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As the Fall Student/Faculty Dance Concert (we have chosen to showcase faculty work as well) makes headway on our Kickstarter account, I have begun to mobilize my own choreographic idea. Many of my previous choreographic works have been a way for me to integrate my experience around a specific event or concept prevalent in my life. The piece I am beginning to work on is no different.
This past summer I fulfilled my DMT & C practicum (a shortened internship) requirement at Grace House. Grace House provides interim-housing for women coming out of prison who are coping with recovery from substance abuse, homelessness, and other trauma-related issues. At Grace House I did an array of things including case management, facilitating verbal therapy groups, and leading two dance/movement therapy sessions a week. I was placed at Grace House for three months, so needless to say, I established a close relationship with many of the women, some of whom are pictured above/below.
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The women’s enthusiasm for movement as seen in my groups is what inspired me to create a dance piece about them. Although I intend the piece to be a solo, I want to include the women of Grace House–I want them to be present with me somehow during my choreographic process. In order to do this, I recorded a few of the women reading things they had written for a writing workshop held at the house. I have chosen to use the women’s voices as the “soundtrack” for the piece.
This is where I elicited the help from my good friend Mike, who I have known since my undergraduate days. Mike and I are very close personally, and we often times collaborate on art projects. I sent Mike the recordings of the women and simply told him to create a song. Below is a sample of what he came up with. Listen closely, you can hear the women of Grace House.
This is just the beginning of my process, all of the parts that I am hoping to integrate. I have not started choreographing movement, but I will begin working on that soon. I am not sure what my dance is trying to say just yet…. maybe the movement that comes forth will tell me that?