Performances

•September 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Tonight was the last performance at The Garage.  I wish I had one or two more nights to perform this piece.  I’ve learned a few things with this structured improv:

1.  Show the structured improv to a small audience/group during the rehearsal process (seems obvious, but I didn’t do this).  Doing the improv in front of people made it feel completely different.  More adrenalin.  More self-aware.

2.  Play with different improv structures.  I stuck with one.

3.  The piece should be longer so that it can develop more.  I was very concerned that it would be too long and get boring, but it actually doesn’t register enough at the length it is (4.5 mins).  I think it could be around 6 minutes or even 7.

4.  Improvisational performance is a very interesting idea to me and I want to play with it more!

5.  I feel inspired to create work and hope to keep creating work.

6.  Dance is so much more than perfect technique and a perfectly tuned body.  I have felt so discouraged with my body lately–it’s stiffness and my lack of technical training.  We all have stuff to work on and we all have strengths.  I want to be open to what I need to work on but be happy to know that I’m never going to master anything.  It’s about practice, accepting your strengths and weaknesses and working with both.

7.  I am hesitant to pursue dance more aggressively for financial and logistical reasons and because sometimes I just really need a break and time away from it–I feel these things make me not a dancer.  is that true?  What makes you a dancer? And what makes you not a dancer?  I am suddenly in a space where I am not really dancing.  Am I suddenly no longer a dancer?  Why do I identify with dancer so much?  Am I afraid to lose that part of myself?  probably.

8. There is more to life than dance.  Dance reflects and is part of life, but is not life.  At least, not for me.

9.  Struggle and gesture often comes out of my work.

10.  I love metaphors

Gearing up for Performance

•September 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I am performing my solo, Expect, Wednesday and Thursday night of this week at The Garage in San Francisco.  I just took a deep breath.  The solo has become an improvisational score.  I also have added a prop–a skirt, which I wear around my head and manipulate during the piece.  I went to see Technocraft at YBCA, an exhibit that explores how the boundaries between designer and consumer are disappearing.  In one section of the exhibit, furniture is taken apart and put back together in different ways.  For example, a chair may have two arm rests pushed together to serve as a seat.  Light fixtures weren’t simply lamps, with a lampshade.  Light source became more functional.  One “lamp” served as a stand for a book; the book then becoming the lampshade.  The exhibit made me think of using something in an expected way and how I often take for granted the function and design of common, everyday things such as clothing and furniture–things that we either rest on or inhabit.  How often do we question how those things are designed and used?  Clothing provides a sense of composure and control and even censorship over the body.  It reveals, but only so much.  It contains you, but only so much.  How can it be manipulated into something more than just an item of clothing and how does that item of clothing inhibit and free someone?  How can something like a skirt, which, to me, represents a feminine, formal or playful/sexy item of clothing, be seen in a different way?  In a way that our expectations of both the garment and the person in it start to get challenged?

As I gear up for the performance, I feel I need to focus on some things:

This performance is primarily for me to learn from.

I need to stay engaged with my score and the garment I am working with–in some sense, shut the audience out.

I need to come back to Expectations–what they mean to me–where the struggle lies and how that translates through the body.

More to come soon…

Stream of consciousness

•August 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

As I watched playback from my rehearsal, I wrote….

Awkward moments.  I know you’re watching me.  What I be doing?  Should I say hi?

Marking up your face.  Clean it off.  Erase it.  Erase yourself.  Rewind.  Boundaries.  Make Boundaries–touch the ends.  Which way should I go–middle ground–wobbly ground.  Stand on two feet.  Don’t fall down.  Drive. Go. Watch yourself.  Turn it inside out, upside down.  Countdown.  Get out of the middle.  Traffic.  Forward, back. Back and forth.  Dreaming, waiting, watching.  Move forward, go back.  Stop.  Stay in the middle. Lose ground.  Gain ground.  What do you expect.  Counting.  Countdown begins. 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 2, 1. Order. Disorder.  Deciding.  Taking.  Waiting. Doing.  Do. Go. Back. Forth. In. Out. Up. Down. Side Side.  choose.  don’t choose.

Improvisation

•August 4, 2010 • 2 Comments

Today, improvising felt really good.  I have been in a bit of a slump with my solo, but today I felt some new ideas and inspiration forming.  I played with this improv today, beginning to set more material.  This solo has been creating some frozen moments for me–some fear.  I can’t seem to make decisions.  I realized that this is reminiscent of my subject.  Expectations, for me, often involve multiple choices or different roads one can go down (professionally, personally, etc.).  They seem to involve living within what might be instead of living with what is and making decisions, regardless of what might or might not happen.  You have to decide.  Today, I worked on that.

Home

•July 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Home, where soul meets soul

A deep dwelling to breathe in

Forge ahead, don’t hide

sleepless night with marcel duchamp

•July 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.” –Marcel Duchamp.

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) began his art career as a painter, and transitioned into sculpture/still life work.  During his era, he began to break the molds of art, which was primarily considered a pleasing thing for the eye to look at and observe.  He wanted to challenge people to think differently about art by giving them something completely new and even arbitrary to not just look at, but think about. Examples of this type of work are Bicycle Wheel and other readymades, which were created between 1915 and 1923.

Duchamp preferred not to be labeled as a  Surrealist, Cubist or Dadaist–although he was influenced by and contributed to these movements.  He was interested in breaking the rules of art by making things that weren’t beautiful and in doing so he created work that was unpretentious and caused introspection.  He was courageous, interested in thinking critically and was unafraid to present what might at first seemed banal.  By using objects such as the one below, he enticed his audience in an unexpected way. Everyone can relate to a bicycle wheel or a urinal because they are common items.  His display of them as art work invites the viewer in in a familiar way, and yet I can also see how he might have made his spectators uncomfortable, causing them to ask questions about that particular object and how its public display might or might not change its meaning, value or characteristics.  Or maybe even challenge how the viewers relate to the object–what feelings, thoughts and associations it generates in them.   Check out this website for some more info:  marcelduchamp

Rehearsal progress

•July 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The tasks I outlined for myself in my last post seemed stringent and not all that insightful once I was in the studio.  They seemed a bit too large and abstract; however, I was able to focus on task 1 and 2.  As I focused on the way I move and then on trying to break free of habitual patterns, I felt self-conscious and extremely aware of my choices.  This awareness felt inhibiting to a certain extent.  In thinking about this inhibition more, I realize that having high expectations can also lead to self-consciousness.  You may be so acutely aware of your decisions and where you are headed, that you may become a prisoner to the path you are creating for yourself.  In some ways, I entered the rehearsal with expectations for myself as I had pre-planned what I would be doing and thought a lot about it beforehand.   My wise little brother was onto something when, at the age of 12 or 13 he said, “I just try not to expect too much and that way I’m surprised.”

I recorded my improvisations and there were a few interesting motifs or ideas that emerged, such as use of hands in controlled and uncontrolled ways, my right leg getting stuck in and around my left. Repetition also stood out and  I noticed that I would stick with something for a little while and right as it was starting to get interesting, I would drop out in some way–sometimes this was an interesting change and sometimes it was not.  During these moments within the improvisation, I recall thinking, “oh, this repeated movement is interesting.  Now how am I going to resolve this and move on.”  This has been a huge question of mine since graduate school.  An interesting motif that emerged both in movement and in terms of the larger theme of this work was getting caught up in something, getting stuck, going around and around in circles.  Here is perhaps were repetition comes in as well.

As I perused my footage, I began to dissect some of the improvisation and expound upon it by actually trying to create a set phrase of movement.  One particular and very small part of my first improvisation drew me in–I stood with my hands on my hips, then on my thighs, then down at my sides–it was very calculated, precise and delicate.  Today’s rehearsal began by exploring this, but it morphed into less of an exact placement of the hands and more of a fidgeting motion.  From here the phrase continued and began to reveal larger ideas, such as:

  • The awkwardness of waiting for something to happen or to be given to you–this creates self-consciousness and a feeling of being evaluated in some way.
  • Wanting something vs. offering something vs. asking for something.  What are the lines between these things?  If we offer something, do we expect something in return?  If we are offered something and take it, could we lose control of that thing?  Do we always ask for something when we want it or need it, or do we just expect that it will come to us?  How much value do we place on getting (whether it’s material goods, career advancement or emotional support and love)?  How much value do we place on giving?

I know that I myself struggle with wanting to advance in my career and life.  So much so that I often think about gaining and moving forward instead of giving fully of myself where I am now–both in my relationships and in my work life.

Here are clips from last rehearsal–various phrases that are becoming more set, as of now.  Sorry for the bad video quality: