Postcards from a dance
By Gregory Holt, February 12, 2013
In classes with David Brick of Headlong Dance Theater, he calls attention to three perspectives a dancer can be aware of:
- the perspective of what you are seeing, now, from where you are
- the perspective of what an audience member would see (seated where ever you choose to put them with your mind)
- the overarching, bird's-eye-view perspective- tracking the whole situation from a position outside of it
Susan's dances are specific, intricate, affective. Each gesture is as important when seen as an individual movement as it is when seen as a piece of an unfolding pattern. When Susan talks about zooming in and zooming out, she is talking about a cycle of creation which tracks the material on multiple levels of perception. Walking into her rehearsals at the loft apartment living/studio space of thefidget, I find myself in the middle of a recursive geography- there's a dance in a living room in a dance studio in a living room. This kind of fractal iteration lets the parts and the whole act on each other in a simple equation that leads to infinite complexity. In another recursion, this material is what will become 208 East Broadway Part 5. Part 5! Originally the address of Susan's home and the natural habitat of this living room, 208 East Broadway doesn't exist anymore as such- the referent of this space has been entirely translocated into the reference. If the act of seeing is always an act of seeing-again, the recursions in this process are not chasing recognition and familiarity. This feels more like turning things inside out, groping, sitting with what you thought you knew while exploring some secret side underside. Or maybe the other way around- letting yourself be touched and in so doing discover feeling there, foreign yet familiar.
Entering the process, my point of view becomes enmeshed in the perspectives present. I can't be an outsider. So I bought a disposable camera and asked the dancers to disrupt their insider positions by taking pictures of what they can see at different moments. Other times, I came close to snap a shot of their bodies from the direction their eyes were looking. Looking at these images, the camera is almost palpable. These pictures aren't showing a reality untouched by the viewing of it. Older technologies can be visible to us as ever-newer technologies attempt to achieve invisibility. What is interesting to me is not a pure translation of the dancer's perspective to a viewer, but what happens when the two combine. Overlaying fragments of notes I took, I imagined these postcards coming from the dance.
Wishing you were here! xox