technique | improvisation | contact
My theory of technique is not one that aims to train a dancer in skills, but rather encourages them to fully embody their own movement. Whether it is strictly a technique class, or one based in improvisational partnering, the goal is to become an intelligent and thoughtful mover. Sensitivity is prized above virtuosity, deep embodiment and self-expression above skill. Love of the practice is more important than the myth of perfection.
As contemporary performers, we want to be strong, fluid, efficient, and clear with our bodies; but more than that, we want the movement to be an expression of creative thought and inquiry. For contact improvisation, floor work is a must. Touch and somatics are a must. Beyond that, constant creative practice and student-driven creation must be a part of every technique or improvisation class. When we create improvisational scores, we are constantly interpreting, questioning, and thinking on our feet. Performance improvisation is one of the most difficult and blissful experiences for a dancer, but our concepts must be based deeply in sensation, and rooted in experiences.
I teach technique, performance improvisation, and contact improvisation, but these forms are all part of the same craft. I teach creative process and composition from a deep sense of play, and encourage my students to "let art happen." It is not something we make, but rather something that happens to us. My approach is inherently interdisciplinary, incorporating technology, drawing, writing, collaging, and performing outside of the studio space; all of this stems from the belief that the creation of dance is more than just a physical act --- it is a thinking act, full of philosophical inquiry and spiritual fulfillment.I combine all of these ideas to provide a sensorial and visceral experience for my students, in the belief that what makes a "good dancer" is the constant process of researching the unknown, finding new states, and brushing up against our mental and physical boundaries.
Teaching dance technology is one of my greatest passions. With the rapid growth and accessibility of social media, film equipment, computer software, and interactive digital tools, the world of contemporary dance is changing rapidly. I work primarily with screendance (dance for camera) and interactive media (Isadora, Kinect, and telematics), encouraging my students to find what is human within this ever-evoling cyber age. With a focus on installation art, environmental screendance, and real-time graphics processing, these courses help students develop an understanding of the practical skills and theoretical issues surrounding the mediated human body. Is the body obsolete? How are our identities changing with the onset of social media and long-distance interaction? What does this mean for the act of live performance in an increasingly virtual world?
From my perspective, these technologies offer a unique opportunity for diverse aesthetic research and a different perspective on what it means to be a living body in a world of manmade machines. It is an opportunity to open a dialogue with the technology we have created, and inquire about what new forms of sensation these technologies might allow. This kind of work is tremendously exciting, and represents the uncharted waters of human embodiment and identity within the surreal spaces of the digital.
I am of the opinion that contemporary dance does not exist in a vacuum, nor is it limited to the ivory towers of "academia" and "high art." Dance is a communal act, and a foundation for lifelong learning and creativity. Everyone has a body, and the right to use it.
I have been honored to be a part of many community engagement projects for at-risk youth both domestically and internationally. Working with students from many different cultural backgrounds, I have been renewed in my belief that dance can change lives -- the practice of dance can be a deep and powerful act of protest against social inequity, poverty, violence, and prejudice. Particularly in places where support for the arts is limited or non-existent, it is my belief that dance artists have an obligation to spread the love of movement across cultural, geographic, and linguistic borders.
This is a crucial part of my mission as a dance artist, to bring the love of dance, movement, music, and art in general to places of great need. I believe that dance and creative play can bring people together, inspire us, and deeply enrich our society's way of life.