As both the semester and year come to an end, the one big event that still lies ahead is Spring Concert…and I have to say I have never been more excited to perform in my entire life. I have been working with these two amazing and inspiring women since the beginning of fall semester, hard at work to create art that pushes the buttons of viewers and the boundaries of “performance.”
The first is titled “a million filaments” and is choreographed by 2nd year MFA Alexandra Stilianos. In her own words, this work “asks what happens to bodies when we build walls not bridges, give in to madness, and explore what feminine power can look like. It troubles the boundaries we perform as actor and audience.” Just running through this piece even in the studio empowers me and fills me to the brim with the realization of female strength. The exposition of and emphasis on the oscillation between objectivity and subjectivity for all parties involved is repeatedly made new throughout the duration of the work. The cast contains women from all three of the first undergraduate classes, and each of them bring something unique to the atmosphere. Alexandra has managed to give us all an incredible sense of agency, while having genuinely played the role of choreographer in a more traditional sense, and I am beyond honored to be a dancer in her work.
The second is titled “Booze and Ketree” and was choreographed and structured by 2nd year MFA April Biggs in collaboration with the dancers. A combination of improvisation and set material, some of the concepts this work has brought to my personal attention are translation vs. transcription, inclusion vs. exclusion, and the [both positive and negative] consequences of caring. Coming into this process as neither a natural nor seasoned improviser, rehearsal was at first a terrifying, stressful, 3-hour long bout of vulnerability and adrenaline. But at the end of each one, when the realization set in that I had a) not perished due to embarrassment and b) had not been kicked out the work, my confidence grew and I was able to push myself further out of my growing comfort zone with each session. I have never performed a piece with this degree of improvisation, and I am grateful to both April and the rest of the cast for supporting me through my artistic insecurities over the course of the process thus far, all the way to the point where I am more excited than nervous at the prospect of a performed work operating in this way.
It goes without saying that sophomore year has been a whirlwind of personal growth, both in and out of the studio, and I am absolutely changed as a mover, thinker, improviser, and dancer because of these two incredible female artists and their processes.
For more info, visit OSU Dance’s website. Tickets can be purchased through the OSU Theatre Box Office: 614-292-2295