Elsewhere: Moriah Evans, Ryan Heffington, Nadine Siegert
In the spirit of Biba Bell's essay on promiscuity (CC; Sept 2015), we've sourced three texts from other publications and reposted them here. What these two interviews and one essay have in common is the choreographer's consciousness of and reliance on the social context to act as an informant for aesthetics. From the U.S. to Congo, the various pressures of self-awareness, as a dancer and dancing subject, play out through diverse networks of race, power, queerness, play and insurgence.
Lawrence Kumpf interviews NYC-based choreographer Moriah Evans about her recent premiere of Social Dance 1-8: Index at Issue Project Room. Evans reflects on the deeply intertwined nature of form, rhythm, architecture and choreographic structure in her practice—and she acknowledges the possibility for the unexpected to emerge, a way for dance to break through the choreographic system. The social agreement of dance, the affective exchange with others, plays out against the ever present forces of organization that structure social life.
"Actions of steps meet the theories of what choreography and dance are. They’re within the social structures that we commit ourselves to and that we obey, whether we are aware of doing so or not. Nonetheless, we do find moments of bliss, freedom, and insurgence. We find all sorts of folds and textures inside the social field that we exist within."—Moriah Evans
L.A.-based educator and choreographer Ryan Heffington talks with Berlin ArtLink about adult education, aesthetics and interacting with inanimate objects. Swinging between music video work and Sunday slow jam classes with students at his dance school, The Sweat Spot, his local-minded projects are blowing up. He gives good love to his dance community.
"At my studio, The Sweat Spot, I have the opportunity to communicate, teach and exchange with my students (mostly adults) in an environment that is safe and inspiring. To be in a room full of adults – mostly unprofessional, amongst all body types and abilities, having people clap for YOU, and smile at YOU – is exciting. It is here that a common space can be shared in honor of the self and we can collectively work on being healthier humans."—Ryan Heffington
PhD Student at the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies, Nadine Siegert, contributes this essay on the problematic European perceptions of African corporeality in contemporary dance. She gives an analysis of Euro-centric interpretations of African dance works, lays out the problematic critical and financial exchanges that course through these international encounters. While she navigates this territory of the European gaze within African corporeal aesthetics, she cites some examples of artists who are enacting kinetic modes of resistance to represent a monolithic African imaginary.
"Contemporary African dance as a field of friction represents a concrete example, which serves for explorations of art in general and corporeality as medium in particular. Directly or indirectly dancers and choreographers are demanded to take a stand concerning their own identity as Africans and their relation to (imagined) traditions, either on international stages or in African dance workshops."—Nadine Siegert