Did you know that I sometimes do things outside of this blog? And here’s the evidence:
I finally put up the video from my piece “Teenage Angst Survivor’s Club,” performed at Gotham Dance Theater’s Emerge Choreographers Showcase in October (mixed rehearsal and performance footage due to video clarity):
More recently, I wrote a piece on the Dance/NYC Junior Committee Blog about anti-oppression work in the dance field, following the committee’s workshop with Race Forward:
Productive, but far from conclusive, our conversations left us with more questions, problems, and seeds for further brainstorming. One overarching question was how we can hold the people and organizations in power accountable for actions that perpetuate systemic inequality. How can we hold people accountable when they are our “superiors” in an organization’s hierarchy? When they are established and respected players in the field? When they control our access to opportunities and funding? How can we encourage others to respond with openness to change, rather than defensiveness, when their behavior is called out as harmful?
For many JComm members who are involved in arts administration, this raises questions of how they can shape the organizations they are a part of to challenge institutional biases. However, as a freelance performer and choreographer, with perhaps less direct access to institutional power, I am challenged to find ways in which I have power and responsibility in my professional choices. What is my responsibility in selecting which organizations I affiliate with and which messages my body can be used to tell? How can I challenge exploitative racial or sexual dynamics in rehearsal settings? How much ability do I have to do so as an early-career artist in a competitive field? And how might we freelance artists find greater power and voice through collective action?
For those of you who don’t follow me on the instantaneous grams, here is a recap of my latest mini-project. It started this summer at a showcase hosted by Artery and the JAPAN Collective, when I decided to take some words from the audience as cues for an improv bit.
Last week, I decided to take that challenge to the interwebs and make an improv from every word commented. Here’s what resulted. I tried to take a “first thought, best thought” type of approach, do a single take for each word, and see what came out of it.
In short, I had a lot of fun! I enjoyed pushing myself into different modes (with that many takes in a row, I had to at least try not to make the same thing every time). And its always interesting to see how the bits that get the best responses are not always the ones I expect, the ones I feel best about, or the ones I put the most thought into. I take that as a reminder not to put too much stake in the judgements of my internal critic as I choose to put things out into the world.
Most of all, my improv explorations (whether live or online) have been a nice reminder that I can make a good chunk of creative work without tons of time, resources, structure, or fuss. I’ve honestly been having a rough few weeks, but giving myself opportunities to make something–even for just a few minutes–has made it better. While there is a lot in my life and in the world that I can’t control, it feels empowering to know that I don’t need external permission to or ideal conditions move or create–I just need a good excuse, and a word will do.
Thanks to everyone who gave me a word–more to come!
It is profoundly weird and disorienting having summer end and no set structure to go back to. On the other hand, I’m starting to piece together a structure for my post-grad life, and I’m pretty thrilled with some of the pieces! Here’s what’s up with me:
(As usual, you can check the news page of my website for details and a constant supply of self-promotion.)
First off, I finally gave in and got an Instagram (@nadiainherownworld) after years of avoiding it for no particular reason! I look forward to expanding my skill set by wasting time in ways other than Facebook. I mean networking.
I’m really excited to be a part of Gotham Dance Theater, and we’ve recently begun rehearsals for the fall season!
I’ll be performing with the company for the first time this Thursday 9/7 at the EMERGE Choreographer’s Showcase! Also on the program, I will be presenting a new solo, “Teenage Angst Survivor’s Club” (Expect some mashed-up Panic! and Paramore vocals, a ghostly return of my misunderstood-fourteen-year-old-boy phase, and a bowtie.)
A post shared by Nadia Khayrallah (@nadiainherownworld) on Sep 3, 2017 at 9:59am PDT
Further down the line, GDT is developing an evening length work, “This feels like home.” as part of a residency the University Settlement in collaboration with students in the English language learning program. Catch the performances on October 14 and 15.
In other performance news, I will be dancing in a piece by Joe Monteleone as part of Amalgamate Dance Company’s Guest Artist Showcase! The performance, which also includes work by Douglas Gillespie, Tiffany Mills, and Joya Powell, will be September 17.
I recently joined Artery, a platform for hosting/performing at/finding pop-up showcases, and it has been one of my favorite things ever. Basically, I have been improvising solos at various rooftop showcases alongside amazing singers, musicians, dancers, and visual artists, and getting to know some wonderful, supportive people.
Stay tuned: my roommates and I are looking to organize an all improv showcase before it gets too cold: all improv, any genre (music, dance, theater, comedy, etc.)
I’m a tutor, office assistant, hopefully soon-to-be dance teaching assistant, and barista-in-training.
At the moment, I am also a deeply congested and foggy person.
Yesterday, I got on a train in the wrong direction, spaced out, and drifted to Queens. Clearly, my brain is killing it.
I tried trimming my hair with a comb-thing which, from the Amazon reviews, seems to be mostly used by people with long-haired cats. Although I am not exactly the same as as a long-haired cat, I figured that we have enough similarities. It worked pretty well.
I’ve been spending most of the past week or so at City Center Studios learning and rehearsing Merce Cunningham repertory, which by the way, is a physical tongue twister and an equation and a calve killer and a dance history lesson all at the same time (one might even say we are im-Merce-d *knee slap*). I’m really excited to show what we’ve been working on at the showing on Friday (there will be a live stream too, so check the Cunningham Trust streaming page at 4:30pm!)
But last Friday night, I took my dancing back downtown for a different sort of performance experience, improvising at a rooftop showcase organized by Artery, alongside three other captivating musicians and dancers.
When planning for this show, I was in the process of moving apartments and didn’t have the wifi access to do my usual music search. I considered just dancing to whatever was on my phone–and then realized that mostly included a bunch of NPR Radiolab episodes (I’ve been commuting a lot lately).
My friends immediately told me to go with it, and I did–smashing a few episodes together and throwing in some Gwen Stefani and some of my own sound effects.
Here’s what resulted: let’s call it a little study on curiosity, words, and fear.