For the past two years, I have taken various Composition courses here at OSU. I have created short studies, though I have critiqued such works to all end and have left myself feeling lost as a creator. Regardless of reasoning for my feelings, I felt as though my studies were to be “precious” – that interesting word that I still do not have a clear definition for. My perfectionist mindset got the best of me and I started to question my choices in ways that somewhat prevented growth. I enrolled in Special Topics class in the hopes of combatting this mindset and becoming more comfortable in my choreographer skin – in addition to the fact that I missed learning from and being inspired by Eddie Taketa on a weekly basis.
As my third semester comes to a close, I have found myself thinking about what the rest of
my time as a Buckeye will consist of. I have started to think about my focus curriculum, how I will approach it, and how I will apply it. Planning to declare my focus in Performance and Composition, I have found this class to be especially helpful in growing my perspectives and tendencies, pushing me to make new choices when c
horeographing both to silence and to music. This semester, I have developed new
techniques for generating movement, both through practice in class and through viewing performances such as Black Mountain, Dido and Aeneas, and Dance Downtown. I firmly believe that as I begin to work towards my senior project – choreographing a piece – these new techniques and ideas play a large role in both my process and success.
This year has been full of love and growth, and completing my finals could not be any more bittersweet. I have had the opportunity to learn so much about myself, and about those whom I will be spending the next three years with in my BFA Family. I have developed new perspectives and honed into my deepest interests in order to further investigate the path that I hope to take in years to come. It flew by much too fast, but I have no complaints – it was truly a year to remember.
In Composition I, we were assigned a final project which focused on this growth. As movers and artists, we all have a comfort zone, a bubble in which we feel we can move naturally and organically. As an attempt to continue this growth throughout the last few weeks of the semester, we were assigned to look into these tendencies and oppose them in our movement. Essentially, we were being assigned to go out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves to develop a new movement vocabulary.
This semester, I had the honor of being cast in Eddie Taketa’s original work “Onionskins, Opaques, Ox Bloods, and Pearls” for the Department’s Spring Concert (April 7 – 9, 2016). With a cast of twelve dancers including myself, rehearsals began at the start of the semester. A mixture of grades and training backgrounds, we entered into the studio with essentially nothing. We were starting from scratch with the intention of creating something as a group.
As a Freshman in The Ohio State University Department of Dance, I have gained so much from just these past two semesters. With fresh eyes and an open mind, I have learned from both faculty and my peers and have developed the tools to further myself as a technician, as an artist, and as a person. It has been a whirlwind, but one that I will always remember and would never trade for anything.
As a result of Spring Fever, we have begun working with the idea of landscapes in Composition I. Prior to Spring Break, we were broken up into to groups and assigned to develop our own landscape and to use such landscape in order to create a compositional score. Our landscape (to the Left), drawn by Hazel Black, was that of a country road: black road, power lines, grass, hills, blue sky – exactly what you would see when looking out your window on a long road trip.
In our study, we attempted to use the ideas of motion and time, showing the juxtaposition between a still photo and the moving image that it captures.
In February, our Composition I class with Daniel Roberts studied what it meant to derive inspiration and movement from still portraits and photographs. Of the many studies that we experimented with and performed, this particular duet which I performed with Alize Raptou sticks out to me as a moment which I began to find some new movement vocabulary.
A hallway is a pedestrian space. The space is intended to perpetuate movement, incorporating organic aspects, and our artistic interpretations of those pedestrian habits.
Initially, the hallway’s structure inspired our phrasing. From the audience, the alcove corners catch one’s eye. The architectural design and pathway led us to create a phrase based on precision. We disappear and reappear using these alcoves; highlighting this architectural feature and adding dynamic to our movement. The movement is a series of arm gestures and usage of the wall as a partner. In the way that the walls hold the structured site together, the walls are the basis of our choreography and hold us up as we move – and further continue to support us as we improvise.
The improvisation exaggerates the original inspiration of the pedestrian movement, paralleling the unpredictable pathways and habitual movements of those who walk by. While keeping the original phrase as a guideline, we repeat, slow down, and add different dynamics and textures. In the way that our improvised choices reflect the organic-ness of the space, the pedestrians’ ability to choose their pathways around us reflects the organic nature that we originally focused on.
I was recently blessed with the opportunity to perform in a piece choreographed by Fenella Kennedy of the Graduate Department of Dance here at Ohio State. Set in the rotunda of Sullivant Hall, the piece was entitled “The Aviary.” A combination of improvised tasks and planned transitions, the piece worked to develop a connection between birds and ballerinas. At first, this seemed absolutely wild to me. I did not understand how anyone could develop such a concept, nor was I aware of how I would be able to portray something so complex using my movements. However, after about two months of rehearsal, my eyes were open to a new artistry and brainwork that allowed for me to do so.