My research and teaching are inextricable from one another. My creative work and pedagogical practices are formulated through one another, and are fundamentally political in their approach to dance, bodies, and the production of knowledge. I question both what we consider to be knowledge and how we come to shape it, and then also our methods for sharing it. My research interests in how bodies become constituted, shape subjectivities, and discover shifting relationalities to one another translates into all my pedagogical practices. I teach a range of studio-based and lecture courses including physical practice, improvisation, choreographic process, special topics seminars rooted in history or critical theory, and interdisciplinary courses focused on dance and technology, such as screendance/mediated bodies, sound design, and new media practices. In all courses, I promote working through improvisation and composition to illuminate our kinetic understandings of instinct, impulse, and assumption. I believe that the way we talk, write, watch, dance, and make work inevitably reveals us to ourselves in a way that can only happen through the process of doing those things, and therefore believe that theorizing in multiple ways (academic, pedagogical, poetic, kinetic, creative) is necessary to continuously expand meaning and significance of ideas. I promote an ethic in which we will all hold each other accountable for sustaining a classroom practice that is alive and emergent, responsive and engaging.
In lecture-based courses I encourage facile redirection of attention and focus between ideas and perspectives, curious open-mindedness, intellectual risk-taking, and resiliency in our ability to engage critically with material. I value dynamic interpretations of materials, respectful debate, and discussions that allow student contributions to fold into and through one another. I am interested in developing special topic seminars at the graduate and undergraduate level that closely examine relationships between choreography, power, subject-formation, and transformative citizenship. In past classes we have examined protests, racism and representation of bodies in the news and social media, the choreography of social movements, global capitalism, the prison industrial complex, and the production of gender and sexuality through choreographic elements of pattern, repetition, hierarchy, relationship, and accumulation. I promote an approach to theory that materializes in the studio, and beyond, and believe that seminars can explicate strategies for articulating what we’re doing, what we want to be doing, and how to do it.
CHOREOGRAPHING TECHNOLOGY (formerly known as "Screendance")
This course examines the creative potential of integrating choreography and technology through projects in experimental video, social media and the internet, interactive performance, improvisation, and sound design. Supplemental screenings and readings will provide historical and theoretical context to inspire new possibilities for pursuing mediated choreographic practices. We will broadly consider the term “choreography” to research the ways in which bodies and information move through time and space via a multitude of technological infrastructures. We will discuss what becomes identified as “technology” and the social, political, and ecological consequences of engaging with these systems. Critical attention will be given to the relationship between technology and visibility, specifically in regard to race, gender, sexuality, class, and ability. Through what labor do technological systems come into the world and who benefits from their being here? Each student will write a treatment for a final project of their own design which can take shape in a variety of forms: video, essay, live performance, etc. As a class, we will organize a public event to share final projects with the community.
Winter 2019 Course Flyer:
ART & ECOLOGY
This course examines the relationship between the arts and sciences during what is often referred to as ‘The Anthropocene,” meaning the current epoch in which human impact on Earthly geography is undeniable and irreversible. We will investigate our roles and responsibilities as artists making work in response to our current political-social-ecological climate. With a focus on making-as-research, this course integrates choreographic inquiry with studies in ecology, infrastructure, postcolonial theory, and queer and feminist approaches to art-making. In what ways can we design choreographic/art-making processes and practices that reflect and challenge broader quotidian movement systems, such as urban ecosystems, activism models, systemic inequalities, and interspecies relationships? By developing creative projects through local site visits and field work relevant to student research interests, we will unearth the ways in which art does not only reflect the material world around us, but can also create and/or change it. Students do not need to have specific dance, art, or scientific training to take this course.
Fall 2019 Course Trailer:
PHYSICAL PRACTICE / STUDIO COURSES
I explore 'technique' by prioritizing a dynamic range of kinesthetic texture and experience, ultimately to arrive in a fully integrated body that can shift and redirect qualitative nuance with specificity and a cellular understanding of movement. Currently, I am developing a warm-up I use for both technique class and rehearsals that is modeled after the embryotic stages of tadpoles. This practice heightens sensitivities to peripheral vision, breath, touch, and sound that serve as infrastructure for the faster, spatial, full-bodied physicality that follows. My movement challenges students to explore textures and vocabularies that push into a wildness I also consider deeply technical. With time I see them negotiate rapid directional changes and quick dives in and out of the floor while maintaining a rich full-bodied sense of alertness and aliveness.
Through improvisational scores, set sequences, partnering, imagery-based somatic practices and floorwork, we investigate the relationships between weight, momentum, speed, control, listening, risk, presence, and touch. I return consistently to the relationship of the pelvis to the feet to the floor, head-tail connection and articulation of the spine, utilizing the whole foot on the floor with an ease at the front of the ankles, and accessing weight and momentum to take risk and find our “edges.” Specificity and resiliency are on-going self-evaluations I encourage in class, both for students and for myself. I value giving attention to the rotation and plié of the arms as much as the legs, and therefore developing quadruped techniques to research the relationship between bones and gravity. I will often employ imagery of brontosaurus spines to encourage flexibility, nuance, and range between the head and sacrum, and to energetically extend ourselves into space without over-straightening the spine. I give the image of a thousand tiny light bulbs underneath of the skin to move attention and presence throughout the whole body. I encourage students to approach class as performance practice to prepare the neuromuscular system for the physiological sensations of liveness, which I feel is useful for both dance performance and also as citizens in precarious times.
I owe my early movement education to my adventures in the forest and training to become a professional athlete. I came to understand spatial orientation, momentum, endurance, speed, impact, rhythm, kinesthetic communication, improvisational strategy, attack, coordination, and quick choice-making through almost two decades of daily soccer training. Partnering, risk, wildness, and embodied experiences of material entanglements were discovered through the many hours each day I spent running through the woods, climbing trees, and engaging in more-than-human choreographies with the web of critters around me. My initial dance training was centralized in Limon, Cunningham, and Dunham techniques, which has shifted over the years into more integrated contemporary and somatic influences, including Skinner Releasing Technique, Alexander Technique, and contact improvisation.
I always appreciated when my own teachers gave me space to discover things for myself, dropping ideas and questions along the way to push my thinking, inspiring me to keep at it without over-clouding me with their own interpretations. I recognize that not all students learn in the same way, and work to be actively attentive to multiple pedagogical approaches. I feel this flexibility allows for a rich classroom environment that reveals difference as vital and necessary.