Friday, December 3, 2010

Dancing "Love Stutter"

Dancing "Love Stutter" at Surreal Estate. Nov. 19, 2010 (click for more pics)

On more than one occasion I've been asked to explain where the title of my blog came from. It is a dance that I choreographed two years ago... a class project for Choreography 4, required of all MFA candidates focusing on choreography. I started this blog that summer and all the mental and emotional things I went through to create and perform that dance that spring semester, was also how I felt about life at the moment. So my personal blog took on the name of that dance - a dance I'm still performing all over the place.

A couple of weeks prior to my recent show I happened into a workshop on improvisation in my quest to regularly exercise and take class. After several improvisation exercises, the artist leading the workshop prompted us to write about "dancing like ourselves." What an interesting assignment while in the process of rehearsing and re staging a self-choreographed solo. Here's the stream of consciousness I wrote down:

With in the joints jumps about dramatic schematic sharp dynamic typical lyrical weird strange attitude fun sweaty breathe hard direct attention direct focus smiling knowing innate in my body innate in my spirit and mind all they all know with out my conscious mind being aware. specific performed different every time this is dancing like me hesitant but MOVES big but small Ha! tire myself out lazy because too tired frenzy fanatic moving for moving's sake because I can two legs God gave me I'm thankful
Looking at those words now they are an abstract yet spot on description of the dance. It is almost everything I think about when I perform that dance... now.

When I first created it, I hated it. Just ask my bestie from grad school. It took me so long to make. It was so hard to make. I was literally making it because I had to make a dance. After I showed each version to the class for feedback I felt inadequate. I felt like they felt I was inadequate... at what I was doing: dancing, choreographing - a microcosm of how I'd felt they'd felt about me since I walked in the door first semester. It was Grad School Bestie who sat in the studio with me and helped draw out the frenzy, fanatic, dramatic. He told me to "just go effin wild." So I did.

Then I showed it for class and when I was finished, there was shock. They certainly enjoyed it and had plenty of positive feedback. I didn't know whether to be happy or sad. I felt like all of a sudden the smoke had cleared; a veil had been lifted from over their eyes and they could see that I actually had the capability to not only make a dance, but to perform. They implored me to show it the next day for the whole dance department. I did and it was met with the same positive reaction. "Syd, you're a performer!" "That's the hardest I've seen you work all year!" "Beautiful." I went into my office and sobbed.

What I know now, that I didn't know then was that I'm always going to have to prove myself. What I know now, that I didn't know then was that I just have to keep doing me and wait for every body else to catch up. What I know now, that I didn't know then is that "Love Stutter" the dance and the blog have become vital vehicles to getting me where I'm going. It took all of THAT to make a solo that I can perform any time, any where with all my heart and people can see that my love for dance is really real.

When I showed it at the Artists' Salon I was given the opportunity to talk about it with my audience. I loved the opportunity to talk about where the dance came from and how it has changed. It was a joy to relish in the movement and then relish in the process with the audience... an opportunity that performers so rarely get. I danced it again at Surreal Estate, a week later. I had been awake almost 36 hours before the performance dealing with details of the show, but when I danced there was nothing but pure joy. The entire day made each and every one of those words I'd written a few weeks before ring true. Especially: "too tired frenzy fanatic moving for moving's sake because I can two legs God gave me I'm thankful."

Commitment to Class Update: I took Ballet again with Graciela on Wednesday and Thursday. Each day that I'm there, I can tell I'm getting stronger. I'm remembering what muscles to use, when and how. Wednesday proved to be much tougher than Monday though because I was SORE. And working through the SORE ain't easy. I'm going again tomorrow. That'll be four days of ballet this week. Let's see if I can keep this up.

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