Witness to the process/Helen Simoneau

Saturday the 24th:

Arriving to Bates a few days late, I felt that I had to hit the ground running but soon realized that running will not always get you to your destination and might just end up exhausting you. I can’t rush things and need to allow reflection to take its place in my process. Sharing will help too and I am hopeful that the showing tomorrow will give me the information needed to push through.

I find solo work to be particularly challenging, because it can be a lonely practice. I often end up prematurely judging the exploration at hand, wanting to fix it before it has a chance to be. Nevertheless, a solo is most certainly what I want to focus on during this residency. It is important to me to dance in my own work and I’m not comfortable placing myself in a group piece. Solo work is my chance to truly embody my process  and the pleasure of experiencing this physicality first hand cannot be matched. I remind myself of the agony of past beginnings and am assured that the process will gain momentum. Here at Bates, I am given precious time and resources to develop this work that I have wanted to make for a while now. With teaching and touring during the school year I have not succeeded in making it a priority. Here and now it is.

Deborah (Goffe) and I have talked about this shared loneliness and have decided to work in the same studio on Sunday, each with our own process but in the same space. Part of what is missing is simply another presence, which can offer support and a witness to the process. Witnessing from many perspectives so naturally happens in a group creation and I realize now that this is a big part of what I am craving. So, tomorrow I share and add witnesses to my process.

Tuesday the 27th:

The last few days have been very productive and I feel that I have pushed through. The informal showing on Sunday night was a big part of that. Not only was it helpful for the feedback but also for the “mistakes” and the chance to just get the dance out of my head and into the space. I am working with projection for the first time and, yes; there is a learning curve. Dawn (Stoppiello) helped me set things up and I love that I can so easily have access to her whenever a question pops into my head.

The work is gaining momentum, I know that because ideas are rushing in and out of my head at all times of the day, especially when I am trying to sleep. I am thinking of adding another video and have begun working with four lovely dancers in order to add witnesses to the solo. Thanks Deborah (Goffe), Diana (Deaver), Meredith (Robinson), and Philip (Montana). Today, I invited Vic (Victoria Marks) into my rehearsal and was really excited about our conversation. I can’t wait to do this again. This process confirms that it is crucial for me to share while I am making, make then share, make again, share again.

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