what does it mean to be a woman? what does it mean to be a woman in America? how do we create an alternative geography that follows the existing map but develops from a logic other than the dominant logic of the nation state?
In the american / woman project, I am traveling around the country to collaborate with a woman dance artist in each state. My mission: to create a solo for each artist based on her interests and personal history.
In 2020, my plan was to work with seven artists based in the South. As you might imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant effect on this plan. Plane tickets were cancelled and several planned collaborations were put on hold until safe to resume in-person. During this year, I worked exclusively with fellow native Ohioan Kendra Portier, who now resides in Baltimore. Our process progressed via weekly Zoom sessions throughout the fall. In this collaboration, process, always prioritized over product in this project, became central to our work. As dance educators developing pedagogical practices in sensory-based improvisation, Kendra and I explored, developed, and practiced a framework of scores built to transform the space within us, between us, and beyond. This improvisational work, which I am currently calling Practical Magic (Improvisation for self and community care), prioritizes authenticity, invokes imagination, and affirms intuition. Our process is documented via a short film, ARTifact from a time when all theaters were closed.
KENDRA PORTIER (MARYLAND)
K: I have questions about what femininity means to me, right now. What feeling sexy being in my body feels like, what feeling attractive means. I think I’ve always had those questions. I think a lot of people in dance are often people that have those questions as well. Right now I feel really appreciative of my body and this age. My skin is getting weird. It’s changing. Things are dripping… lower. Things are doing their own thing that they’ve never done, and I don’t feel sad about it at all. I just feel like a glacier, or a tree, or something…. something that’s been here for a long time kind of gently unfolding itself.