Beyond the Steps: Reflections of Bliss Kohlmyer & Kara Davis

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Well, we’re in the last week of our residency at BDF and both Kara and I can’t even believe how much we’ve experienced. You don’t even know you’re stuck in a certain state until you’re out of that place, you know?

Life at BDF has been full of new ideas, new mentors, new friends, and a re-imagining of everything we thought that we knew. As professors, we rarely get the chance to be students. These two weeks have been a reminder that there is always a different way to look at an old idea and new ideas are just around the corner from where you’re at.

These are some of the things that we’ve learned and/or have been reminded of:

Meaning making through movement is hard and it needs time and attention to blossom.

I will forever be a mover and learner.

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Live accompaniment (especially at this beyond unbelievable level of expertise) is a blessing and one that should not be taken for granted.

The floor is my friend even though at times it can feel like my enemy.

“Failing successfully” (thanks Nancy) involves disrupting the binary between failure and success.

The body is a full system not just pieces and parts.

Everyone is dancing all the time.

Be open and responsive, aware and curious.

Be generous without expectation of response.

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The thinking body is as or more intelligent than the thinking mind.

The first site of democracy can always begin with class.

Physical listening is a political act.

The studio can be the site where your hope for the world can manifest in performance.

What is beyond the steps? That is where the art and heart lies.

How does virtuosity manifest through skills taught in dance class?

We are just humans who’ve decided to build a life around moving.

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You must take responsibility for your own learning.

I actually think that I’m getting better with age.

You’ll never know everything. That’s why you keep dancing.

Thank you Laura Faure for making this experience possible!

 


 

Bliss Kohlmyer & Kara Davis are visiting artists who will be presenting their work at Different Voices on August 6th and 7th at Bates Dance Festival. 

Photo Credit: Andy Mogg

 

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