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A piece is not created in the year it is assigned.
Despite so intensively baring our innards, sharing, prodding, provoking, mining the depths of our inner hearts and outer skin, connecting -- it is all in the details. Those details encompass such a range: from human connection of heart to communication, to time, space, bodies together moving, to our definition of our shared humanity … And then, how to marry elements of sound, visuals, cloth coverings, and all the elements – earth, fire, air, water -- into our being to give us the power to resist and to be open and to share our stories?
A piece is not created in a year: a piece is created over a lifetime.
So we have taken time. In fact, we could take much more time. But you, dear members of the audience, are coming to join us soon, so we will be ready for you. This creation process was different; we were compelled by a desire to go deeper than before, to create a work that is more personal, true, and reflective of who we are as individuals and as a community….
Utopia comes to mind: we have built it together among the company members in the studio, a place of relative safety, a place of respect and mutual interdependence, of support and ultimately of love. Does that sound idealistic? So what, we say: that is what we proudly have and we revel in it. Because we believe in each other as professional artists, creators, people.
Mining, we go deep. Our hearts breaking, over and over, and then there is a washing away. We go through. Curious.
OK, so you want the facts – I could easily wax poetic about a year’s work, since contemporary dance is so akin to poetry and to abstract jazz, it resonates-- but instead the facts:
The creative process began last fall. We spent months exploring concepts of movement that were against the typical grain, finding and highlighting moments of uniqueness and difference, and also more importantly, sharing our lived experiences. We talked, listened, heard each of our very personal stories of exclusion, oppression, violence, pain, heart break, disgust; we explored how what people say and do, even well-meaning people, can turn asunder. We analysed power-- who had it, who didn’t. We asked a lot of questions, and this piece illuminates those questions. We laughed a lot, and we cried.
We melded text and dance, created vignettes that were whittled down to 16, and we decided when abstract movement said what we needed to say. We added and we let go. We are still building-- four weeks out from the show, we are still working hard to puzzle piece our story together: to say what we want to say through the body, to revel in our utopia while acknowledging the inequities that exist, to remain vigilant in our quest for good art that affects change yet touches deeply.
By Renata Soutter
Choreographer and Director of Living the
Co-Artistic Director of Propeller Dance