My goal for this piece was to allow audience members to accompany my dancers on their own personal journeys to reject social/personal constrictions on their bodies to reach a higher state of consciousness. I want the bodies present onstage to become so in tune with themselves and their movement that they forget they are performing in a public space. How was I to do this without knowing the personal backgrounds of my dancers? Or even what provoked them to move without hesitation?
I solved this dilemma by primarily creating a semi-structured space in which the dancers oscillated between an extremely present and performative world to a more private and personal collective amongst themselves. Dances performed at African-based religious ceremonies (Vodoun, Candomblé) were integral to the formation of the space I created for my dancers. Moreover, sensual and highly postured shapes (choreographed movements) characterize the dancers’ movements within the hyper-performative world, while their movements within their more private worlds are characterized by their own personal styles, or how they choose to move uninhibited (improvisation).
The dancers must realize that there will always be outside distractions (an audience, pestering reoccurring thoughts) that will inhibit them from reaching that higher state of consciousness. Thus, within the piece they must strive to find their own self-confidence and comfort in order to block out distractions and unwanted attention. Audience members should gradually realize that their gaze becomes irrelevant, and that the dancers are living and supporting each other within their own collective.
-Constance W. Harris