1. What is the relationship between movement and dance?
I believe that any movement whatsoever can be a seed for a dance. A seed functions as a ruler in relation to other movements. It has an authority in terms of which other movements are evaluated. Movements which accord with the seed movement belong to the emerging dance. Those which do not, I set aside. Because I am finite not all movements can be seeds for me. But whenever I find a movement I can’t stop doing, I find out exactly why. I lay the answer to the why question out for all to see and call it a dance. In the process I discover what I could never have imagined. SEV
2. Do the music and the movement for the dance connect to each other?
In my dances yes.If there is music at all.
Most often in my work the music and movement for the dance stand in something very much like a dialectical relationship.They converse as equals.Each challenges the other.And like protagonists in a debate, a single idea in one may evoke several different ideas in the other.Each party to the debate responds while holding course.Lines intertwine.
Put another way, the audio-visual connection in my work differs from that usually found in movie scores and music videos. In my work the movement for the dance does not visualize the music and the music for the dance can stand alone on its own merits.
3. How do I make this connection?
Four processes interweave uniquely and unpredictably for each dance.They can occur simultaneously, intermittently, and sequentially.But however they occur, in my work they are all necessary.
a. The first consists in practical explorations of connections between individual movements and movement phrases.This involves researching rhythmic and spatial textures, the width length, density, weight, and volume of movements and movement sequences.This primary work takes place in the studio and always in silence.It lays roots for the compositional architecture of the movement dimension of the dance.
b. Another process consists in notation and analysis.This is a reflective process and usually stimulates ideas about alternative relationships between movement elements that are subsequently tested in the studio.
c. When dynamic and symmetrical feedback develops between these two processes, search for music can begin.This is yet another process.First of all I look for composers, live or dead.I search for those who stimulate me both to do the movement and do it differently, and also to think about the movement and to think about it differently.Whenever a composer triggers my imagination about my work, I immerse myself in his/her work. Inevitably I develop more movement material.
d.In the end I select the piece of music which fascinates me, rather bewitches me; one that casts a spell.I dismiss and return to it repeatedly until I realize that some time ago my search for music ended and recognize that dialogue with a particular composition is in progress.I find myself in the studio standing beside the music machine listening, mapping, counting, logging, and very occasionally testing a connection between block of movement and block of music.
All of this means in the first place, that substantial work with the movement material usually predates but always determines which composer and which piece of music if any I choose.Second the movement dimension of the dance has a compositional architecture with roots of its own, roots that lie outside of the music.It does not re-present or replicate the structure of the music.
4. Is there a difference between a dance seen live and the same dance seen on DVD?
Yes of course.Because of how the camera can change space and time.
1. The camera can entirely exclude the space in which the dancer moves.It can exclude dancers.It can exclude parts of dancers and parts of their movement material.
2. It can show a dancer running without showing the beginning and/or end point of the run.Thus it can show the running while excluding its pathway.
3. It can affect energy.By means of framing it can show the runner as pushing forward against the leading edge of the frame or else as being pushed from behind by the trailing edge of the frame.It can change the size of the space itself, moment by moment. It can close in on a motionless figure.
4. It can blur.
5. It weakens the distinction between foreground and background, between upstage and downstage.
6. One key function of my choreography is to define places in space in terms of relative position and size, and also history.Where is this place relative to other places in the dance?How big is it?How often is it visited?As the dance progresses a map gradually unfolds.This map provides for the viewer a rich spatial context for whatever is immediately in view.Gradually the center of the dance emerges which may not be the center of the stage space.The camera can track this change or not.At any given moment it can show or not the relationship between centers.The focal point of a given moment may be upstage right while the focal point of the dance may turn out to be downstage left.The camera can show this or not.Different camerapersons can and must choose how to weight spatial data.Their choices change viewer options and can weaken or strengthen the choreographic intent.
I have used two videographers since forming Vencl Dance Trio, Valerie Green founder of Dance Entropy, and Mark Robison, founder of Character Generators.Both are experienced dancers with an athletic style of framing which suits my choreography.Both know when to close in on and when to move back from a motionless dancer.Then when two dancers rapidly approach, then pass, then separate from each other both know how to select among the options, either to follow one of the dancers and select the right one, or else to open the camera frame which often allows interplay between the stage frame and the camera frame.To see Valerie’s work go to the concluding trio of Alone, especially to the end of this section.
1. The camera faithfully records the length of the dance.So a 20-minute dance in concert is a 20-minute dance on DVD.Often it seems longer.
2. The camera records all movements exactly.
3. It can catch movement that the naked eye misses.
4. It makes changes in dynamic seem less extreme.So a quick movement seems slower, a sharp one, softer.
5. It can capture tiny movements of the face or other body parts by means of close-ups and so strengthen the role of emotional or psychological time.
6. The rhythm of the camerawork can in itself add a whole layer of time to the dance.
5. Why form a dance company?
…when established dance companies all around continue to collapse.Today’s dance environment encourages emerging choreographers to make dances and produce them without forming a company.Choreographers can pick up dancers as needed both to create dances piece by piece and then to record completed dances on video.They can travel alone to various places and set their dances on dancers they find there.
I believe it is better for dancers and choreographers to work together over time creating a number of dances together.This is because I think that dances themselves spring less from a fascination with movements and ideas and more from imaginative reflection on the experience of change.Stability in the relationship between dancers and choreographer heightens the experience of change in both.A context that enables both the choreographer and the dancers to experience at the bone, changes in themselves, provides fertile ground for emerging dances.