Studying My Compositional Desires

This semester I embarked on many choreographic escapades. Throughout my third year as a BFA student I took Music and Choreography under Daniel Roberts, Group Forms under Ann Sofie Clemmensen, and worked on my own choreography through the construction of a self-choreographed solo using Motif structuring.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 6.06.47 PMThrough both my solo Of Stillness (2017) and work in Music and Choreography, my studies focused on unpacking how my own mind and body operate together to compose. This brought me to an understanding that the two entities within my own form require differing time frames to process movement information. I can create a movement study in mere minutes, but I need spaced out chunks of time to edit and compose towards my choreographic interests. In many ways I think of my body and my mind as separate coexisting parts of a whole. I recognize that they have intelligences that shed light in different areas, and that it is the balance of thought processed between the two “filters” of sorts that allows unique movement combinations in space to fester happily through time.

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A Study in Process


Image drawn through listening to Rubato by George Gershwin

For my final project in Music and Choreography I was instructed to create a 3-4minute group piece with 3-4 dancers acknowledging a clear relationship of movement to music. I was able to use a process for creating that suited me best; my only guideline was to use an image I drew for a different class assignment, seen above, to inform my spatial patterns.

With limited time as finals drew near, I decided that what I most wanted to focus on for this choreographic creation was in fact the process of making the movement. Throughout the semester I have been developing a system of random score generation with Motif symbols. I write out Motif symbols on small squares of paper, each correlating to a different idea of movement or intention, for them to then be picked at random and


Hazel’s score through english wording

arranged between the bar lines that create a score. For my group work, each individual had control over a solo phrase that they would arrange visually on paper, and then create physically by moving through the score. For example Hazezl, one of my dancers, created a score that reads “hop either side, with the fingers, leading into rebounding springs. Any gestural path backwards followed by a pelvis movement to the rights, ending in the up area with slight flexion. After a stillness, scatter both sides in a low plane, and finally engage a heavy accent in any high direction.” Image of this score seen to the right. Each of the commands, suggestions, intentions, body parts, etc. outlined through the english wording of this score correlates to a different Motif symbol. Image of


Hazel’s score through Motif symbols

Hazel’s Motif score seen to the left. (Note that these two scores are actually just the same one score. I had the dancers pick the score by looking at the Motif symbols, and if they were not sure of the meaning of one or wanted english wording continuity for themselves they could flip over all of the cards to see the definitions of what they had created.)

After each had generated their solo material off of their score, I watched each solo. To match up my spatial patterns from my drawn image, I drew out what each dancer did in their solo. Images seen below. In these small drawings my full attention was on the movement, my pen remained on the page for my hand to simply copy what I saw. From there I matched each individuals’ solo material to where it would go in space and how they would relate to one another.


All scores created/used throughout the work

The current structure of the work as presented goes as follows: material I developed from my own score and taught to the dancers, preface material from individuals’ solo score phrases, and the full solos of the dancers pieced together. If I had had more time, or if I continue this work in the future, I would like to dive into the solo phrases that my movers created and tailor them to attend to my own choreographic desires. This would alter the nature of the scores themselves, and I would therefore look to conclude a process by drawing up what the Motif score of the work became.

I am excited to continue my work on process. This is a very interesting one and so far it has proved fruitful. More experimentation is in my future.

See the video of this work as it currently stands by clicking HERE.

A Body Practice: Intermedia Reflections

Aug. 29, 2016 Course goals/expectations: For this course I am excited to create (figure out) a working “elevator speech” definition of intermedia. I look forward to composing movement in a way that works to question spectatorship, power, and what the heck the point is for the movement that is lived or performed. I hope to work collaboratively with technology and human alike as I learn and grow as a moving creative.


Dec. 2016 Elevator Speech: Intermedia is a multidisciplinary art form acknowledging equally the role of text, tech, movement, performer, and audience as they work together to create. It is the space we go to play.

Art is not just made for the sake of its material existence, it’s brought to life by the interpretations of those who come to be a part of the work. Art is therefore not a spectator sport, it is a human collaborative effort. Even a stationary painting is brought to a new life by the viewer studying it. There is something then about the acknowledgement of all the individual players (text, technology, movement, performer, audience, paint, etc.) who come together to create that becomes important. Seeing a work of art through an intermedia lens acknowledges this importance. It allows people to express ideas in a safe space, and therefore it pushes the boundaries of what we define our current state of being to be. Yes, intermedia is an art form. But it is also a way of thinking. It is a way in which we as humans learn to see and respect one another for the different skills each of us brings to the table.

IMG_4506.jpgIn an intermedia-minded community, like the one my class fostered throughout the semester, there becomes an experimentation with the multiple forms of “other”. Through innovative technology and freely discussing concepts, we deal with the impossible, or maybe the not possible quite yet. We use intermedia to blur the lines between ‘us’ and ‘them.’

‘Us’ and ‘them.’ This idea can quickly become political, based in socio-cultural boundaries that we set up between one another. While making art this fact must be acknowledged, but I do not believe collaborators must always play on the politics or lean into the message possibly read. People view art with individual histories affecting their perspective, so any material presented is inherently political due to its construction by specific people at a certain moment in time. That being said, art can be an important vehicle for initiating social change. One example of this comes from intermedia artist Augusto Boal, who used his work as a Brazilian dramatist to create the plans for Legislative Theatre, an idea that made him senator of the city of Rio de Jeneiro in 1992. From Augusto Boal’s FORUM THEATRE for teachers, Notes about Theatre of the Oppressed and Forum Theatre, “Legislative theatre involves teaching the drama techniques to community groups, trade unions and others associations. The groups then put together model plays about the different problems or issues, and through analyzing different interventions to the play, plan concrete action, which can bring about real change regarding that particular issue.” I find this intermedia concept incredible. Boal uses theater acting to help the government and its public to better communicate issues and possible solutions with one another.

Better communication and equal access to information! That’s what I like to hear. With many groups working in intermedia, their body of work is available online for stay-at-home audiences to peruse at their leisure. Full- work videos are still kept private for the most part, but video excerpts, images, engineering blueprints, textual information such as concept development or artist statements, and technological guides become part of the online archives that artists create of their works. Check out THE WOOSTER GROUP, 9 Evenings, or From Wagner to Virtual Reality to see different ways in which these elements are explained for any to partake in.

So there is a political body. And a body of work. But there is also the kinesthetic or individual body, a body of people, and so on. Being a dancer I tend to mostly consider the individual and kinesthetic body, it is the one I think about most often, but in a general sense a body is group of knowledge. And when we use our information to listen to and support one another in a open-minded, body-conscious manner, really everything is intermedia.

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A few other points of interest from my class experiences:

Storyboarding an idea. This essentially is a planned out collage that gets the creator of a work to fiddle with ideas of material order, concept, mood, technological plan, etc., on paper.


Storyboard for “Warmth on a Cool Day” (video below)

Storyboards allow people to translate their thoughts, that which provides no tactile or visual information, into something physically held, seen, and able to be shared with others.

Concept of practice. This is something that I still need time to reflect on. I just recently found Self Interview on Practice by Chrysa Parkinson to help fuel my curiosities in asking what brings us to our work each day. One moment of the interview that currently sticks with me starts when Parkinson questions whether new artists are just those who receive the education necessary to thoughtfully create. Are they artists just because they understand the techniques and know how to make something? She answers herself with no, new artists redefine doing ‘it’ by redefining ‘it’, not by redefining the doing. I talked in my course midterm post about this mysterious ‘it,’ but I do not yet have answers.

View my lab group’s study “Warmth on a Cool Day” (storyboard seen above) by clicking HERE.

What is known? What is unknown? How do we bring what is known to participate in/observe/experience what is unknown?

The Audience Always Participates


October 2016 – Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain MiniEvent (performed in the Wexner Center Gallery)img_4544

October 2016 – Manual Cinema: Ada/Ava (performed in the Wexner Performance Space)

November 2016 – Eastman/Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui: Fractus V (performed in the Speaker Jo Ann Davidson Theatre at the Riffe Center)

I have had the fortune to see all three of these performances while they were in Columbus. Through these works, I found that each engaged my awareness of the audience’s role in the always participatory nature of viewing art.

For the Black Mountain MiniEvent, the audience itself was rather large to view a small area of space. I therefore saw the movement of the Merce Cunningham MiniEvent through the limbs of other observers. The audience shaped my perception of what happened on the dance floor. In movements closer to the ground, maybe I caught a set of fingertips or shapes made by the lower leg. For leaps and high-planed steps I saw a head pop up amongst the crowd. Still, stationed bodies framed my personal version of the dances. Additionally for the audience to view, this concert included the piano and musicians who engaged in playing sounds composed by John Cage.

img_4542Similar to viewing the technical element of sound in the Black Mountain MiniEvent, Manual Cinema presented their concert Ada/Ava where the projected shadow-puppet story was only half of the visible show. This work additionally engaged the audience by allowing us to view simultaneously the work that went behind the puppeteering. As an audience member I got to see the “behind the scenes” of the projection work. Musicians, movers, and technicians were all given equal roles enacted through their obvious visibility to the audience. This allowed me to feel a part of the work created.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Fractus V, the most recent dance concert to tour through Columbus, worked to engage my individuality as an audience member. This happened through the work’s stress on the importance of different personalities creating together. I felt comfortable in my ability to view the work with all of my own histories to inform me, img_4545alongside the information Fractus V provided. This work also incorporated musicians, their instruments, and moving set pieces as additional technical elements VISIBLE throughout the work.

Moving forwards I am pleased to know that the audience always has a role to play in the active observing of an individual piece of art, or of an art form as a whole. We are individuals with different histories that inform our daily perceptions of reality, and we therefore see artistic works through multiple lenses probably different than those of the audience member sitting (or standing) next to you.

More Comp Tools: Minimalism and Repetition

This mid-semester composition study for my Music and Choreography course had me playing with ideas of minimalism and repetition. From this experimentation I played with how a smaller quantity of movement material could still work to make an entire piece arch.

Click HERE to view my full study!

Looking at the Music-to-Movement Relationship

As a part of my focus curriculum I am taking Music and Choreography, a composition course looking to explore the ways in which music and movement interact in space and time. I took the course because I am very much a person who understands based off of visual and kinesthetic information, less so with aural. Therefore I often forget to consider music as my compositional partner when creating.

To introduce the course, we began with listening to Sonata in B Minor, K27 by Domenico Scarlatti. We then scored the music, however we heard it. This helped us to realize that everyone hears music slightly differently. When there are many layers, one individual may hear an emphasis that another may not. In our scores we accepted our differences and just wrote down what we heard. In the picture of my notes, the top and bottom thirds of the page show two different ways in which I scored the Sonata.


After scoring the music, we created movement that went TO the music. How my movement unfolded may be seen through my drawings in the mid-third of my page of notes.

With the choreography set TO music, the second part of the assignment was to use that same musicality and set the movement to a pop song. This was not as thrilling for me. I got bored with the 8-count structure quickly and found my Scarlatti-inspired movement to outmatch the pop songs. I tried many different pieces of music and never really felt like I connected to any of them.

Parts 1 and 2 of this study may be viewed through my Vimeo account by clicking HERE.

In part 3 of our assignment, not included in my video, we were instructed to let go of the phrasing of the movement as we put our choreography to electronic music with a more minimal structure. We listened to artists such as Songar, alva noto, and Aoki Takamasa and chose music that we could use to expand the structure of our already existing material. What I liked about part 3 was how it allowed me to track the evolution of material from being exact to the music, to now existing in a more open-ended timeframe. It showed me how a phrase created to music has material that can exist in forms past the music under which it was created. Moving forward, this is a tool I can use for composition.