Tag Archives: Quilan Arnold
Here’s the thing: dance is hard. With any body. Among many bodies. Trained, untrained. Similar, really different. The physical act of moving with someone, of coordinating actions and kinesthetic responses and timing and detail and intention between two fundamentally discontinuous human beings is difficult.
I think I had Lacan’s idea of the Mirror Stage in the back of my mind as Quilan and I worked together, and I decided to point to it pretty directly in how Quilan and I engaged each other as mirrors, as well as the actual studio mirror. We decided to structure our duet as a series of mirrors: mirroring the audience, mirroring each other in the mirror, mirroring ourselves, mirroring the movement of each other, and then “breaking” the exact reflection of the other through partnering material, in which the distinction in our shapes and efforts allowed us to take each other’s weight.
I will post more thoughts comparing translation in language and dance in a later post, but I want to talk briefly about the notion of “hypertranslation” in relation to attempting to learn “the language” of another dancer. A classmate of mine mentioned “hypertranslation” as a way I might be able to draw out more of how Quilan and I differ as movers. (You can see an earlier post about this subject here.) I found that French philosopher Alain Badiou did a hypertranslation of Plato’s Republic in 2013, designed not to be faithful to the original, but to open it up. In the introduction to Badiou’s version, Kenneth Reinhard writes,
What came to mind as I re-watched my improvisation with Quilan and listened to our conversation is interpellation, Louis Althusser’s explanation of how individuals become subjects through recognition by another. In Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses, Althusser writes that …ideology ‘acts’ or ‘functions’ in such a way that it ‘recruits’ subjects among the individuals (it recruits them all), or […]
When Quilan and I met for our first rehearsal, I wasn’t sure exactly how much information to give him about my project. I told him we’d be making a duet, and that I was interested in how our training impacts the way we make movement and improvise.
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.
In Dr. Bench’s course, Bodies on the Line, we are designing final projects that line up with our professional goals. My goals post-graduation: make, teach, and perform dance work. So, for my final project, I’m analyzing one already-created duet, and developing two new duets that illuminate some of the fundamental materials of dance training and dance-making: repetition, translation, interchangeability, and the body as an archive of experiences and training histories.