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!