I am going to try to tease out a series of process stages that happened over a couple of days to illustrate how actions initiated from the body launch the mind into associative hallucinations, themselves a kind of dance. Also here are some examples of how daily practice interacts with the overarching construction of a dance, enhancing it and undermining it in turns. (Please see the line video http://bleedtereoconnor.org/?p=275 )
• As mentioned, I am using artifice, formalism and complexity to drive this process. When I began to work on this dance I made these convoluted, knotty, bird nests of movement that quickly became a kind of beautiful obstacle, blocking a search for something of more depth*.
• In response to the tyranny of the bird nests, I made some material that I define as other, very plain and visually easy to absorb, to anchor the eye and mind. It was initially a line of people standing still for a long time. But the line has evolved into various spatial constructions, performance embodiments, physical tensions, but more importantly, ideas. A new performative fabric was created by seeing the performers as people standing there, looking right in their eyes as opposed to seeing them in a group maelstrom. Once this simple line material was created it started to take on qualities that erased its initial function and became a catalyst for content. The line and its attendant thinking is beginning to show up in other places. This zig-zagging, ride of revealing layers is one of the pure ways that choreographic process moves me closer to something I am trying to excavate. You think you are doing something for the reasons you start from but when they are transformed into a movement product, it has a voice of its own and it says: “Come here. Yes, this way….”
So next I must try to incorporate some of these layers into the work.
• Yesterday, I tried to go further into the “line” content by pulling out some of its associative readings. Simplicity can register as a geometry, perhaps mistakenly associated with folk or ethnic forms created by people for social reasons. It can look like a child’s game. It can also summon up the pre-modernist stage blocking of Greek theater or a Shakespearean situational realm. Hamlet standing in the stony, vaulted emptiness of Elsinore castle is a huge statement from the human psyche. Some pop music and certain types of hip-hop corral simple structures into transcendent manifestations, subverting the obvious with meditative breadth. I could go on here for hours,into pan-historical, pan-cultural iterations of simple geometry. I mention these to illustrate how spatial choices can unleash so much associative thinking. If we take the time to ponder these as we work they will contribute much to aim the choices we make. The line was a spatial gesture that ultimately turned into an idea generator. A simple design choice ultimately connects out to the world of ideas.
I chose to use this line concept for its potential mythic proportions. The mythical looks kind of funny to me now but also feels serious and is brought forth in my dancing through innate urges of the imagination. I blend the potential for narrative with the magic of abstraction to create fantasy moments for the viewer. Staying awake to both the serious and cliche attributes of this, as well as all other associations, I try to build democratic material, placing it in contexts that will keep the definition fluid and hopefully allow both the critical and imaginative aspects of consciousness to share space here.
Its up to you to decide what it is, audience member. Or you could just fall into the pluralism pool and make no decision. We are making this together
* I think it is important to define what I mean by depth. Applied to the process of making dance the word depth, a very overused word, for me means a search for something that isn’t easily shaped by its ability to be named but by its potential to ignite tangential journeys in the imagination. Imagery that is undecipherable generates a different kind of engagement in a viewer. Yes , it could foster a shutting down of course, but the “spacing out” of a dance viewer isn’t a problem for me if it is anchored in the work. When it feels linked to what is going on and born of it, it is closer to astral projection where reverie blends with the actual. It’s like the moment right before falling asleep when one mixes real sounds into half awake dream narratives. I think this blend is a central communicative aspect of dance and I want to locate material that supports this reading of it.