Habitual - Tango

Today was breakthrough day at my residency. But last night, I cried.

I had all the pieces of the puzzle organized, all of the ideas laid out, and then just sat there - empty - overthinking it. After a little sake & tears (get it out of the system), I said to myself: ‘Fuck it!,’ put on a tango, laid down one move after another (with minor tweaking) and decided that THIS would be the dance that we would do. 

It’s not the “choreography,” or the laying down of steps or movements that gets me going: it really is in discovering what is making those movements relevant or fresh in the moment. As we learned part of this dance in rehearsal today, it was truly in the human learning and execution that was exciting and challenging.

Yes, you could watch the video and say “great! i saw the dance!” call it good and then on with your day. But with this piece, Habitual, it really is in the live execution that will make the piece everything that it is. (And thusly I achieve my goal, sussing out what kind of work should be live and what should be on film!)

So I hope you’ll come witness us performing this…(july 25 & 26)

http://studio210residency.brownpapertickets.com

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The mess of residency

I am honored to be one of two recipients of the 2014 Studio 210 Residency | Deborah Slater Dance Theater residency. After a year and a half of not creating live performance, here I find myself back in the dancemaking saddle. 

The goal for myself in this residency process is to explore why I am back to making live dances. Dancemaking is often a confusing and maddening process for me, and by contrast, film has seemed relatively straightforward for me in many respects. I’m digging into the dancemaking process with a film mindset to find out what I can clarify for myself about dancemaking.

What I’m learning about myself here is that I have a completely different approach to making both. In dance, I’m very interested in the experience of the performer and in creating a collaboratively authored work. Which is rich and fruitful, but can be messy. And if I don’t go into the rehearsal process with an iron-clad thesis, I can easily get pulled off-track and lost in a hurry.

In a filmmaking process, I am much less interested in hearing about the performers’ experiences. Of course the process is collaborative, but each contribution tends to apply to a certain area of the process - such as sound, or art direction. All I have to do is recognize how the idea could (or might not) fit into the whole, and then incorporate that. 

I suppose in many ways, choreographic direction is just like that too. But I struggle to make fast choices on the spot, with dancers watching and being. No matter how loving and trusting the performer, I really need a LOT of time to reflect quietly on my choices by myself - to let them sink deeply into my subconscious. The reason I am able to function so quickly on a film shoot is because I’ve had hours upon hours to reflect deeply on the world of the piece, and these choices are in a sense already made. But in dance, it’s just not so: the world is being made as we breathe.

In film, I’m such a baby, and so unstudied in the history of cinema, that I’m able to make choices that lack self-consciousness. In dance, I feel like I’m dragging the weight of the centuries along with me. I often discard ideas that I haven’t even tried because I fear they have already been done. 

Thus far in the rehearsal process, we’ve excavated dance habits - an overcurve, a sitroll, spine twist movements specific to US as generators, and I’ve re-choreographed them using editing software. The process is a fascinating one, but the results exclude the audience. It’s fine from a formalist perspective, and maybe this dance isn’t really for audience after all. But that’s not very me - I’m definitely more inclusive as a creator.

To help make this more inclusive to audience, I’ll use their pedestrian habits instead. I’ll take this old idea (thanks Yvonne Rainer & co.), and try to give it some newness using my own editing software process. Maybe if I use material that is familiar and habitual to us ALL, then nobody is excluded, and we all have a visual anchor. Work for the coming week. 

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Quake Dance Film Trailer

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'Globe Trot' is now on the interwebs! Quite happily, I was a cinematographer on this project, see if you can spot my section in front of SF's Painted Ladies!

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Favorite stills from Quake

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spires:

Urban outfitters is ripping me off with the help of a party named ‘Bambam’. This is taken from my original work tryypyzoyd. I’m furious. PLEASE SHARE TO HELP.
http://www.urbanoutfitters.com/urban/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=30672646&parentid=BRANDS

I will respond in the post to any inquiries: I emailed them and I’m waiting to hear back.

Thanks so much to anyone who reblogs this post. I will follow you if you reblog.

(via aleaosha)

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All positive thoughts for Zoe and her family!

zoekeating:

Dear Listeners,

My husband Jeff has been sick with a mysterious illness for several months. It’s not so mysterious any more. My man, my best friend, my partner-in-crime for 16 years has cancer. All. Fucking. Over. Lungs, brain, liver, bones.

We’re at the hospital. He is a warrior. We are…

(via sigkate)

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Pas de Deux, Norman McLaren, 1968

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Tango time! A video of Doruk and I dancing ‘Se Va La Vida’ together. :)

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We survived the shoot! (or “PHEW”)

For all the planning in the world, film shoots can be wild and unpredictable creatures, taunting you to try (just try!) and leash them. 

In the case of Quake, each day of the week had a new drama in store for us.

Monday morning: a weather report of showers all week, especially Wednesday and Saturday (our planned shoot days). A little schedule finagling, and we managed to miss a downpour at 6am on Wednesday - first PHEW of the week.

Tuesday - camera issues, caused by the Magic Lantern firmware that we were using on the Canon 5D3. Now, this is one fancy camera (the rental on this one part of the shoot alone was $500), and it was a bit scary to see a problem that could have completely broken the camera. But it didn’t! PHEW!

Wednesday/Thursday - the flu! I get the call on Wednesday night that the wonderful Director of Photography (DP) has the flu and can’t make the shoot. While I’m fairly competent with a fancy camera, and rather good at framing my subjects, I am no match for her mad skillz with manual settings. But things went well, and I did learn a thing or two on Thursday!

Friday - another forecast to make my head spin - 70-100% chance of showers on Saturday. We waited until the last minute (3:30am, I’ll have you know) to make the call. It was clear enough, so we thought ‘let’s try it!’

Saturday - a freezing morning for half-naked dancers, but they were all incredible troopers. We got a bit of drizzle at around 6:45-7am (truth be told, I had no idea what time it was - once I got shooting, I was completely engrossed) and happily, very happily, we arrived back in the cars just as the downpour began. PHEW!

Now to delve into the juicy fun of editing in preparation for my May 7th pre-release…

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Final test shots for Quake

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An artist statement to be proud of

Welp. After 12 years of art making, I think I can finally call this a statement that actually says what it is that I do. #knowthyself http://bit.ly/1o1TkQw

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'Ringing' Phones Do Not Mean Malaysian Passengers Are OK

electronic failure signifying the possibility of life. good? not good? the intertwined nature of us and technology now. #troika

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Quake developments

February certainly moved along quickly, and with it, the process and progress of Quake. I had an opportunity to show a minute of the work in-progress among a stellar (and highly respectable) artistic cohort, and was very happy to hear an enthusiastic ‘yes!’ all around on the work I’d made.

In private conversation with Cari Ann, I showed her some of the “absolute no” material, and she basically rolled her eyes at me and said it was fine. Ah perfectionism. After looking through more of what I’d shot, I decided to go with what I already have. I’ve pushed up the outdoor shoot portion to late-March, so I don’t miss that winter light and keep the momentum as best I can.

Down to two locations, going out this afternoon to take a look, breathe the air and watch out for Poison Oak. More to come…

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