To be a dancer…is such a loaded question. I mean, it’s expressing yourself through movement – which makes more people dancers than not. Because of modern and all the abstract kinds of dance that have developed over time, anything goes -we’re all dancing-. We move every day, no?
When I’m working on a dance, I take people on considering the wheelhouse they already have and play to those details and nuances. The other side of this is the dancer’s role to adapt and have a willingness to be versatile -they’ll find a way to make that movement work on their body-. It can go a few different ways being a part of someone else’s choreography: sometimes the choreographers want the dancers to move in a specific way and they’ll work on those movements until uniformly perfected. Others will give you material and welcome individual style. I’ve found there is value to stepping out of my own comfort zone and becoming a part of that movement which can be incredible.
I was a part of an abstract team where we’d create material together; there was space to offer ideas and suggestions and the choreographers would learn from us too. Trying this… doing that… trial and error of new ideas through rehearsal and development. This all is dependent on the space and location, which can be the best and most challenging part of performing.
Often when going to different spaces there will be a need for adjustment based on the lighting that is available, the shape of the stage, the number of audience members; and every one of these details must be considered. Part of this is the lighting; I’ve structured entire dances simply inspired by light. Thinking of how it spreads and fills surfaces, yet also guides and structures visual focus achieves really the most engaging results.
It’s always evident when you watch a performance where presence is successful or not. With less people, there is less detail and as such the movement must be louder. LOUD dancing…something that can be achieved by inflating and retracting in different formations of the stage. Facilitating visual travel across the stage takes the audience around with you. The conversation and consideration of space seems to be the most important aspect when trying to connect the art, the persons, and the performance.
With site-specific works- it becomes entirely about that conversation with the place: with the benches of a park, with a hook on a wall, skipping over a step… you’re playing, really. The surroundings guide you through –sparking imagination as a subconscious experience. Surrounded by people performing in the round and all sides on display, every bit of light considered, we all move and curate the environment we’re occupying.