Sunday, July 20, 2008

Summer Stages and Conversations Concerning Epistemological Kinesthetic Privilege

Submitted by Chris McMillan, Summer Stages '08

…Wrenching my turn out…pinched my back…hiked my hip…crunched my toes… Torqued my knee… strained my arms… and still I am working against myself… trading my true image for who I wish I was.

What do you do when you don't have the Ailey extension? What happens if you can't point your toe like a prima from ABT… You work with what you have. I am actively trying to abandon my preconceived notions of what I should dance like. I am killing the word "should" when it relates to my dancing like Jason killed the girl who was running up a hill and tripped, in the movie Friday the 13th. I am giving myself over to the ideology of "Epistemological kinesthetic privilege". For me it simply means that my body on a molecular level has all the necessary information to execute any task, if I work with in the system of my own body and not against it. So many times this week I have heard instructors here at summer stages say, "Work with what you have, not what you wish you had".

I am also interested in the movement vocabulary that exists in the very cells of my body. I have some understanding of what my body can do. I mean we learn how Martha would lift her leg, we know how Horton would lift his leg, but I guess the important question is how would you lift yours? How would I lift mine? I am in no way speaking ill of our dance ancestors (where would we be with out them), but if we don't keep moving, if we don't use the vastness of our own kinesthetic knowledge, we won't do our bodies, our gifts, or our crafts justice. I imagine that this justice means becoming more ourselves in spite of an industry that is based on achieving ideals. There is something special in imperfection and I am interested in dancing on and in the margins.

As I spend more time honing in on a more classical modern dance structure, I wonder if it is possible to create your own movement style while simultaneously having an alien movement style in your body. Is our own epistemological vocabulary the new personal revolution? What does it take to get sweaty and dirty and then in our own exhaustion meet the new us?

So, I leave this Blog with one question


What Would Martha Do?

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