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Coded Queer Project In Process

The Coded Queer Project is a research endeavor I developed as part of a course I’m taking through the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design called Interdisciplinary Research Studio, with Professor Norah Zuniga Shaw. This course has provided me the space and opportunity to delve deeper into my research questions and ideas relating to my MFA thesis project, and it offered a sounding board in the form of my classmates and a co-working group with fellow 1st year MFA…

Head, Shoulders, Stomach and Arms: Eskesta with Dege Feder

With the sun peeking in through the drawn curtains in her home dance space in Israel, Dege Feder welcomed us to her master class with enthusiasm and gratitude. Just like the warmth of the sun, Feder exuded a caring grace and stirring passion. It has not gotten any easier or less awkward taking movement practice classes or masterclasses over Zoom in the year we have spent doing so during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this class leaned into the circumstances, embracing the…

Gaga Class: A Familiar and New Experience

Last week I had the opportunity to take a Gaga class with James Graham via Zoom. This was not my first Gaga class, but it was my first Zoom Gaga class and my first Gaga for People class. I have taken Gaga before for company class with Thodos Dance Chicago as well as an open class at Visceral Dance Studio, but taking Graham’s class was a much different experience. Sure, it was over Zoom and I was alone in my apartment, which made it difficult to feel the communal experience I am…

The WHATness of a Project

In my Interdisciplinary Research Studio this week we were asked to begin formulating the “WHATness” of our projects. This is basically the general and specific ideas of a project based on the groundwork of setting yourself up for fruitful creative research. Of course, the groundwork process can continue as you move forward with the research and the making, but the question of “WHATness” is designed to begin the scaffolding on top of that groundwork. What are your ideas…

The Legacy of the Fear of Dance

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a virtual lecture by Dr. Naomi Jackson as part of my course, Jewish and Israeli Dance Histories. Dr. Jackson’s lecture was centered at the intersection of dance, human rights, and social justice. One of the main points that Dr. Jackson made was that “dance is a natural and normal human behavior,” but historically, it has been controlled and banned by religious and political leaders throughout many different cultures. She also posed the question: is dance…

Setting Intentions for Spring 2021

Here it is, the beginning of my second semester of my first year of grad school. Am I ready? Unsure. Will I ever feel ready? Probably not. There’s a lot of uncertainty in our world right now, but one thing is for sure: I have a whole new set of courses and a new batch of milestones to achieve. This semester I’m taking Jewish and Israeli Dance Histories, Foundations in Pedagogy, Interactive Media Processing, Interdisciplinary Research Studio, Ballet, and Contemporary. I’m also…

First Semester Reflections

It’s hard to believe that this time last year I had just submitted my applications for grad school and was planning my trips to visit campuses for auditions and interviews. A lot has changed in the past year, to say the least, but one thing remains constant, my curiosity for the new and my openness to learning. While the realities of Covid-19 have reshaped what my vision of grad school would be like, I am…

An International Affair

One of the many great things about my MFA cohort is the diversity among us. Each of us comes to this program from a different background with different lived experiences, different strengths and weaknesses, and different perspectives on life and dance. The stories of our journeys to grad school may be different, but we’ve all ended up here, together. We are a cohort that represents different…

What it Means to be a Cohort

This year is a difficult one to say the least. 2020 has brought us fear and anxiety in the forms of a global pandemic and political turmoil, it has inspired our activism through protests, and has challenged humanity by testing our patience, stamina, and resiliency. Personally, this year has brought many changes, some planned and others unexpectedly. I know that I would be starting grad school but I never thought it would be…

The Complexity of Hecate

Many things in life are a mystery. Why do socks seemingly disappear into thin air? What’s the meaning of life? Why do cats do… anything? One such mystery is the magic behind movies and film. This semester I took Dance Film 1 and became privy to some of those mystical secrets, but in many ways, it still remains a mystery. Sure, I’ve learned how to use editing software and what kinds of shots work well, but the magic…

The Gender Project Idea

One of the most front-of-mind questions in my current research is the intersection of dance and LGBTQIA+ and gender studies. Part of that research is exploring how gender and sexual identity influence our experiences within the context of dance: as a performer, creator, director, administrator, and consumer of dance. Why is movement assigned gender roles? Who gets to decide how its assigned? What does it mean…

How You and I Perceive Me

The idea of a durational dance piece seems both obvious and enigmatic. The concept of duration relates to time, right? But how does one create a dance piece that embodies time while also conveying meaning and significance both inside and outside the parameters of time? This was the struggle I faced when tasked to create a durational piece for my Choreography Workshop course. My original concept…

Dissecting Digital Communication

Communication in the digital world has been an ever growing presence in our daily lives for years, but now, more than ever, it is a crucial life line for staying connected with our friends and family. However, it’s not always easy and there are so many different platforms to use that it’s easy to miscommunicate and get lost in the melee of technology. At times it can be frustrating and…

3 Minute Solo: Poetry, Movement, Horror

Part of my current research interests is the concept of horror. What does horror look like in dance performance? How do we choreograph horror? Where is horror sensed in the body? What can dance learn from film when performing horror? What does it mean to perform horror? How is horror connected to the LGBTQIA+ experience? Why am I interested in horror? One of our assignments in my…

Twirl by Twirl: The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

One of the great things about graduate school is the ability to collaborate with different people from many different backgrounds. For this project I decided to partner up with my fellow 1st year MFA student, Ishmael Konney, or more affectionally known as Ishy. This collaboration began when Ishy approached me with an idea of combining African dance and ballet. His impetus for the piece was…

Art Inspiring Art

This semester I am taking Dance Film I with Professor Mitchell Rose. So far, we have done several assignments focusing on camera shots and angles, musicality, and editing skills in DaVinci Resolve. Our latest project was our first attempt at a fully conceived dance short film inspired by a 2D artwork of our choice. For my first armature short film I used George Tooker’s Landscape with Figures as my inspiration. Pictured above…

1 Minute: What Is Home?

The challenge: create a work that is one minute or less. Sounds easy enough, right? That’s what I thought, but the further I got into the making process, the more I realized the complexity of one minute. I began by thinking about what I want this piece to represent, what it is I’m trying to convey or portray. When I began working on this, back in August at the beginning of the semester…

The Process of Painting Our Journey

In the spirit of collaboration and trying new things, I embarked on a project with my colleague, Katie O’Loughlin, to explore the process of creation through a different artform: painting. We both expressed an interest in painting with our bodies and gravitated to the idea of creating something that embodied our journeys to grad school during a global pandemic. The result were two large panels of swirling colors…

Setting Goals for Choreography

I have had quite a bit of experience choreographing, both for students and professionals, but I have always felt pressure during the process. The pressure to make it amazing or something that wow’s the audience. The pressure that comes with time restraints, deadlines, and dancers not making it to rehearsal and throwing me off my flow. I’m not saying pressure is a bad thing, in fact, I work well under pressure…


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