Summer Solo Studio Practice: Conclusion

This summer, I set out to continue my studio practice with a number of intentions in mind. Primarily,

  1. To continue my investigations of space and place, and specifically, how to locate some of those questions in my own body
  2. To keep moving and further the development of my studio practice

In essence, I’ve met those goals over the past two months, with an appropriate amount of variation, of course. Naturally, I ended up somewhere different than where I started, which just seems to be the way of things.  It seemed important throughout the past two months to be open, follow impulse, and basically, enjoy having studio time with no pressure to create a finished product.

In conjunction with my writing on this blog, this solitary movement practice has helped me ritualize both the embodied and mental aspects of being a choreographer. While I still prefer working with groups of people to solo work, the solitude of working in the studio alone became both a challenge and a comfort.

Choreographically, I can’t really quantify in traditional terms what I’ve produced during this process. I didn’t make a solo that I want to put on a stage. But what I do have is perhaps more useful to me: a toolbox of movement material that I might use in future projects and classes (I’m especially hoping Dance 5213: Intermedia will help me find some layers to help structure some of it into a solo work) , a series of prompts, tasks, and questions that I might use when directing dancers in other projects, a written record of my thinking in my journal, and a digital documentation of my process through the content I’ve posted on this blog. I will take all of these with me into my second year as I continue to deepen my research and better articulate my professional goals.

As a dancer, I’ve given myself the opportunity to really dig into my own body the past two months. My investigations of flow, landscape, mapping, and pathway have shown me new physical connections and initiations that I did not know before. The movement I created during this process was not just about creative output, it also became a method of training. As someone who doesn’t often dance for other choreographers, it is important that I continue to challenge my own sense of what I can do, what I want to do, and what doesn’t belong.

On a personal note, this two-month creative practice also bridges my experiences in two cities: Columbus and New York City. As someone who is largely interested in the effects of embodied experience of place, this time actually served an important role in connecting the dots between my life in NYC and my life as a grad student as OSU, something that I had been struggling with over the past year in both body and mind.

Moving is known to be one of the most stressful activities in life. Leaving friends, loved ones, career prospects, even unnamed dreams to find a home in a new place is just…disorienting, even if it feels like the right thing to do. Weirdly, being able to literally place, ground, and immerse my body in NYC while under the wing of OSU has been a strangely integrating experience. I felt at home working in the studios of downtown New York in a way that I never really experienced when I lived here full-time.  Perhaps being supported by OSU allowed me to live in NYC the way I always wanted: as an artist. When I actually lived in NYC, I had neither the time nor money nor energy to devote such luxurious attention to my creative practice as I did the past month. What a glorious gift this has been.

I emerge from this period of practice more unified in my own body, and more aware of the questions I want to pursue next fall:

  1. How can I effectively layer other mediums into my choreography?
  2. How can I take place-based improvisation with a group and develop full-bodied movement out of it?
  3.  How can I invite the viewer in to the questions I’m asking through my choreography?

I’ll be taking some time the next few weeks to travel, to literally navigate to places unknown to me. On the road, I’ll be practicing in pedestrian form the same things I practice in the studio: following new pathways, finding connections, immersing myself into new places, and inviting a sense of flow into my experience.

For me, dancing is really just an extension of these everyday experiences, and vice versa. My goal is try to draw a clearer map between the two in my work.

 

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