press record and GO

This weekend I’m showing “press record and GO,” a solo danced by Eric Nordstrom on a 4×4 stage.

The premise of the dance blossomed from the question: other than movement what else can I choreograph?
As a starting point, I decided to work with text.  I recorded Eric answering a variety of mundane and complex questions including:

What is your name and hometown?
What is your favorite word?
What caused the civil war?
How can you re-purpose a pencil in 5 different ways?
How do you feel about dating?
Do you have a vivid childhood memory?

From the answers, I choreographed the text into a narrative with consideration to flow, time, and context.  I rearranged phrases and sentences not to create a linear sensibility of his accounts, but based on internal logic/narrative about Eric as a dancer and friend.  The movement score is simply cued up with various phrases, words, and sounds.  In the rehearsal process, I noticed the emergence of content; the solo was now becoming about how I (the choreographer/other) perceived Eric (dancer/self) and how in performance, he was able to exercise choice (in the moment) to more fully create the image/picture/narrative through his own personal movement vocabulary.

As a last minute addition to Eric’s improvisation score, I decided to insert myself in the dance, as a support structure in which he could maneuver on/off the stage.  At first I was tentative about my presence in the dance, but on a chance reading Leslie Satin’s “Being Dance Again,” an analysis of Meredith Monk’s autobiographical solo, Education of the Girlchild (no comparisons of the two pieces are being made here!), I felt reassured in my attempt/intent to communicate transparency of the process in performance.  Satin states,

“I do not mean to imply that the mere presence of other people in a work read as autobiography makes that work subversive.  What I am saying is that the expression of the self as an entwined entity is not only a break from tradition but a political gesture: it situates identity and it representation as active and interactive, as something which emerges from relationships.”

I like that it is a solo, but in our eyes a duet too.  I like that it is a re-representation of Eric.  I like that the dance is an attempt to better know something about Eric and about me too.  My hope is to make more of these “press record and GO” solos, similarly starting from documentation efforts and working backwards.

Video: Lindsay LaPointe