Thursday, June 24, 2010

Finding a place called home

I am in the process of thinking about developing a new choreography. One that explores themes of displacement. Many people around the world are displaced from their homes by war, natural disasters, foreclosures, or by choice. What do we cling to when we are displaced? What gives us a sense of who we are and where we belong? How do we make “home” when we are immersed somewhere else? I want to explore ideas of belonging, determination, persistence, coping, longing.

I am inspired by my recent research on refugees in Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as my own relocation from San Francisco to Seattle. Their displacement is much more violent than my own. Yet there are some human similarities: yearning for familiar routines, familiar surroundings, familiar faces. In no way is my displacement by choice the same as their displacement by war. Yet can we find common emotions in our disparate circumstances? I am interested in the themes that link disparate people, using the language of movement to express our common humanity.

Do you have a story of displacement or relocation in your life? How do you answer the above questions for yourself?

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Welcoming

Since moving to Seattle, I have been out and about taking in as much dance performance as I can stand. In the last week I have seen about 16 Seattle modern dance choreographers. The breadth of style and diversity of expression is exciting and energizing! I am astounded by how much the modern dance community has grown since I moved away ten years ago. Last weekend I went to Northwest New Works at On The Boards and I have been going to Beyond the Threshold: Seattle International Dance Festival all week. My brain is buzzing when I get home each night processing all of the images and ideas I have just seen.

Last night in particular. Cyrus Khambatta (festival artistic director), Eva Stone, and Donald Byrd had a Q&A or Talk Back after the show. Each of them curated an evening of Seattle choreographers this week and they talked about their intentions in creating these evenings. What stays with me the most from that discussion is Byrd's articulation of the value he places on diversity of expression and the need as a dance community to foster and nurture those voices. The attitude I heard coming from him is the more dance the better! He exudes openness and acceptance and support for dance artists at all points along their professional journey. Both Byrd and Stone were incredibly approachable after the show.  Neither of them has ever seen my work nor seen me dance, but they welcomed me to town as if I were a long lost friend. And that kind of welcome makes me more excited then ever to start choreographing and presenting work here.

Thank you Cyrus, Eva, and Donald for your generous welcoming of me last night. Thank you to all of the Seattle choreographers presenting work over the last week for your evocative images and tenacious creativity.