Only recently have I truly claimed Dance as my medium. Time, distance, and trauma have made my relationship to my body and movement in general different than what I perceive most dancers’ to be. But the real fact is that I don’t understand what other dancers perceive because I’ve not been a peer in their community. Instead I’ve tended to migrate toward the visual and performance art communities, or isolate entirely—out of somewhat adolescent fears of not fitting in, and the devil you know being safer as they say. But I’m tired of being trapped by my own fears.
Dance is for me any artistic expression in the service of setting body and mind together at work. Whether in the form of running or gesturing, dancing is about the idea that making or doing is thinking. My body as a physical presence has the power to intervene in systems much larger than itself, and the body brings a sense of scale to the otherwise incomprehensible paradoxes and conundrums of our times. Through the use of systems, objects, visual codes, considerations of rigor, time and repetition, I interrogate local gestures, customs, and rituals to reveal complex identities embedded in tradition and class structures.
Working within the fields of dance, social practice, installation, and conceptual practice, I have been a practicing artist for 15 years. I am currently working on the continued refining of my movement philosophy and how it manifests through practice and teaching. I strive to embrace a holistic sense of humanity, and I think dance is the best medium to express that—whether by way of a moving body, a choreographic score, a bait and switch between dance and everyday life, or myriad other strategies and tactics.
I work project to project, driven to explore an idea to its depths. During Neighborhood Dances, my most recent work involving a daily practice of dancemaking, I was often asked how long I would keep dancing. As long as the project needs me to keep dancing, I would say. It turns out that was about two years. When that daily practice ended, I was still in the studio on a weekly basis exploring its movement vocabulary, but things weren’t the same. My life, my momentum, requires a daily practice and I thought I had lost mine. I was utterly depressed. And yet, I soon realized that I wasn’t seeing the forest for the trees. I did have a daily practice—a daily running practice. I just had yet to consider running in relation to my art.
Art always sneaks up on me this way, and once I caught sight of my running as an art practice there was no denying it. Can running be art? Sure, yes, no problem. Think of the long line of conceptual performance art that has passed institutional muster, not to mention the long history of walking art—an obvious kin. Can running be dance? Yvonne Rainer thought so in 1963 with We Shall Run. Albeit, I am approaching the action and the frame of action entirely differently than she did, but it has been 50 some odd years since that Judson Church revolution. Postmodernism’s task dances are a great foundation for the work I am building, but I am building something new. Something perhaps in line with Jennifer Monson’s idea of the migratory path as theatre. Like Monson I will use locomotion for flocking, as I mass people around me each day of my race. In Monson’s stead, the pathway for the dance doesn’t have to be on one spot, it can move from place to place.
In endurance running, I have had to learn to accept the virtue of slowness, of not reaching my potential at any given moment. I have not only acquired that peace or “void” while running, as Murakami describes in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, but also the void of coming to peace with discomfort that Simone Weil talks about in Gravity and Grace: “Not to exercise all the power at one’s disposal is to endure the void. This is contrary to all the laws of nature. Grace alone can do it. Grace fills empty spaces but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.”