Mocean's annual choreographic lab CLEaR Forum, Photo by Kevin MacCormack

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Reflections from Northampton

This post is a little late for publication, but as you read you can see where I may have gotten held up...

We did it!
A fantastic piece in full fruition on stage, a cycle of questions and reflections embodied in full form, presentation with many congratulations…it all happened here with the wonderful and…. yes I’m gonna say it…. the beautiful Mocean Dance team. (We discovered during our travels that Northampton loves the adjective: beautiful).

Photo by Derek Fowles

I am extremely proud and grateful for the inquisitive generosity, vulnerability and permeability that was tested and exhibited by all involved. Thank you to Jacinte Armstrong, Rhonda Baker, Sarah Rozee, Susanne Chui, to my collaborators Andrew Hawryshkewichand Phil Thomson and to my mentor/thesis adviser Chris Aiken.

I was proud to witness all the hard work and vulnerability that was exhibited on the Smith College stage:

From my cohorts: Shaina Cantino, Safi Harriott and Mat Elder – we each in our own way took our weight off-balance and tested our tilt in unfamiliar axes to seek disorientation and in this place we were able to find a new sense of clarity from our bewilderment.  (an excerpt from our directors' notes in the program)

To the wide range and many perspectives in performativity that graced the stage; the enthusiastically green by talented undergraduate dancers, the local professionals from the community, past and present graduate students, and the professional dancers hailing from Canada (that’s us!).

As I digest, I realize that the first 15 days of February had been the most impactful and revealing days I have ever experienced in my artistic career. From choreographer, teacher, mentee to performer I had on every possible hat in a two-week span.

During the first 15 days of February my schedule included the following:
  • My MFA Thesis dance project with Mocean Dance was presented for all to see, 
Body Abandoned in performance, Photo by Derek Fowles
  • I organized and facilitated an outreach workshop (taught by Susanne!) and post-secondary education discussion with the Southern Vermont IBIT Dance Company Pre-professional Training Division, 

  • I contributed my lighting and artistic improvising sensibilities for a performance of master improvisers that I deeply respect: Chris Aiken, Angie Hauser and Mike Vargas in Threshold, operating a lighting board that I learned in 10 hours,
  • and I taught and performed at the prestige conference loved by all at the American College Dance Festival at Boston University. 
Teaching at ACDFA at Boston University
Photos (and below) by Troy David Mercier
Performing in "How Did I Get Here?" by Chris Aiken at ACDFA

Whirlwind doesn’t even begin to describe the intensity of the artistic craft, decisions and emotions that I have experienced….. just to survive each day. I am blessed, I feel set afire and I am wiped at the same time.  Pausing to do a rough calculation, from Feb 1-15 my artistic efforts reached approximately 1100 people.

The premiere came and went and now even March is coming to a close. Yikes! The end of the road is nearing. I have pulled myself out of recovery mode and push through to reflective mode.

It is now spring break at Smith and I am thick into my thesis writing, the final yet maybe the most difficult portion in this journey. Give me ideological questions and an empty studio and I can figure out the message physically no problem…. words on the other hand, this medium is a much different process.

I'm on page 22.... only 38 more to go....

The graduate student writing life,
(a heartfelt supportive gift from Chris Aiken).

Yours Truly, Sara

Body Abandoned in Rehearsal at Smith College