A Choreography of Presence

Warp and Weft, Headlong Dance Theater. Photo Credit Aaron Igler.

Warp and Weft, Headlong Dance Theater. Photo Credit Aaron Igler.


I am giving a lecture on Presence as part of Move Dance Think Fest‘s “The Significance of Everything” this weekend: Saturday, May 2 from 5 to 7pm at Headlong Studios.

I will talk about working to create a choreography of presence that doesn’t fill up action but rather dictates action and embraces human diversity in the deepest sense. I argue that a focus on presence resists an approach to performance that asks bodies to be categorically representational, or to look like one another in exchange for formal pleasures that come at the expense of human complexity and possibility. And I offer a vision of a dance form that is inseparable from the aging body rather than a form whose skill requires it to be at odds with wisdom and experience. I think we can see our bodies as unique and ephemeral rather than interchangeable and disposable.

I will also share how my perspective has been shaped by my belief in the untapped power of our senses to deliver vital, unnoticed information about each other and the world around us. In particular I share my experience with deafness-growing up as a hearing member of a deaf family and how living in a sign language environment opened the doors of perception to another non-verbal world in which bodies were always whispering even when they weren’t signing. And how those senses sharpened as I began to lose my hearing as an adult.

Move Dance Think Fest’s “The Significance of Everything,” produced by Zornitsa Stoyanova, Kristen Shahverdian and Jacelyn Biondo, is full of events and performances all day on Saturday and Sunday – go to the website to learn more and consider joining us for a lovely, thoughtful weekend.

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