Performing for an audience in Cincinnati this past weekend for the Performance and Time Arts Festival, I realized something. I had the pleasure of sharing my realization with friend and colleague Julie Mayo of Dim Sum Dance this week, and in the sharing realized something more.
I performed a solo, part old material, part new material, called The Go In Her. After the first show, I had the great sensation of location. Here you are. I found myself in the terrifying act of dancing in front of people yet again. It made me realize that as dance makers, we have to know that when we go into the room to make and perform, our whole being is brought with us and is acting on the making, sometimes in ways we cannot see or understand until show time. We cannot go anywhere except in the going of our self.
I made myself commit to only 3-hours rehearsal time for this show. I fashioned material sincerely but quickly. I said yes a lot, but I also said no. I had to speedily say no to material that emerged so I didn't get trapped in the temptation of it.
This method was thrilling. It made me see how any choice I make is me, and so the dance is distinctly my dance. When Julie and I spoke about my experience, she reminded me of a workshop with Susan Rethorst where Susan talked about how 'You're not going anywhere when you make a dance, so don't worry about it - just make.' Julie and I laughed at this as it seemed so funny, so obvious. Of course I'm not going anywhere! It's me working there in the studio, not anyone else.
But there could be. Doris Humphrey, Bill T. Jones, or others might be in the room with you, their sensibility and influence operating on you in the weave of your dance. And that's cool, having the influence of others in your work. That is an aspect of making you might be interested in. And you go that way. But if you're not aware of that influence in your work, or you're letting their voice over ride your voice, if you're calling it you instead of who it actually is, well, I guess I'm of the opinion that it can get confusing for you and your audience. Your audience sees you when you dance---no one else. They want to see the mark of you in the dance you create with other dancers. In Cincinnati, I was reminded of how I am my dances, my dances areme---in the best times, and in the worst times.
When I started the rehearsal process for TGIH, I somehow equated length of rehearsal time with quality of performance; that if I committed a lot of time in rehearsal it would mean I'd get a pretty nicely baked loaf of a dance. And it was refreshing to find that those 3-hours yielded a loaf of a dance that was just fine. I wasn't going anywhere. I was in the dance, the dance in me, and that yielded some artwork worth seeing and having a conversation about---worth experiencing. Perhaps it's because I work with an emergent premise approach to dance making, and so one must consider the need for a fair amount of time for something fair enough to watch to emerge. But if the recipe is right, and the ingredients true---maybe not always? As Julie and I arrived at---'The form comes from whatever she needs to do.'
\ How do you locate yourself in your dances?
/ How are your dances you?
| Who else is in there dancing with you? Be honest.