The over-arching title of my current choreographic work is Secret Experiments in Ballet. My investigations play at the intersection of improvisation and the ballet vocabulary. I am interested in deeply investigating the meaning of the ballet tradition in contemporary dance world, including who, where and how the vocabulary is used.
The direction of my work evolved out of issues I have been exploring deeply in writing and choreography. After retiring from Zephyr Dance, the modern dance company with which I had worked for 18 years, I found myself asking fundamental questions about what the art form of dance means to me, and how it is presented to audiences.
For myself, I had come to love the close proximity to the performers and deep investigation of the body that are hallmarks of experimental modern dance. But I have always been deeply attached to my classical training. I began my career as a ballet dancer, and I specialize in ballet in my teaching career. Now, as a viewer, I sought the visceral connection that I feel in the studio, watching dancers in classes or rehearsals. To me, the power of dance as an art is this: a real human body, moving in three-dimensional space. Fundamentally, it speaks to our humanness, whether through breath, sweat or physical prowess. By deliberately engaging with ballet vocabulary, I want to explore questions of what this familiar “code” means, to audience members and to dancers, in new performance contexts and experimental choreographic structures.
I began to think about how to present ballet-based choreography in new situations, that change the relationship between dancers and audience. I am excited by the challenge of creating dance experiences that are three-dimensional, that surround the audience with dance and the dancers with audience. I seek to give the viewer a visceral response, to perhaps feel what it’s like to dance. Everyday, dancers go into the studio and confront themselves in class and rehearsal. We struggle to become more “embodied” each day, in a society that seems increasingly less “embodied.” I believe that watching dance has the power to return us to our bodies in a joyful, wondrous way.