I need to create, to have that scared feeling when I start each new project. I explore what is sacred and profound (life, love, loss, transformation, death, time, yearning) through the juxtaposition of form, memory, and objects or living things. There is a complex relationship between the dancemaker, an emotionally invested idea, objects, living things, and growing distances between each of these. Objects and living things exist in time while each one also asks us ethical questions. What right do we have to ignore them? In what ways are we interconnected? What do we owe to a particular object or living thing? To another’s memory of it? How do we respond to the way that time wears upon it? While creating dance movement I am seeking to become the object or living thing and in so doing to explore my culpability and sense our interconnectedness. The topic presents itself further, and the movement is created from this relationship.
By exploring and relating meaning to the context of a particular moment that an object may reference, the idea or object is not made anew: it is rediscovered in each dancer’s body. Once again, there is a rediscovery in each generation of the work, and again in relationship with the audience. This causes me to revisit the object and idea in new contexts, and to further consider my commitment to the ethical questions upon each new iteration of the work. Dancemaking then becomes a means to salvage micro-political interpersonal spaces, or to strengthen alliances. The question then evolves, where do we go beyond the action of art-making?
There is a role of language in this process. As a dancemaker the language sometimes comes first, or when I carry ideas forward movement may speak to me before language. There is an alchemy between the larger question I am pursuing, the openings I receive through movement, the memory in the object or living thing, touch, and the sensation of movement as it is being created. This is the poetic challenge of working in movement.
My practice celebrates the vulnerability of our bodies and the precariousness of its meaning. As a dancemaker my body, the bodies of dancers, and each body we interact with is asking moral questions. What ethical dilemmas exist when excavating hidden stories with our bodies? How do I attend to anxieties and narratives of violence in our everyday spaces? How do I occupy within my body a resistance to injustice and violence that occurs daily to many bodies under the many faces of power that create narrow and tightly constricted understandings about what bodies are normal?
Current Dance Project
“For Those Who Cannot…”
by Seónagh Kummer and Carolyn Dunn
Dancer-Collaborator: Rosa Rodriquez-Frazier
This dance-theatre project is the important collaboration and vision of two artistic directors who came together through our stories about grieving inevitable, slow deaths of our mothers to dementia and Altzheimer’s. We explore the profound and unique slow-death transformations and losses, and we pursue moral questions. There is a complex relationship between our emotional investments, our mothers’ slow changes, memories and grief within our families, community memories, objects that hold memory, and the distances between each of these points.
We attend to the importance of touch, dance, objects and photographs in relation to memory and survival. We utilize this as a means of considering and interrogating the central concepts of remembering and forgetting. These objects in the life of our mothers seem to raise ethical questions for us that exist in our relationships. What do we owe to a particular object? To another’s memory of it? How do we respond to the way time wears upon an object?
We emphasize movement and poetry in motion, presenting dialogue through the lens of the life-death-life cycle of a Wild Woman archetype La Llorona (Latin America), Deer Woman (Native America- Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw), Yellow Woman (Native America- Laguna Pueblo), Mis (Ireland), Dzunukwa (Coast Salish) who goes through cycles related to femininity and aging, and who holds space for necessary deaths and births that are part of life’s journey.