Tag Archives: embodiment
It was interesting to work inside someone else’s physicality but make movement that reflected both my sensibilities and Daniel’s sensibilities. As we crafted this section, I really tried to become more and more like Daniel every time we did it, without sacrificing my physical range, or my instincts as a dancer with a lot of training in a particular style. As perhaps an answer to my questions about empathy in my last post, it may be that learning how to be Daniel without losing my self to “Daniel-ness” is a way to honor both of our contributions to the process.
Choreographically, there is great benefit to this sort of empathy building. In attempting to “be” another dancer, I begin to recognize their preferences. The more I attempt to “be” another, the more I can internalize these preferences and predict how another person will move. It’s easy to recognize this empathic exchange in dancers who have spent a long time dancing together: their deep, physical knowing of the other allows them to read each other in the unpredictable space of live performance, and make split-second choices together.
Part of what prompted my project was Anna Deveare Smith’s performance Crossing the Lines at the Hemispheric Institute’s annual seminar in 2002. Smith is known for her embodiment of others’ experiences through her one-woman shows, in which she often plays multiple characters, each navigating the American experience differently.