Can I Dance Your Life?

Creating dance portraits of people like you--and not like you....

What would a dance inspired by you look like?  That’s what I’ll be answering in a new dance project for people like you–or not like you.

Through movement, I’m aiming to capture an essence of someone or someone’s life.  I’m choreographing these tributes as  kind of danced portraits or poems catalyzed by specific human muses.

Thanks to a faraway friend  who asked me if I would put a piece together based on her life so far, I’m building on a framework I used awhile ago in creating a solo to honor a mentor of mine who was being recognized with a dance award.

To get the ball rolling, I’ve just sent my friend a series of questions that I hope will yield information about what’s meaningful to her and what’s been key to her life till now.

The process of devising questions has certainly been revealing.  After all, what’s really important to know and convey about someone?  There are probably infinite answers to this.

Since I’m especially drawn to what sparks people’s aliveness, what enchants them, my list skews toward the senses, the imagination, the possibilities.  Like, what’s your favorite spice and what comforts you?  Who are your top 3 musicians and what scares you and what one word best describes you?

I’m not so interested in a timeline, a checklist. Nor in a mere literal gestural translation of accomplishments.  But I’m open to what my friend seeks to emphasize and evoke, as well.  It’s a new form of collaboration for me–excellent!

I have thrown in some more “factual” questions about life history.  For context and to inspire different kinesthetic qualities. Once I have her answers, I’ll generate movement or ask her to come up with small gestures that are triggered by the verbal responses.  And I’ll work and re-work this “clay” to craft a dance piece with faraway friend’s input.

While I’ve been writing this, I realize that I’ve been following a similar format to create my solo that I’ve been working on for awhile.  The solo focuses on my deeply meaningful connection to the sea.  So, I’ve been replaying over and over my memory’s reel, as well as visiting the ocean to scavenge for resonant nuggets.  Now, I’ve clustered them into this movement necklace that reflects who I am.  Deep down. Not just the facts, ma’am.

This project excites me because I’ll need to dig deep.  Drawing on creativity and dance  and intuition to discern and honor who folks really are.  Yum.

It would be lovely to create something deep, rich and meaningful for my friend, this passionate, complex human being.   I’m also daunted by the challenge to create something deep, rich and meaningful for this passionate, complex human being.  That’s why the title of this post is “Can I…?”

I hope that I do this well enough that she is satisfied and that I might choreograph more “Dances of Life.”  I love the idea of MORE dance out there.   A danced toast at a birthday party and a danced eulogy and a videoed life dance for one’s own library and ….?

I plan to write about the choreographic journey here for these pieces.  Who knows? Maybe you or someone you know has a life you’d like danced, too :). 

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