My project ‘bodyfabric’ is a performance piece for three disabled and non-disabled dancers that examines how skill, pleasure, agency and trust intersect in the brilliance of everyday motion.
This concept began in a workshop with disabled dancer Alice Sheppard, who encouraged us to find and hone our unique disability aesthetic– a technique that stems from our particular experience with impairment or disability. I took this prompt and developed a solo dance film shot primarily on the bed where I perform my daily dance practice -- leaps, runs, turns and swings that I filmed from various kaleidoscopic perspectives. As a dancer with an ankle impairment, this piece allowed me to express my full range of kinetic motion without causing unnecessary pain to my lower limbs. It helped me better understand my own disability aesthetic, and honor the grace and care of everyday actions in my artistic practice.
Upon completion of this solo, I was interested in seeing how other artists might explore these ideas. At 2021 AXIS Dance Company Choreo-Lab, I had the honor of working with three dancers to explore the daily rituals of their own bodyminds. In eight days, we began to develop an intimate and nuanced movement language together that was rooted in care and respect for our embodied differences. As we worked, more questions emerged: How do we want to show up in our dancing bodies today, and how is this different from yesterday or the day before? How do we translate the essence of each other’s motion across our differences in ability and perception?
I now have the opportunity to develop this project to completion in a commission for the 2021 Shawl-Anderson Queering Dance Festival. By collaging the expansive layers of our movement together, my dancers and I will build a physical fabric where our bodies crave to belong. As we hone the specific aesthetic that is us, we will open up doors to our collective technique of being alive.
Funded by Oakland, CA (July 2021)