Week of 1/30/2012

Readings (“What is choreographic thinking?” by Karinne Keithley Syers and Some Rules & Hints for Students & Teachers by John Cage)

For the Syer’s reading, I wasn’t particularly found of her overall writing style, it made it hard to follow. However, she did make some points that I feel correlate with what I try to achieve while choreographing. I feel that with choreographing for the public audience there’s an obsession with coming out with something new and fresh, something that is impressive and people have never seen before. I feel that if a choreographer puts themself in this mindset, they veer away from doing something that they truly want to do. Syer talks a lot about pleasure and remaining simple/open-minded during the choreographic process. By remaining open/simple, I feel that you allow your work to become more accessible. This sort of approach shouldn’t diminish the fact that even though you may approach something simply, you won’t encounter any road blocks. Choreographing is a difficult process and takes time and patience. Ultimately, with approaching choreography with an open heart, mind, and with simplicity, you are helping to foster genuine personal growth throughout the process and you won’t simply be making something for people to see in public.

Moreover, I really enjoyed the straight forwardness of Cage’s rules and hints. I will be sure to try to keep in mind all of his listings, but particularly rules numbers 5 and 7. These rules pretty much encourage you to be self discipline and to work steadily. I need to pay attention to these rules because it is extremely easy to get caught up in required readings, papers, and assignments for other classes.  I know I need to set aside a special time to be able to consistently generate/refine material.


As I am in the early stages of my journey I am trying my best to keep my mind and heart open to any ounce of inspiration. Also, I’ve been trying to be internally alert about where I truly want my choreography to go. I know for one thing that it has to say something, anything. Currently, I’ve been thinking a lot about womanhood, femininity, what it means to be a girl, a black girl. Stereotypes, agency, power, powerlessness. It’s very broad so far and it’s taking more time than I’ve anticipated to focus in. Right now, I’m trying to test out ideas associated with the female figure and gendered behavior. Again, it is very broad, but I’m enjoying the process.

Prior to returning back to school I spent a lot of time reading bell hook’s Feminism is for Everybody, Gloria Naylor’s The Women of Brewster Place, watching The Real L Word…just soaking up a lot of women oriented material to get myself questioning what are the societal definitions for what it means to be a woman and how we should act and how these definitions are either challenged or embraced. It’s a COMPLEX topic, but I’m enjoying exploring it. It is helping  me a lot to reflect on myself and my actions.

As for now, I’m going to continue to collect more text and media to help me to get more attuned to the subject. I feel that it will help me as I continue to generate more material. Below I have attached a link to some movement I’ve been experimenting with… 


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I've always loved rhythms and performing in public spaces. My mom helped to grow that love within me by placing me in jazz, tap, and ballet classes starting at the age of 7. I continued until I was about 11. From 11 to about 14, I didn't have any formal dance training. I had some opportunities to dance in school plains, still pulling from the little, but solid technique I learned from a few years back. Upon entering high school, I started taking modern dance classes and continued until I graduated. When I started Dickinson, I continued with modern dance, but I have also begun to pay more attention to hip-hop, belly dance, and west african dance.

8 thoughts on “Week of 1/30/2012”

  1. This video makes think of proximity and the act of looking. We are looking at you very closely and you are looking back “at us” very closely. Intimate. At the same time it almost feels like you are looking at your self. The music adds a really interesting layer — it reminds of 1970s James Bond or something. I would also say Tactile. We can see eyelashes, individual hairs. We can see and hear you breathe. So it feels very human juxtaposed with the mediation of the video between us and you, not-live body. Again like Adrian Piper (see link below) and also makes me think of Kiki Smith’s humanistic quailty but in a more contemporary way.


  2. I absolutely love this. Do you have any intention of using it during an actual performance, whether on Mathers or not, as a backdrop to your dancing? I love the juxtaposition of the music with the very simple camera and body movement. The music transports you to a place of expectation, but it ends up being very medatative. I would love to see more happen with the hands, which were a pleasant surprise to see once you had established the basically still tone of the video and the focus on the slight movements of the heads and gaze. And I am wondering what the intention was when the camera jerked upwards with the music, rather than floating as it had seemed to be doing before.

  3. I agree the video seems very personal and intimate. My initial reaction was that I was placed behind a person’s eyes examining a black female body. I’m drawn to studying Atlantic slavery and emancipation in history, and your piece last term also reflected themes of racial identity and racism. So, I felt, as a viewer, invited to look at times – your relaxed, somewhat indifferent gaze, and your open palms. I also felt invasive though. I didn’t know if you’d be wearing a top or how far down the camera would go. I could see your skin, eyes, and hair in great detail. Your indifference also seemed to coolly allow the viewer to look at you like that. I’m curious to see where this leads you in gathering ideas for movement, but I found the video really fascinating.

  4. I agree with Dawn’s word “Ritual” and also see confidence and not a bit of insecurity in who you are/your body, especially when the camera is aimed at your eyes. I, like Anna, think you should definitely consider figuring out a way to project this in Mathers during your piece. It’s definitely do-able, Paula used projections during her piece our freshman year!

  5. Constance- I see a yearning here to have a response, a dialogue with the spectator. For this and all reasons above, it is hard-hitting. Not every work of art is looking for a response-and you DO look by engaging with the inevitable reality that there are always eyes–the beauty is that we can decide to stay true to our own skin with however many million of eyes there are-which you are getting at here!

  6. To me, this is gorgeous. I love that you aren’t expressing a singular emotion. Instead, you let your expression be neutral, leaving it up to the viewer to make his/her own thoughts and associations. At the same time, we’ve always been told since little kids that it isn’t polite to stare at someone. With that, I felt as if I shouldn’t be looking at you for so long, yet I couldn’t look away. This was definitely captivating and intriguing.

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