my self-assigned assignment
I am challenged and motivated (and frankly quite tired of) the spectatorial response, “Well I liked it, but I don’t get it”. As a Researcher, I am interested in understanding the historical, performative* and somatosensory conditions* that precipitate this response, and how those conditions echo into individual* and sociocultural spheres*. As a Creator, I orbit the question: If your intention is to communicate, then wouldn’t you wish to be understood?
I make immersive, multimedia performance experiences using movement inasmuch as it advances the story. Humor and blatancy are my access points. My work almost always starts with a laugh, something to part the pursed lips of the witness and open them up to the possibility of feeling more, feeling differently.
I like to call attention to the things we take for granted—
Opposable thumbs, instect-ish gesticulation, trash, trashy pop, a tongue-tied cherry stem, and the way the child’s popsicle-stained shirt produces in you a deep urge to call Lincoln and apologize for not taking his suit to the dry cleaner that day.
—and to repurpose materials we are familiar with in ways unfamiliar.
A used birth control packet as a crown, self-help tapes revealing our true helplessness, Donald Glover’s Coachella speech at a 6-seat bar, and a toilet flush to end Act I.
I sample, I replicate, and I reproduce works that I value, paying tribute to what and whom informs my art, my practice, my life. I never buy costumes or props. I rarely rent space. I meet people, I move around, and I find the means. My work is both composed of and sustained by the means it is made.
While physical and empirical research are the motive forces for what I do, movement commonly becomes a footnote or an asterisk (sometimes, even an object of ridicule) within the final product. This is because I find the moving body (i.e. the Dance) isn’t always enough to get the point across. And in combatting the ways in which I think capital-D Dance fails us (see footnotes), I still find it fruitful to call it a “Dance Show” and to leave (what we think of as) Dance, out of it.
My goal is to make performative events, rooted in a life well-researched, that leave us feeling content with what has occurred and content with having more questions. In an esoteric sense (a sense in which us, Choreographers, love to indulge), I hope to leave memory traces—intellectual, kinesthetic and sensational pathways from the possible to the probable.
*historical conditions: privileging of Euro-American centric movement forms and ideals; segregation of social and concert dance spheres reinforcing and reinforced by racism, colonialism, and all other destructive -isms.
*performative conditions: westernized, formal separations between performer and spectator; the widely acknowledged yet too-often-unattended gaps between artists’ intentions and audience experience.
*somatosensory conditions: said performative contexts inhibiting our ability for kinesthetic empathy (i.e. the ability to ‘see ourselves’ in what we are witnessing); disenfranchisement of social dance as a way for society to engage with/experience dance in one’s own body.
*individual spheres: aesthetics grafted onto the dancer-as-canvas (i.e. asking someone to ‘feel like water’ but requiring an aesthetic attached to that sensation, potentially falsifying it); metaphysical borders we enact through physicality.
*sociocultural spheres: bodies as a mechanisms for social change simultaneously subject to socialization; building transgressive structures for our movement community(s), while feeling obliged to participate in current structures and aparati of creation.