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?
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.