Sunday, June 28, 2009

Branch dancing at The World Dance Alliance Americas Assembly May 28-31

The 2009 World Dance Alliance Americas Assembly was held at The University of Wisconsin, Madison this past May 28-31. This conference and festival brought an international cohort of dance artists, educators, and students from over 15 countries and throughout the United States.

What a pleasure to participate in such a rich gathering of dance artists, scholars, and educators! I was invited to present my work in one of several shared concerts and to conduct a three-day choreographic workshop which would culminate in a site specific performance on the fourth day. This was a welcome opportunity to pilot a residency concept that includes both a staged performance and a choreographic workshop within a short span of time.

The title of the assembly was What Moves Us? How appropriate! I spent the whole weekend feeling my heart swell and expand! I was moved by the wealth and vitality of dance presented. I was moved by Paul Mabwa’s dancing, presence, and gaze. I was moved by Mark Taylor’s teaching of Body Mind Movement. I was moved by entering Authentic Movement under the guidance of Melissa Rolnick.

Five dancers of mixed abilities and ages participated in the entire choreographic project: Melissa Rolnick from Gustavus College in MN, Paul Mabwa from Kenya , Anadel Lynton from Mexico, and Ellen Gerdes and Monica Frichtel from Temple University joined the company, Shavon Norris, Jumatatu Poe, Toshi Makihara, and me, for a four days of branch dancing. I was moved by the group’s interest and commitment to the work.

And I was moved by the audience’s response to the work. I had felt curious about what the audience response would be. This work is not dance in the traditional sense; would the world dance community resonate with it? I received abundant enthusiastic feedback: “the work drew me in immediately”, “it was beautiful”, “I was moved”. Wow! Its exciting that the work is received this way.

We keep moving.

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