thesis pieces

What have I been doing since August you ask? Just working on the choreographic portion of my thesis…you know, it’s no big deal, really…

There have been moments where I’d rather submit this for a grade…

casual apple crisp

Or even this…

stress baking much?

…instead of a fierce-ass dance glitterfest…but unfortunately the glitterfest is what’s required from an MFA candidate at Brockport, and even though I bake really really well, it didn’t appear that I had much of a choice…

So late August, I returned from Maine and immediately faced my darkest daemons, I started the rehearsal process for the biggest project of my career thus far…


(…I actually am this dramatic in real life…just consider it part of my charm)

Anyways, I had two weeks to create enough of a rough skeleton that once classes started, I could hold bi-weekly rehearsals without wanting to purposely trip in rush-hour traffic. The only thing I knew going into this adventure was that I wanted there to be lots of partnering, and that it needed to be ridiculous…in a good way.

It’s now two months later and my thesis goes up for final evaluation in a week. If nothing else, THAT’S ridiculous.

So now that I can start to sort of see the light at the end of this short tunnel, I think I’d like to share a few things about this process, all unrelated of course…

Let’s start with the creative process:

Like I said earlier, I knew I wanted tons of partnering, but I also knew I couldn’t pre-choreograph any of that magic; so I made games, or rather borrowed games from the partnering class I took at Bates, and put a lot of faith into my stunning and crazy-smart cast of eight. Lucky for you, I’m willing to share some of those ideas:

  1. Teach a phrase (the “OG phrase”) and then pair off…
  2. One person performs the phrase while other dances in their negative space, switch roles. This essentially yields two new solos in addition to the OG phrase.
  3. Make a grid of body parts for ‘person one’ and ‘person two’ individually. While performing both new solos simultaneously, dancers must make points of contact as grid indicates. Voila, weight sharing duets.
  4. Perform the OG phrase as a collective group. (So one person at a time is executing a specific part of the phrase while the rest of the group supports the movement
  5. Pair off again, take segments of the OG phrase and perform as a partnering duet…whatever that means to you.

The list truly goes on and on, and once these games finally came to an end for our process, we literally had enough material for at least four dances.

I don’t know if these last two years at Brockport were just an annoying dry-spell or what, but this dance just sort of fell into my lap and I couldn’t be happier. We’ve been making consistent changes week by week (like cutting out an entire song a week ago…), and I don’t actually think the process is over, or even near finished…but I’m honestly so proud of the work that’s accumulated and am thrilled to finally see it produced on stage.

Next: The first annual Rochester Fringe Festival

So, a few weeks ago (later September), I unofficially premiered the work at the Rochester Fringe Festival. It was a free event and an informal showing, but my babies rocked it so hard, it hurt.

*I should also say this, there’s a few moments in the dance that are reminiscent of Harry Potter and Malfoy wand-battling on the dining room table at Hogwarts. That aside, there was something about the performance in this space that limited my thinking to Dementors…apparently I made an 18 minute dance about Harry Potter and Dementors. You are welcome.*

just my thesis…

In all seriousness, it was an honor and a privilege to be a part of something so artistic and community based, as I value taking complex “things” and making them generally accessible; it was such an incredible opportunity to take my version of concert dance and share it with the local community. It wasn’t a perfect space for this dance (claustrophobic doesn’t even begin to describe it), but the day couldn’t have been more perfect…make sense?

And finally, shall we address my mental state?

I’ll start by saying, the dance is a narrative of one’s mind at work…the affects/effects (both…?) of the ego and how dissociation from one’s self-imposed narrative can actually be liberating and life changing. It’s essentially a mind-map of the mind…trippy and so relative.

I really was surprised at how “easily” the dance took shape; it was definitely a ton of hard work, but once I stopped standing in my own way, I managed to make a piece that I loved. With all of this being said, I’m now in this weird limbo of newfound confidence and familiar insecurity (mostly because in the back of my mind I know that in a few months I’m back to the bottom of someone’s totem pole).

In conclusion:

I think part of the reason I was hesitant to blog these past several weeks was because I didn’t think I could justify offering advice on anything when I was begging for advice on everything. I then got a friendly reminder from Ms. Weight Sensing that these are the moments and the reasons for having a blog; without sharing my stories, I risk leaving somebody out there, maybe even you, feeling isolated in a similar experience. Know that you are not alone, I too am a psycho, and we will get through this together.

It’s going to be great!

I leave you with the following, a little ditty Dumbledore shared with me yesterday…

 Sorry Feminists (…I died…)

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