(Posted by D Nayar, 2013 New England Emerging Choreographer in Residence).
What follows are selected fragments. Thoughts, memories, sensations that bubble to the surface upon reflecting on my choreographic residency at Bates. Each fragment is a different attempt to leap between the experience of dance making and the experience of writing.
There is no permanence intended by these entries: on another day, I would likely alter, edit, stretch, replace, rewrite these. (Remembering is an act of imagination).
July 19th to-do list (pre-Bates)
Pack lunches, walk dog, car inspection, dentist, return library books, submit summer camp forms, groceries for week, return calls and emails, request air mileage update, post office, swim class, arrange babysitters, packing list.
Week #2 (@ Bates)
(Coffee, breakfast, write); 7-9 studio; 9:-10:30 somatics/movement class; 11-12:30 studio; Lunch; 2-3:30 Creative Process with Bebe Miller; 4-6 Studio; Dinner;
Entry #3: In my notebook
Bits from Bebe Miller’s Creative Process class:
“To not know. To make space for the encounter.
What is a beginning-not necessarily in the obvious temporal sense–, what makes something a beginning?
A middle? End?
On alchemy: how do you note the nature of something beyond a description of what it is?
Recommended reading: Metaphors We Live By
Bits from Metaphors we Live By:
“New metaphors are capable of creating new understandings and, therefore, new realities… Works of art provide new experiential gestalts and therefore new coherences….new coherences that are not part of our conventionalized mode of perception or thought”
Bits from my own musings:
The creative process offers so much more than creating dances to be seen. How does dance transform our way of seeing? Of knowing? Affect our mental modes of reality?
Entry #4: Work in Progress Rehearsals
I had the great pleasure of working with five dancers from the festival: Christina Martin, Kailey McCrudden, Katherine Paulson, Jennifer McCallister and Emma Hreljanovic.
My ideas for this work depart from literal references and manifest as abstract movement and images. I seek evocative traces of meaning from specific memories to spill over into the consciousness of the dancing. I generate a large amount of movement material and pare down. This rigorous filtering is further informed by collaborating and experimenting with multiple dancers, whose own subjective memories and experiences inform the consciousness underlying the work.
Below are some writings by my dancers, submitted anonymously, following rehearsals that sought an embodied suspension of time and a hyper-aware state of remembering.
“I am in your world. Then it becomes my world. Our world. I am trying to be part of the collective, but my voice inevitable comes out. Your mother’s voice means so much. It is like my mother. My grandmother. Catching up. Giving updates. Her little inflections color the scene. The beginning can go on forever. I want to stay in our right arm curve, hanging, floating in the feeling. I am still unsure, but I am trusting this story.”
“Listening, unison without looking. How can we hear each other’s inner breath. Ending energy through the hand, relaxing into a resolution together. Togetherness, each individual. Self within a group. What can our eyes say? I like to tell myself stories in the beginning phrase., usually fictional semi-unrelated stories, but still staying present within the group. I love the moments when you take a breath with someone, taking in the new, the current, and exhaling the old. Constant awareness to the current moment.”
“My muscles are buzzing with a new awareness in which I find a way to embody movement. I feel a new articulation in each micro movement and yet somehow an overarching breath which holds the hand of this heightened sensory…”
“Tingling Sensations in my calves and palms. Birds, strong, suspended, catching the wind. The fan over bare skin, touching, shifting my loose clothing. Birds speed against the movement of clouds. A perfect landing, settling on my tiny branches. Grounded in the floor. Loose muscles and sensation extending out of limbs, fingers breath.”
“The vast empty space allows my body to move in its own time. There is no pulse, just me standing in wind. It is surreal. I negotiatate each movement with a precise flow, yet it’s so natural. I force nothing and still movement happens.”