What is dance about?

labanfloorThis photo is a projection on the white floor of OSU Dance’s 50th Anniversary Concert. It is a Labanotation score. 

Dance is about so many things.

Bebe Miller writes in Andrea Olsen’s “Between Brooklyn and Bearnstow: Translating through Dancing” the following notions about dance:

“Is it ever a repetition or is it a spiral cycle.” (Olsen, 32)

I am imaging a spiral cycle of something speeding up in time, or building or decreasing in intensity.

“There is a rise and fall, a breath, and there is a return.” (Olsen, 31)

It could be a repetition or just a movement in general. It could be the beginning or the end.

“I am less interested in technology as something to show. I am interested in what it changes about how we as humans in a community interact with it and because of it and alongside it.” (Olsen, 32)

There is something futurist about this statement. I think it is the ever-changing idea of technology.  Is she interested about what changes when we interact with it? How does it change our interaction? Does the presence of technology change our interactions with others, like through Facebook and texting or is it because technology itself is continually changing? And if it’s continually changing than does Miller mean that as it changes and because it changes our interactions and relationships to it and with it are always changing and different? If so, this is also true of our relationship with our community within an environment built around and/or with technology. Or is it all these things?

Dance is what you make it. Dance is questioning interaction. Dance is questioning alignment, movement, orientation, space, time, flow and weight. Dance is thinking. Dance is taking care of those around you. Dance is embodiment and doing.

Works Cited

Olsen, Andrea. 2009. “Between Brooklyn and Bearnstow: Translating through Dancing: An Interview with Bebe Miller” Contact Quarterly Summer/Fall: 28-33.

 

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Labels and meaning

00379-img_7454-304-15-mm-libya-saharaThe other day I realized I actually know things. I’ve been perfecting technique and practicing performance for a while, studying from different people along the way that had skills and certifications in Bartenieff, Alexander, Yoga, Feldenkrais, Meditation, Release technique, classical techniques (Horton, Graham, Humphrey, Limon, etc.) and various other forms of techniques that I don’t even know about and yet most of the time no one labeled them for me. You don’t go through a dance class labeling everything you have ever studied and explaining where it came from. You begin lying on the floor feeling your weight into the floor (meditation), perhaps some effort based stretching and abdominal work (yoga and pilates) and as you move through the class you talk about weight, time, space and flow (Laban) and then perhaps some discussions about finding ease and efficiency (Alexander), etc. You don’t necessarily label them as a teacher and I can’t say I knew their lineage and I still can’t say that I do. So as I’m finally realizing I know things, I’m just realizing that here is the place where I label them and understand their history and lineage. Pedestrian walking on stage originated in the Postmodern era. Ok, I knew that one. But, Laban is where you define weight, time, space and flow and dissect them. I just found this out.

Grad School is where it happens, this is where connections are made, this is where you dig into the granules of what has created what you already know.

Laban meets creative process

IMG_20181001_135632I went into the studio on Monday with a stack of newspapers, a highlighter and my computer with a article of Susan Kozel discussing the possibility of doing a phenomenology on affect. I had an image in my head of drawing a simple house on pages of newspaper and crumbling them up and throwing them away. I couldn’t and still can’t figure out if or how that fits into my laban movement phrase but when I presented my further investigation to my MFA Choreography Workshop, they found a seriousness, a darkness and a political content within the new laban inspired phrase. I found this interesting because I envisioned drawing that picture of a house on the politics section of the paper. In the studio, I adhered to the rules stated in the previous post. I noticed I was seemingly most interested in leading/initiated movement with a particular body part and primary weight in a place that is not your feet.

IMG_20181008_194747In Choreography Workshop it is currently an open forum for anyone to give suggestions or choreographic thoughts in an attempt to remove the preciousness of something created and find other creative avenues. I performed the movement the first time among Dave Covey’s paintings on canvas scattered around the floor. Dave is the facilitator of Choreography Workshop and he has created paintings inspired by our workshop together among others. For the second showing of my phrase, Dave selected a soundtrack of the women who confronted Senator Flake in the elevator to play during my movement and another student suggested I confine the phrase to a specific part of the stage surrounded by his paintings.

I’m noticing the state of the country, our president, Kavanaugh/Ford, the “Me Too” movement, the fact that California has to make a law to require women on the boards of publicly traded companies, etc. etc. etc. is increasingly effecting me. Perhaps this movement does have something to do with the current political climate. Perhaps my affect has something to do with the effect?

Susan Kozel, affect & phenomenology

IMG_20181008_223651 Susan Kozel spoke in ACCAD’s Motion Lab at OSU last week and she packed her hour presentation with current works. “Performing Encryption” which involved converting and encrypting movement into data, then creating movement to encrypt and decrypt the encryption. She also spoke about her project “Living Archives” which works with archiving movement and performing memory. This project lead her to working with Margret Sara Gudjonsdottir who is a choreographer who works primarily in states. Gudjonsdottir and Kozel and another collaborator, Jeannette Ginslov, are working on a project called Conspiracy Archives, involving archiving Gudjonsdottir’s choreography of somatic resonance and states. When glancing, it seems almost as if they are doing nothing or only moving very slowly, but they have spent hours to arrive in these particular states. They are not necessarily an emotion, but they could involve them I believe. So, basically I’m not sure what exactly they are, but it is very interesting to me. Moving slowly in these states creates certain affects between audience and performer and even between the performer an their surroundings, “if you allow it,” Kozel says. Susan Kozel is a phenomenologist that is most recently interested in the phenomenology of affect.

These words of affect and phenomenology were thrown around a lot in this presentation and I feel like they are such ephemeral words for me right now. One minute I completely understand the words and why they are being used and the next minute I’ve lost it. How can you study something that is happening right now? How can you think about doing the thing if your too busy thinking about doing it? Perhaps you can only study the thing if you are on the outside? Max Van Manen writes, “Phenomenology is the philosophical name for the method of investigating or inquiring into the meanings of our experiences as we live them.” I’m still a little confused about what is actually being investigated. It also seems that if your investigating it in the moment, by the time you investigate the moment it has past and so you are not actually living in it but you are investigating the past experience. This is the part that confuses me. The aspect of time.

Manen also lead me to this great video, “16: Moments” directed by William Hoffman. I’ve seen it before but in this context I believe Manen is alluding that any of these moments could be investigated phenomenologically: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNVPalNZD_I

When looking into affect I found “Emerging Perspectives on Judgement and Decision Research” to have a great first sentence to Chapter 10, which basically says, no one knows. But it was written in 2008, so perhaps phenomenologists know a little more 10 years later.

“Although researchers in the field of emotion have not yet agreed on a precise definition of affect, we use a specific definition throughout this chapter. We see affect as “goodness” or “badness” (1) experienced as a feeling state (with or without consciousness) and (2) demarcating a positive or negative quality of a specific stimulus.”

“We distinguish affect from emotion, which generally refers to particular states (such as anger, fear, or happiness) that are “intense, short-lived, and usually have a definite cause and clear cognitive content” (Schneider, 328). We also distinguish affect from mood, which generally refers to a feeling (such as having the blues) that is low in intensity, can last for a few minutes or several weeks, has no object or has fleeting objects, and does not have to have a specific antecedent cause or cognitive content.”

“Unlike emotion, we view affect as having the capacity to be subtle and to be without elaborate appraisal properties; unlike mood, we view affect as having a direct (rather than indirect) motivational effect. Similar to mood and emotion, however, affect can vary along both valence (positive, negative) and arousal (high, low) dimensions. ” (Schneider, 328)

For their purposes, Schneider and Shanteau are most interested in the “potentially subtle feelings triggered by the object of judgement or choice and not on the influence of specific emotions or background mood state on the judgement or choice. (Schneider, 328)

Again, I still feel like affect is either so specific a thing it is hard to define or is so simple an idea I’m making it out to be something bigger than it is. But if the latter is true, I can’t see people writing chapters about it.

That is where I am right now. As Christina Providence, my current pilates/gestalt guru would say, “Be where you are.”

Update: Norah the amazing also wrote about Susan Kozel here!

References: <– practicing my Chicago Manual of Style!

Schneider, Sandra L. and James Shanteau. 2003. Emerging Perspectives on Judgement and Decision Research. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Manen, Max Van. “What is phenomenology”.  Online Powerpoint, http://www.maxvanmanen.com/files/2014/03/What-is-phenomenology.pdf

Aboutness

The “aboutness” is important right now. What is your experience about? What is your research about? What about you is unique, similiar or contrary? What are you about?

I’m currently about discovery. It’s difficult to look at yourself. Display yourself. Find yourself the article of your attention, but that is what they are asking us to do right now. What do you want. What is your want most about. What is the aboutness of your wants. Don’t commit to things you should do. Only do your wants. You be you. I like to proscribe to this but you do sometimes have to do things you don’t want to do.

Update: Aboutness is defined in the Oxford Living Dictionary as “The quality or fact of relating to or being about something.” I thought it was a made up word. I was convinced that if you just add “ness” to the end of word, it meant you were in grad school. Coolness.