving. I grew up in Texas, and we had a station wagon – we drove EVERYWHERE. When I was a kid I hated how long it took to drive places, but now it’s a huge gift not to be in a hurry. I love the open space, and the quiet. Hours of not talking, just thinking, reflecting, processing, digesting. Two beautiful days of reset.

 

Being in Austin, dancing, with familiar people, in a familiar space was magical. A space for dancing with people that I know, where connections have established rhythms, and there is a depth of understanding that only comes with shared history. A reconnection to a community that I am missing here in Florida. I was not the only one in Austin that no longer lives in Austin, and it gets me wondering why we can’t just get together here too. Everything I do seems to be about connecting people over time and space. Linkages. I love that we are all spread out because we have our own space, and then we have all of these dots to connect. A constellation of a community.

Could have done

Every blog post I write in my mind is AMAZING. When I sit down to write, however, all my ideas feel like an outfit on the morning after a night out, and I am left with a memory of the possibility of something awesome that I haven’t actually done - of something that I could have done.

Except that I didn’t do it. Obviously. So is it really true that I could have?

Well. While I prefer to hold the door open for possibility and try to blur the line between probable and improbable, whether or not I could is an unknowable, a made-up reference point only, a diversion. Unless I do the thing, whether or not I could is a moot point. And if I do, whether or not I could is not a question.

This particular speculation is a waste of time. And it has taken me a very long time to recognize that it is a waste of time. The majority of my career. Actually, make that life – the majority of my life.

Do the thing. Then we can talk about it.

Parenthetical Aside: Making sense of life, Lesson #73

Believing one can do something, being able to do something, and actually doing something are independent things. Related, but not interdependent.

There was an older lady sitting in front of me at a Merce Cunningham Dance Company performance in Austin, TX, in 1992. At the end of the concert she turned to the woman seated next to her and said, “Well, I could have done that.” This proved to be an important moment in my life.

I was a freshman in college, and I was taking my first semester of Modern Dance after a young lifetime of ballet. All of us dance students had the opportunity to have class with Meg Harper (Cunningham dancer 1968-1977, Rehearsal Director) for an entire week leading up to the performance, and we were able to experience first-hand how the appearance of simplicity and clarity in the Cunningham technique exists in direct relation to its difficulty of execution.

I always think one of the superpowers dancers have is the ability to make an insane statement about physicality true. Like this: have your weigh evenly distributed between both legs even when one leg is off the ground. Or another way to say it: don’t shift your pelvis when you lift one foot off the ground. That’s just crazy. That’s one of the things we had been working on and after 5 days, I could kind of do it, or rather I could do it, just not consistently – and I was not untalented as a dancer. I knew how much effort and practice went into the appearance of ease that led an elderly woman to believe that she could be a Cunningham dancer.

As for the performance, I didn’t get it at all, and frankly, I was more than a bit put off by this whole “Modern” thing. But even though I did not understand the performance, I could recognize that there was something happening – there was a syntax, a thing to be gotten, I just didn’t know how to get it. Like I was somehow a puzzle piece that didn’t have the right shape to complete the image.

I was learning about Cunningham’s process involving chance operations, and his lifetime collaboration with John Cage. It was a process that seemed simple: make a bunch of material, roll the dice, assign the parts and call it a choreography. But my experience with the physicality of the technique was that simplicity was an aesthetic choice that seemed to create more possibility, not less. Because of this, I was open to the possibility that the simplicity of his creative process also created more possibility and complexity, not less, even if I wasn’t able to understand it yet. And I knew there was no way that “I could have done that.”

“I could have done that.”

I don’t think it is ever true. What I have come to understand is that the work is made in the making, and that it is deeply personal. I can work with the same idea and utilize the same process as another choreographer, and even if we start with the same movement, the physical sequencing will be unique to each of us and the piece I make will always be different than hers.

In the same way that I have written an infinite number of interesting and intelligent imaginary blog posts, I have also started a million dances in my head – super exciting dances with perfectly sequenced phrases - that I have yet to make.  

The only piece that matters is the one you make.

 

Thoughts on moving

"I think that one of the reasons that I got involved in dance is to finish my movement development. Because I have a hunger to find and to finish and to explore, to do essentially what babies do when they begin to move. A hunger to find out what movement is or can be. I think it provides a service to keep the search alive, in a culture which has engineered an environment which requires physical and sensorial suppression to exist in." Steve Paxton

This video. I can't stop thinking about this video.

My friend Olivia O'Hare shared this with me months ago, and it continues to circle around in my thoughts, rings true for me, gently and profoundly. Steve Paxton, the initiator of Contact Improvisation speaks about movement and sensorial development, and how urban life reduces our connection and development of our movement and sense development. 

I have been in Austin, TX over Memorial Day weekend taking a workshop on Tuning Scores facilitated by Margit Galanter. This a description of Tuning from the Tuning Scores Log: (https://tuningscoreslog.wordpress.com/about/)

Tuning Scores are an intriguing way to investigate fundamental elements of performance, movement behavior, and communication, altogether. Originated by Lisa Nelson, the explorations illuminate how we compose perception through action; in other words, we learn how what we see is inextricably linked to how we see, through our multisensorial layers of observation. In “tuning,” we practice together, using both movement and verbal calls. Through these, we communicate our desires, our imagination, and our memory, in a shared image space. And with this material, we compose live art, together.

As I get older, I find my interests lie more and more in the realm of improvisation and perception - using movement as framework/skillset to make sense of the world where I live. I am fascinated by how an idea can be explored physically, with priority placed on discovery rather than demonstration, without needing find an answer or prove something right. What does it mean to answer a question physically? What if I begin with a sense other than sight? What can I come to understand through this investigation? Being in the process of process. 

I think that I will use Tuning Scores for the Urban Duets. 

 

Summertime

Hello hello! It has been a while since my last entry --- I ask for patience as I transition into my summer rhythm….

Summer is an important time for me. It is a time to re-flect and re-group, when I have space to breathe, process, dream my work into being away from a daily schedule of teaching. It is artist time - a period of active calibration – paying attention to what settles at the bottom and what rises to the top of my artistic consciousness – a check-in. Scheduling is difficult because I am so greedy of my time, especially these beginning days of summer when I have to practice taking time, remembering the feeling of allowing actions and ideas to run their actual duration rather than rushing, shortening, always moving on to the next thing – never having time to feel the completion of one task as distinct from the beginning of another.

thinking dreaming feeling being making asking practicing

Settling back into my body, recognizing that feeling of being at the front of my eyeballs, the unconscious, gentle insistence on a forward direction that locks the base of my skull into the back of my neck

Allowing my eyes to rest in their sockets, sensing how the back of my neck softens, my chin drops, my throat relaxes, and all of a sudden I can feel the weight of my body again.

Dropping down into the physicality of my body, open to impulse from an awareness of sensation rather than a construction of thought.

 

Slowing down.

 

Paying attention.

 

Moving from the inside.

 

 

Summertime

Dance as Public Art

Hello again! The semester at USF is winding down, and I am looking forward to summer projects. I have my first rehearsal for the new solo I wrote about in my last entry this Thursday, so I am working on some rehearsal strategies/scenarios that Nathalia and I can use as structures for improvisation. I am also going to try get some solo studio time for myself so that I can develop phrase material for us to use as a common movement vocabulary. I’ll let you know how it goes….

 

Ok. So another project I am working on is “urban duets.” Like I mentioned previously, I am really into site-specific work. I love seeing and placing dance in unexpected spaces and situations; I am very interested in the resonance of bodies and objects in space - how what happens in a space leaves an imprint that becomes part of the space, a memory archive that exists whether or not someone can “feel” it. (I could go on and on about this, I love the idea of traces, echoes, and memory – hopefully I’ll circle back around to this at a later date.)

 

*Mission Statement Alert* I seek to normalize dance by devising strategies for people to see more dance in their daily lives. This is a big one for me – I think about this all this time – more about this later – I realize I’m writing that a lot, but it turns out I have a lot to say, and it’s really easy to get side-tracked. Anyway – it’s important, because my desire to normalize dance for non-dance populations is integral to this “urban duets” project.

 

I am working with my dear friend and collaborator, choreographer/performer Elsa Valbuena on a new structured improvisation that we will perform in urban, public spaces in downtown St. Pete during “business” hours, preferably in locations and at times of commuter traffic when people are going to work. I think that one of the biggest obstacles for the sustainability of the field of dance is the simple fact that people don’t know how much it really costs to make a dance. I want to make a poster board with the actual cost of making and performing the “urban duets.” We will display that while we dance to give people a context about the labor of art-making while they are on the way to the labor they themselves perform. We are going to perform regularly in the same location over the course of a few weeks and then try to talk to people about it. I would like to know what it would take for someone who has never seen a dance performance to pay to see one. And what is like for someone to see dance as public art? And how much would someone pay to see a dance performance?

 

We are aiming for late summer to start performing the duets --- I’ll keep you posted!

She forgets Herself

Hello hello! I am truly honored to receive a 2017 Artist Fellowship in Choreography from Creative Pinellas. As part of the award, I am to keep a public blog about my activities, and I am excited (and more than a little nervous) about the prospect. While I enjoy writing, I am not a journal-er, nor do I keep a diary, so I welcome the task of writing regularly about my work (and other stuff).

 

Ok, so first, a little about me. I am choreographer, and movement is the filter through which I make sense of the world. I often utilize technology in my work, most often through video projection design. By creating abstract animations in Adobe After Effects, I have used projection as lighting design and also as a set element, with videos of birds, or clouds, or other visual content. It is important to me to create a context for each dance I make, and projection has been one way for me to “place” dance in relation to an idea or visual reference. 

 

I also like to literally place my dances in non-traditional venues by making site-specific dances. I have made dances in a creek, under a tunnel, on a wall, in a tea-house, a botanical garden, among other locations. Most recently, I created a work for the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, as part of OUR TOWN, a walking tour of site-specific works that I curated for SPF 16 this past September. One of my current projects is a performance of three new dance/music works in three cities along the Pinellas Trail, an expansion of OUR TOWN called OUR TRAIL. The three choreographers are Helen Hansen French, Kellie Harmon, and myself, working with three composers that will be curated by Elizabeth Baker of the New Music Conflagration. I am sure I will talk more about OUR TRAIL in subsequent entries.

 

Most recently, I have been working on what I think is becoming a series of dances. She has a Particular Relationship with Memory was the piece I created for the shuffleboard courts last September. It was a site-specific dance for 6 dancers who performed in the alleys between the courts. She engages in a sequence of Surrenders was a solo I created (and performed) for BEACON, a performance series curated by Helen Hansen French and Lauren Sloane. For this work, I was working with a physical sensation of surrendering, which translated at times into the sensation of “giving in” to the movement, and at other times following a line of energy through my body, or through a shifting of weight. A small video of birds in flight was projected onto the left side of the back wall for the duration of the piece.

 

I am beginning a new solo in this series – She forgets Herself, which I am creating for/with dancer Nathalia Guzman. Our first rehearsal is May 4, and I am really looking forward to getting into the studio. In the spirit of artistic process, I thought I would share my initial thoughts and ideas for this new work:

 

She forgets herself

Grey hair going grey from root to tip

Core to distal

Memory echo

Deconstructing reconstructing

Mind racing

Trying to track the thought

Path path path open space lost find

The key back into the maze

Privacy vs secrecy

 

Go before you’re ready

 

Do you remember the first color you ever liked?

What was your first favorite color?

What was your first desire?

What was your first favorite shirt?

What was your first favorite thing to do?

Etc etc

 

What is your favorite feeling?

 

The now The then The here

 

When was your first disappointment?

When was the first time someone was mean to you?

When was the first time you were shocked?

What was the first really mean thing that you did?

When was the first time you were selfish?

When was the first time someone let you down?

When was the first time you let someone down?

When was the first time you were embarrassed?

When was the first time you were embarrassed by your parents?

 

When was the first time you remember shaping your identity?

When was the first time you remember shaping your identity based on someone else’s values?

 

What happens when we remove fragments of time?

 

Andee Sun Scott

Andee Scott is an interdisciplinary dance artist based in St. Petersburg, FL. As a choreographer, her work often investigates the intersections between light, projection design and the body in motion. Her work has been performed nationally and internationally, most recently in the Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival and Barnstorm Dance Fest, as well as Beijing, China, and Guadalajara, Mexico, as part of Proyecto al Margen, funded by FONCA (El Fondo Nacional para Cultura y las Artes, Mexico). She curated and performed Woman’s Work: Reconstructions of Self, a solo dance project, working with five international choreographers and toured works from the award-winning project in the U.S. and Mexico, and in Italy, as a member of Deja Donne. She has been a member of Sharir+Bustamante Danceworks and Blue Lapis Light in Austin, TX; has performed with David Dorfman Dance and AlienNationCo., under the direction of Johannes Birringer; and toured solo works in the US, Italy, and Mexico. She was a resident artist at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program (2011) and was Creative Loafing’s Critic’s Pick for Best Dance Scene Mover and Shaker (2015). Andee has conducted residencies and taught master classes around the world and is on faculty at the University of South Florida.

In 2014, she created Dance Linkages to build a contemporary network of artists connecting across geographies and disciplines to develop, perform, and tour new work. Projects include Sola, a curated evening of solo works by a national company of female dance artists; Between Here and Now, an international collaboration with Proyecto al Margen; and Our Town, a walking tour of dances performed in historic sites in downtown St. Petersburg.