What’s new?

September 27, 2012

To get updates on my intellectual and personal activities, you can follow me on my blog “Thoughts on That?”

Documented

July 29, 2012

It’s been a few months since the performance. Everything went relatively smoothly. My bruises took a while to go away. I don’t plan on making something so physically and emotionally tolling for a while.

Since then, I have graduated from college, taken a month-long vacation to Italy with my best friend, and completed half of a six-week internship. Moving to France in 3 weeks!

But in spite of all of the developments in my life, I will never forget what a great experience making this piece was for me. I had never felt so immersed in a concept before. And when I watch the video from opening night, I relive some of the emotions going through my head all semester.

So here is are some pictures and a video for you to enjoy. The recording doesn’t do the piece justice, but it’s the only visual documentation that somewhat captures the progression of the piece.

 

Photo cred. Carl Socolow

I want to thank my fellow choreographers and classmates for their constant feedback, Dawn Springer for her professorial guidance, Andrew Takoch for his dedication to designing the best lighting possible for this piece, and Paige Meredith for the best-fitting costumes anyone could imagine. Thanks everyone for helping me make my vision come to life.

Artist Statement

April 24, 2012

I started my exploration with two opposing concepts: the rational and the physical. I realized that the body imposes limits on the mind, acting and deteriorating outside of the mind’s control. The result: an internal affliction, a disjunction between the two opposites, a downward spiral into disturbances and decay.

I reached this place of degeneracy through an exploration of my own personal confines. My movement is meant to incarnate the oscillation between overwrought tension and a sense of helplessness. Both are out of the dancers’ control. This is happening to us. We fight against these forces to no avail. We are isolated, but our personal struggles all follow the same lines. We meet here and there, in moments of shared desperation. The dance starts out small, building up until, suddenly, the trance is broken, and the audience can reflect on what they have seen.

The audience should not try to understand what the dance is about, but rather they should become enveloped in this world. However unnatural it may seem, the dance unleashes an experience that everyone else has felt to a greater or lesser degree. Everyone should be able to reach the place of vulnerability that we, the performers, do.

In a comment on my blog, Eleanor Antin said to me, “Just remember artists aren’t supposed to make you comfortable.” I hope the audience feels somewhat disturbed by whatever truth I can uncover for them.

– Anna Ciriani Dean

Title brainstorm

April 14, 2012

Here is a list of titles I am thinking of for my piece. A lot of them are just words I have come up with that capture some of the ideas in the piece. My favorites are bolded.

Bullfight in Ireland – title of the song used in my second solo, by Blockhead
Samsa – like Gregor Samsa, in Kafka’s The Metamorphosis
Rhizome –  stem of a plant that is usually found underground
Affliction
Nucleus
Substratum
Estrangement
Disjunction
Severance
Dialectic
Strata
Subzero
Viscera
Decaying
Modern Leper – title of a song by Frightened Rabbit
Hollow play – lyric in the Song “My Body is a Cage” by The Arcade Fire
Copilot
Piloted
Cerebellum – region of the brain that plays an important role in motor control. It may also be involved in some cognitive functions such as attention and language, and in regulating fear and pleasure responses, but its movement-related functions are the most solidly established. The cerebellum does not initiate movement, but it contributes to coordination, precision, and accurate timing. Damage to the cerebellum does not cause paralysis, but instead produces disorders in fine movement, equilibrium, posture and motor learning (thanks Wikipedia).

Another rough draft

April 12, 2012

Imagine that I start standing upstage.

Do you think the solo works at this length?

What about the changed long section?

Let me know. Here it is:

 

Showing

April 4, 2012

Hi fellow choreographers,

I meant to have someone film during my showing today, but I forgot and remembered while I was already dancing. So there are a few things I want to ask you.

The solo: Does it fit with the rest of the dance? Does it interrupt or continue the previous sections? What feelings did it evoke.

The introduction (“broken ballerina”): Now that the second solo is there, how do you feel about the introduction? Does it make sense? Does it plunge you into the subject matter or is it irrelevant?

Music editing: between my last showing and this week, how has the removal of the politically-charged words in the song  changed my piece?

What points were the most salient? What moments were the most dense with the overall feeling of the piece? Where did you feel the feeling was lost (whatever feeling it is you’re holding on to)?

What did you think the relationship of all of the parts as a whole was? Did the music help to make the parts more coherent? Was the music too intense?

Did you see an accumulation? Where was the accumulation interrupted?

The hair: did having it down distract from the piece or add to the piece?

The scream: were you surprised? did it make sense? General thoughts?

Title suggestions: shoot some words at me…adjectives, nouns, verbs, whatever you think describes this.

 

Thanks for your feedback. Here is a video I took earlier in the day. Sorry for the bad camera angle. The intro is not included and the ending had not yet been done. We need to work to clean things up a bit, of course.

 

Mapping choreography

March 28, 2012

Dear blog…I’ve been ignoring you lately. I don’t have any videos at the moment. But here is the completed “first draft” of my piece!!! Just to show the mathematical way in which I think…Once I have finished setting this on my dancers, I plan on going back, revising and shortening it after having watched the final video many many times. Sorry, the formatting got screwed up and I can’t fix it.

 

 

MUSIC

Anna

Victor

Kaylin

Melissa

Jessica

Yann Tiersen – La Redécouverte Waltzing break down Pile Pile Pile Pile
Godspeed  You! Black Emperor – Providence Invisible force from upstage right to downstage right, back towards audience Pile Second out of pile First out of pile Pile
Fall with Melissa Pile Phrase with Melissa Fall with Anna

Phrase with Kaylin

Pile
On floor On floor Stumble off stage right Stumble off stage right On floor
Wait, wait

Sit up – fall side 1X

Up and down

Sit up – fall side 2X

Wait

Up and Down

Offstage Offstage Wait, wait

Sit up, fall side 1X

Up and down

Dinosaur towards left Dinosaur off stage left Offstage

(prepare left)

Dinosaur onstage from right to left Dinosaur right –direction change
Invisible force OFF Invisible force ON Invisible force ON (from stage left) Invisible force + leg

 

Invisible force + leg

 

Offstage

 

Invisible force

Finger pointer – start half way thru Kaylin, then repeat

Stumble OFF Left

1 Finger pointer

Loop…

Finger pointer w/ Victor

Stumble OFF Left

Invisible force

Swipe swipe when Victor and Kaylin point at stomach

Invisible force OFF

 

Offstage

Stumble back on

Offstage Offstage

 

Swipe swipe cont.

 

Offstage

Stumble back on

Finish entire phrase

Fall

Crawl off right

Offstage

 

Stumble on from left

 

Offstage

(Prepare RIGHT)

Stumble on from right

Drag Melissa offstage

Finish entire phrase

Fall

(Crawl)

Kaylin drags offstage

Finish entire phrase

Fall

Crawl off right

Offstage

(Prepare LEFT)

Stumble on from lower LEFT

Nails

Nails (middle-down L)

Back and forth

 

Offstage Offstage

Stumble on from upper RIGHT

Nails

Back and forth

Offstage
Back and forth OFF LEFT

Offstage

Back and forth OFF LEFT

Offstage

Back and forth ON

Fall back stumble down

Back and forth

Fall back stumble down

 

Back and forth ON

Fall back stumble down

Offstage Offstage Trio Trio Trio
Downstage diagonal LEFT invisible force towards UPPER RIGHT

 

Downstage diagonal LEFT invisible force towards UPPER RIGHT

 

Drag Jessica w/ invisible force

Stillness

Relevé

 

 

 

 

Stumble forwards

Clump

Stillness

Relevé

Stumble forwards

Hit Victor

Invisible force w/ Victor

Stillness

Relevé

Stumble forwards

 

 

Relevé

Stumble forwards

Clump

Hit belly

 

Fingernails

 

 

 

Swipe swipe over up, fall back

Lean + relevé

Stumble OFF RIGHT

Hit belly

 

 

 

Arm cut

 

 

Lean + relevé

Stumble OFF RIGHT

Hit belly

Finger pointer

 

 

 

 

 

Lean + relevé

Stumble OFF RIGHT

Hit belly

 

 

 

 

Circle flail arm and leg

 

Lean + relevé

Stumbe downstage

Hit belly

 

 

Leg throw

 

 

 

Lean + relevé

Stumble OFF RIGHT

Offstage

 

 

Offstage

 

 

Offstage Leg catch xMANY

 

Offstage

ON UPPER LEFT: look at Melissa, leg slap

ON UPPER  RIGHT: shoulder squeeze / long phrase ON UPPER RIGHT: shoulder squeeze / long phrase ON UPPER  RIGHT: shoulder squeeze / long phrase  

Down, invisible force…long phrase

 

Down, invisible force…long phrase

Offstage

 

Stumble on upper left

Hand alone + slow kneel to ground

Point, partner with Jess

Pull Jess

Hands

Push offstage

Offstage Offstage Offstage

Come back to Victor

 

 

Offstage

Blockhead, “Bullfight in Ireland” SOLO!!!!

Floor section

Up…mouth…catch arm, mouth, into jump phrase…

splayed arms

Dinosaur, fast throw

Long phrase facing back corner

Pulling up, Melissa’s beginning phrase

Walking

Offstage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking

Offstage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking

Offstage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking

Offstage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking

Silence? Offstage Stumble Stumble Stumble Stumble
  Stumble

Scream

Fall – LIGHTS OUT

Offstage Offstage Offstage Offstage


Visual

March 13, 2012

In my last rehearsal, I didn’t really add anything new, but just drilled my dancers so that they would be more prepared for the arranging period.

What I have to show here is the possible projection I would like to use. I filmed the projection of a candle, through a glass of apple juice, onto a tablecloth. I loved how the light danced around but was more robust than an actual candle, which is a much more delicate hue and size.

What do you think? Will it be too complex? Does it work with my movement and my ideas behind it? Should I project this?

Just to give some more visuals…

These images and the sound are somewhat tied to the event and place that this video was taken at. It was an event at the gallery I worked at last Spring, a dinner centered around the artwork of Cyril “Golemfabrik” Rouge, whom I became close friends with by the end of last summer. He mostly creates small sculptures of Golems, which in the Jewish tradition is a sort of proto-robot, a man-made creation, as seen in Paul Wegener’s 1920 silent film, The Golem. What a wonderful coincidence, Paul Wegener produced this film in Germany around same time that Franz Kafka and Mary Wigman were creating… http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0011237/

I really enjoy both the aesthetic of his statues and the aesthetic of the evening at the art gallery. Here are some photos to give you a better idea of the lighting and layout of the event.

This actually has nothing to do with my piece…But my best friend Hillary and I went home to my parents’ house this weekend. My mom was having a party, and the requirement for all guests is to bring a song, poem or other creation. Being in school and all, Hillary and I decided that we would conceive and film a short film / music video in 24 hours once we got back to my house Friday evening. So we spent Friday evening brainstorming and testing, and all day Saturday filming and editing. We’re pretty proud of it, so enjoy!!!!!

I actually wasn’t familiar with David LaChappelle’s work, which I am ashamed of as a consumer of American culture. I knew his name, but I had never taken the time to look into him.

An interesting thing that was mentioned in the more general video about him was that his photos are “always about the narrative.” It makes sense…viewers always need to feel drawn in. But it is amazing that he is able to do it with a still image. How can you make something that usually progresses linearly – aka narrative – into a photo? He has a sense for how different elements can be used as hints for a previous and later event. I am wondering how to translate narrative into dance. In theory it should be easier since dance is a time-based art. Still, how do you do that without completely reverting back to basic storytelling and mime? I worry that too much of a transformation will make it progress too far away from the original idea. I really just want the idea to sink in. So how do I insert a narrative into a static theory? Does the physical limitation get worse? Does it leave the individual for the group (society)? Does it disappear? Does rationality leave the body? Do the two separate? I really don’t know, which is why arranging will be interesting.

One thing I love about David LaChappelle is his ability to work both within popular, commercial venues and in the “high art” gallery sphere. He did say, however, that he does not believe in “high art” because he finds it inaccessible to the masses. There, I disagree. I think that it is accessible to anyone who seeks it out. There are different pedagogical programs for different types of audiences that museums offer, but are not taken advantage of enough. I think that the effort needs to come from both sides: from the art institution and from the general public. They can without a doubt meet halfway. Last year, I worked as a “cultural mediator” during my internships at two art galleries and my main projects were attracting different kinds of audiences. Each time I gave a tour of the galleries, I had to adapt to the audience. But one thing I noticed is that each group, no matter how inserted in the art world, was able to access an artist’s work from a different point of view. It doesn’t have to be pop culture…there just needs to be someone to facilitate the connection by asking key questions and providing basic background information.

I find interesting the fact that LaChappelle creates iconic images of celebrities that say who they are. It made me ask myself, is my creation an iconic image of myself? The way I’ve been pouring my issues into it seems to be an iconic image of me, if, of course, I were to become an icon.

The controversy around The Rape of Africa is confusing to me. My question really just is why LaChappelle decided to name the photograph that way. It seems that the only reason rape is suggested is in the title. In fact, titles often guide the viewer to a specific type of questioning and perusal of the work. Just tonight at ACDFA, I watched a piece of choreography by Temple University through the lens of the title “Masked Masculinity.” If I didn’t know the premise from the title, I wouldn’t have immediately associated the dance with a cry out against the performance of masculinity, and I would have considered the movement too showy or flashy. But I understood the piece in terms of the title. So I think LaChappelle’s issue is just a misuse of title. The Rape of Africa could have been a completely different work of art, leaving rape aside and merely taking into consideration the compositional elements that show violence in the scene. Rape wouldn’t even come up.

Which makes me think of what kind of title I can imagine for my piece…that will be a tough one.