Mind and Motion: Merging Words with Action through Choreography and Improvisation
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Series/Report no.:2014 Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. 19th
Last Spring I designed and performed a solo in Berlin, Germany in which I established a theory of improvisation based on the interplay of metaphysics and metaphor as revealed through a fluid alternation of text and movement. Text depicts metaphysical descriptions of present situations as experienced by the dancers, whereas abstract movement creates a metaphorical visual portrayal of relationship and symbolism. As an emerging contemporary dance artist at The Ohio State University I have become increasingly intrigued by the boundaries of theater and the roles of performer and audience in experiencing live art that intermixes choreography and structured improvisation, movement and text, by accessing the uninhibited mind of each individual dancer’s subconscious state of existence. If basic communication is an exchange of language, particularly verbal and physical, how can speech enhance movement to illuminate the essence of “being” in an abstract form? How, as a director, does one establish a common understanding and methodology in pairing choreographic research pertaining to the present moment and situation with the unique combination of personalities in the process in which the performance derives meaning? In my theory of improvisation, I emphasize a heightened awareness of the emotional self and the atmosphere of the surrounding environment. I then base teaching, directing, and choreographing on these ideas to draw attention to the state of existence and occurrence in the space through metaphysical and metaphorical explanation. The nature of the work is heavily inspired by Surrealist approaches to art as a vector of inhibiting the mind and the subconscious. A development from this process is the question: How far can a performer push a viewer’s comfort and understanding of reality whilst playing on familiar relationships or situations? I have been directing a company of seven undergraduate dancers since August 2013, devising exercises involving philosophical and interpersonal content in order to create an eight-minute dance choreographed and improvised from my theory. Multiple bodies, minds, and voices introduce a new layer of individual approach and the necessary steps to working together in the process with a goal of integrating the space of performer and audience.
Art/Architecture: 2nd Place (The Ohio State University Denman Undergraduate Research Forum)
Academic Major: Dance
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