Artist Statement

I am a scientist. I rely on research to guide my understanding of the world. I find myself asking questions all the time about everything and movement is the way I choose to process those answers. Why? That’s a good question. Maybe it’s because my sister liked to dance and our parents didn’t want to add more stops to the carpool. Maybe it’s because I’m hooked on the way dance makes me feel more connected and alive. Or, maybe it’s because of that first Pina Bausch piece I saw at the impressionable age of 18 that completely leveled my understanding of what choreography could be. The plausible theories are endless…

I am fascinated by the moment of transmission between an internal impulse and the outside world. I use structured movement and improvisation to seek out ways to observe and shape how those transferred impulses permeate and affect our surroundings. By blurring the line between when dance stops and when dance starts, choreography becomes a means of living and a mode of sub-verbal communication that stretches the constructs of art and our collective existence.

Somatic practices, including the Bartenieff Fundamentals serve as our incubator for developing the ability to tap into our inner-selves and as a way to strengthen the ties between our subconscious bodies and conscious minds. Drawing from the influence of Release Technique, which accounts for the practicalities of human movement as a method to develop depth of artistic possibility, I recognize that each mover is unique and operates within individual physical, affective, and cognitive parameters. We use somatics and meditative dance to hone our self-referential abilities to assess a movement by how it feels not by how it looks. This drives the creation of honest and evocative movement and is paramount in my approach to choreography.

The studio serves as our lab, to test the properties of movement against and with cross-disciplinary inputs. Observing and analyzing movement from remote vantage points can lead to new perspectives and forms in choreography. Internalizing these diverse inputs and transmitting them back into the world is the crux of my work.

In dance, unlike science, all truths are relative to human verdict. While the scientific process and artistic process may dovetail and merge, this is the fundamental separation. Both scientists and artists make observations. We think of compelling questions and identify patterns. We formulate hypotheses. We gather data to test our predictions. Taking that data into account, we either refine, alter, expand, or reject our hypotheses or move on to develop general theories.  However, as I use this process to hone my choreographic craft, I, not the laws of physics govern my ruling of what serves as a truth and what does not. 

Each trial is different and not all are successful. By treating the creative process as an experiment, failure becomes not only a tool to get closer to truth, but sometimes even proves to be the truth itself.

 Aeroplane (2003) performed by Ana Mendez at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana, IL. PHOTO CREDIT: MATTHEW CLIFFORD

Aeroplane (2003) performed by Ana Mendez at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana, IL. PHOTO CREDIT: MATTHEW CLIFFORD