dancer perspectives on performance

Following the recent premiere of Failure of the Sign is the Sign, I asked the dancers in the cast to write about the experience of performing the piece. Below are three accounts of the experience from dancers James Graham, Roche Janken and Katharine Hawthorne.  Notice the emotional qualities (detached, personal, descriptive, formal, casual) within each account and within any given account.  Notice what modes of perception the dancers prioritize.  The shifts of attention among task, image, state, self-coaching and relationship with others.  The shifting focus between being and doing.

I notice here, as with all dances, how a code–a semiotic system–tends to develop in the creative process for sections, images, scores, vocabulary, and props.  Is it possible to make something without this happening? What would it look like to make a dance so porous that participants could not name its parts? The more a choreographer attends to qualities of being (as opposed to actions and doing), the more porous the result. The more space is created for ambiguity.

The dancer accounts are as individual as the dancers themselves. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Thank you to the dancers for generously taking the time to write about the experience of performing Failure of the Sign is the Sign.

I walk in and take in the space.  I see the parts already existing, and the people already in the space.
I walk to Tegan as I take in everything.  I gather any noodles that are trailing, try not to “mount” her, and lay on top of her.  We roll briefly….I feel this is similar to, but pretty different from the Men’s Tangle later.
I pull gently away from her, get up, see Jeremy and his torso, think “I want to be like him” and go get the last remaining torso.  I hold it gently and soothe it/myself.  I see Roche walk by, she enters my world.  Then I’m private ( in my own world, listening to the text, seeing Tegan, the lights).
I go to Jeremy in the black out, Lay on his chest (not stomach so he can breathe), lift my torso in my right hand to make room for David to lay on my pelvis.
Push my torso aside, walk swiftly to my place for top of Frampton.  Open my gaze to include Katherine, Roche, Jeremy.  Katherine is cueing off of me.  I cue off of Roche for the beginnings of jumping.  I jump 6-7 times.  Twice.
Take off to Stage Right, walk like a bad ass.  Grab/sit movement two-ish times, I’m looking and feeling the others behind me to see how much time (depends on the physical space too).  Get up and grab Jeremy’s Torso.  Push it in between his arms.  Grab his right hand with my right hand, lean back with my legs fairly extended and straight, and lean back on Roche looking over my left shoulder.
I think Katherine gives the cue, Roche usually pulls me, I pull Jeremy.  I got to another 1.5+- grab/sit movements again, then run to Jeremy grabbing his right arm with both my arms.  Roche is usually very close for  second, my butt might hit her.  Cue, then I pull Jeremy past me into elbows rolls 3 men. 3 rolls to the left side first, then dive onto my left side.  Hold until Katherine cues.  Roche offers me her left arm, I grab is and go into a back attitude with my right leg up.  Feels different every time depending on where I set up and where the tether moves to or pulls.  Sometimes I extend a bit when Jeremy extends his penche.  I do a quick circle up stage, then back down, Jeremy sets up first, I go to him, then grab Tegan’s forearm, with my back to the audience.  Struggle struggle.
I release and softly quickly go to the ground.  I “desire” the softies and feel my fingers and toes and everything else reaching, grabbing, wanting the softies.  Depending on how David and Jeremy set up (they are in charge of timing it feels) they tether me.  David pulls my leg, I flip to my stomach and elongate/arabesque-ish.  When he releases me I land on the softies, gather them quickly, and run to Katherine.  Straddle her leg, back bend.
I leave her and run to my old spot to do my third grab/sit movement, flip facing 180–this time facing on stage.  Do it a few times, stop on hands/feet back to the ground. Wait for Katherine to start the soutenue turns, join her on the 2nd.  Tegan joins on the 3rd, we do a 4th all together.  Remain calm and try to not run into anything, try to keep on a clear path, try to stay with them.  Each time, after 2 turns, cut down with the right hand/forearm and Develope the right leg up and around.
Suzuki-Do the first part with sound “enough times” then continue with the phrase.
After Suzuki I pick up Laquisha Torso and hold her as I walk downstage.  I look at Tegan as long as I can….noticing how her solo is like mine….that she reminds me (in the piece) of me, what I want, how I’m feeling, what’s inside me.  Something oddly familiar yet also repelling to me.  I look back to Laquisha, hold her gently, place her on the ground when the sound cue/voices come in, and when Katherine does her first lunge to the ground.  I join her, with jeremy and david, for the 2nd one.  We go through the Slam, side side, up and around, right knee back and slice up movement.
I go to Jeremy and grab his armpits/shoulders.  I pull him back and bit when we’re settled and when Tegan comes to grab his foot.  I wait a moment.  Help him up.  And run upstage right, then cut over to stage left to do the 2nd Katherine straddle tether.
I go to stage left of David.  We fall to the ground and go to our left sides.  It’s a bit intense/aggressive/hungry when I go to him.  Slowly I release and look at Tegan and Jeremy.  I run to her “at the last second”  which never feels like it is actually at the last second or that I can really figure out when is perfect.  Lift her around with my left arm around her torso/waist and my right hand under her right knee.  I step over/around her, lift her right leg with my right hand/arm, awkwardly shift my positions with my hands, then jeremy and I take her for a run around David.  I’ve been trying to be more quiet with my feet while running, noticing it’s a quiet moment.  Jeremy and I look at each other to time throwing her into the air.  Then I snap back to flexing my biceps with fists to the right side of my body.
Original version…fists right, straight arms circle up left, fists right.  Reset.  Take two baby steps to my left turning downstage. Do it again.   See the noodle, go to pick it up. Go to Katherine, finish her twist if she is there, or just pull her waist (right side more than left).  Being careful not to let her trip on my noodle.  Run back to Jeremy, wrap the noodle around his waist.  Being careful to really grab it, and not let it fall off him.  Hold the image for a bit.  Pull him, tug o war him to stage left.  I usually wrap my head, push the noodle on him more, lift my leg a bit, and generally struggle to find “what I’m wanting”
“YES”  you can interrupt me.
Leave Jeremy. Run up and Drop the noodle upstage
See the space and people as I “discover” the mic/lightbulb.
Begin moving the mic/bulb around my body, soothing myself, exploring what it is.  Making the beginnings of sounds ‘S’
Start copying your text/language in syllables.  Do what strikes me.  Allow for space so folks can hear your voiceover.  Building, building.  “mmmmmm”  “mmmmmmmm-ahhhhhhh”   Backing up to push the mic/bulb out of the way.  Put it down, take off into the space
Solo–allowing the sounding to inform my first run into the space.  Noticing the other people in the space but not relating directly to them.  I’m on Mars, they’re on Neptune.  I start with “calling the four corners” receiving support.  Pause.  “Chip away at my chest”  feeling a hard exterior/shell/armor that I want to get rid of and I’m trying to, I know that it will be good for me.  Pause.  I start self-soothing and then build up an interior shake. Brief pause sometimes, usually do something that is in “form land”
Form Land… I choose from:
roll on my back, slam my feet move–but it’s dangerous when sweaty, so I stopped doing that
Swinging/slapping my arms forward and back
Lunge and mini-slicing (optional inversion)
Big two legged jump
Side (instigated by the top of my head to the right) saute, jump thing
Hung over at the waist, on tip toes, precariously hanging forward.  Sometimes this leads into a “four limbed cartwheel circle” thing.
I would raise body my hands up to the sky, length in my body. Hands up.  Reach through the tendons in my forearms/hands/fingers. I used to lift my shirt, and when I had no more shirt, I kept the movement.  Feels revealing.  Feels like I’m already revealed.
My focus is important to me in my solo.  I never quite look at the other 5 dancers.  I never look out into the audience.  It’s almost as if I’m gathering the 4 corners the entire time with my gaze/focus.  A friend described it to me like I’m Autistic or Schizophrenic.  If I were to distill it….I feel like I’m searching.
Mother’s body….trying it/her on.  I feel it in my thighs, legs, hips, stomach. Trying not to judge it, just sensing experiencing it as a new body.  Strange yet familiar.
Precise placement of body parts—I rarely use this, but it is in there briefly
Jeremy gets me.  When I notice him I continue towards my “States winning” usually I reach for the 4 corners, feel my mother’s body, and then shake/self-soothe.  He is a bit forceful and grabs my arms/body to stop me or bring me back down.  I take his hand and self soothe with it.  Sometimes I bring it to my chest, not always.  I feel like he is grounding me, supporting me, bringing me back to Earth.  Saying “I’m here.”  That wakes me up, let’s me focus and see for the first time (not looking at anyone or anything as clearly in my solo).  I look at him, my hand is on his chest.  Take a moment to see him, shift gears.
Walk around him, switching hands, pouring my weight into him.  Careful not to slip on sweat.  We switch directions, he lifts me.  I twist my hips up in the air, push my butt back and around him.  I take a step or two, go back around him, downstage. Place my right hand on his right shoulder, push/jump myself up vertically.  Twist so we’re back to back and drape/slide down him until my right hand is on the ground between his legs and I’m in a lunge of sorts.  He grabs my shoulder/armpit with both of his hands.  I give him my weight, sort of as before.  He takes me around in a circle.  I start to take over my own weight.  We run downleft, straight across downstage, then curve upright stage I jump “Open/Close” three times.  Him two times.  Jump on right leg, twist closed bringing in the left leg.  A bit wild and unformed.  More the feeling. Bap! Bap!    Being careful of the cord/mic/bulb.  I turn back to him, give him my right hand.  Pull him up.  Go back on a diagonal with my head pointing to the downleft corner.  Lay on my back on the floor, with legs straight up in the air.  Wait for him (I can’t see him), and land my feet on his chest.  I look at him in the eyes, sense him with my toes and feet.  He inches me to my right.  I leave him and roll. Careful to roll softly and not thump off of him.  I look at the audience or out, for the first time.
Shift in quality, slow, methodic, careful, moving head/torso in a full circle left down up right side, Jeremy is touching me and I respond by softening or moving or feeling those places.  He pushes my head downstage left.  I walk my hands left, right, left, then perch myself up and over towards my left hip.  Pointing my right foot, dragging it slightly on the ground and over his toes/foot.  Easing into the ground with my pelvis.  I continue the energy and offer him my arm.  He pulls me up, I place a hand on his upperback/shoulder and he lifts my pelvis.  I try to keep my legs like they were in the original version, slightly bent wobbly, not straight and formed rigidly.  He puts me down.  I grab him around the waist/torso with my left arm, he’s in my shoulder/head area.  I run with him stage right.  I put him down, he turns around.  I clear my arms, they go out to my sides.  He jumps and I lift him,  He sits on my left knee.  Pause for a brief moment of suspension.  I let him go and back up. I follow him–scoot left leg up then shoot it back in an arabesque.
I take a step back as I settle, all in one.  He walks to me slowly.  I put my hand on his chest, mirroring what happened before.  I reach around his back, wrapping around his ribs with my left arm, wrap his left leg with my right hand.  Rock him right, left, right, left, right, then put him down.  I keep my hands where he can grab them and turn downstage.  He has both of my arms behind me–Titanic.  After a bit of “struggle” where I really let him have my weight, I let go and find the floor with my hands.  Being very careful about sweat.  I pike up and he goes below me.  I land softly my legs on his back.  He keeps me going in that direction.  I move my hands and feet, feeling broad.  He puts me down on my feet.  I go back to him, offering him my head in his stomach, close my eyes, give myself to him as I spiral down and around to the ground.  Offer him my arms and he pulls me like an egg twice.  On the third time he pulls me up to standing.  We walk a few steps.  My left arm around his waist, his around my shoulders.  We stop walking and switch arms.  My right arm goes to his stomach.  He grabs it and whips me around.  I take that momentum and spin on the ground, careful not to cut my back.  I offer him my legs, he drapes/hangs over turning slightly to his right, spinal curve.  I let him down over my left leg,  I follow him and cover his back and hands with mine.  We wait for David to drop a sculpture on us.
We tangle.
I go to the mic/bulb.  Play with it in my toes, letting it hang, offering it to david and/or Jeremy.  Depending on the time I will rub the mic on my face/body.  I offer it to them in the 4th position floor “martha graham” move.  I put the mic/cord/bulb away and join them for slapping arms on back movement.  I only do it a couple times usually, then we “sound” together.  I jump up on my heels and slap once or twice more, then go into the upper back curve, mid back curve, right hand/arm and right leg going forward. Play with passe, play with reaching, communicating, being near, David and Jeremy doing the same movement.  Music changes, go into extended lunge, arms straight out, wiggling up and down.
Tegan comes to forcefully give me her torso.  I don’t want it.  I hold it out with my right arm “take it back!”  We do the torso, releve, ritual movement in a line.  Starting with keeping the torso away from me, right, above, left, then moving toward upstage.  Playing with the original idea of moving with each part of my body specific, switching facings.  Drop torsos *not too forcefully* when women spin to the floor with their wrists bent.  Slowly go to the ground.  Sound for Tegan’s solo.  Time breathing with David so the sound does not go out completely. On her third jump, start rolling, and reaching, and moving my pelvis up off the floor. Stand quickly in the corridor formation, like a tree.
Obsess on one point.   Start stepping with Katherine when she delivers the organ.  Moving my right arm up and back before I step. Slow arm.  Step decisively  and oddly, like katherine.  Move back to up right corner.  Set up for rocking phrase.
Watch jeremy/tegan, watch Katherine.  Start with right leg going out first. One rock,  two rocks, then keeping feet on the ground spiral torso around, then lift back leg.  Half turn, chasse back once.  Rock , rock, full turn,  Fall into pizza boxes arms.  Rock rock half turn.  Rock rock 3/4 turn, fall into pizza boxes arms.  Then soft pique-esque on left leg arms/back arch up.  Step across with right then left.  Step pique-esque on right leg, curving down.  Left arm, right arm, swipe left leg back, turn to it, straight leg.  Kick right leg up, pushing/driving with right heel feeling it move through the whole body.  Again arm arm leg leg, then run downstage and collapse on the noodle next to roche.
Wait for David/Katherine duet.
Lights or not, I go grab the two torsos, place them on each side of Katherine, get the Heart (Tegan left me) under the branch and hold it over Katherine, Start to shake/vibrate.  Give it/place it on katherine, move to forced arch parallel-ish 4th position, arms lock in the wrist movement, then shake/vibrate.
Move quickly (in blackout) downright.
Set up for jumping “XYZ”
5 jumps with Roche assisting me.
Then go into flying squirrel phrase.
Jump off left, land on right, twist on right heel/foot, curve the left arm leg together in front of body.  Take one step scooting under myself, shoot out the right leg (strong). Just switch directions. Stretch out the right arm dragging up, left leg bent.   Turn 180 to face up left-ish.  Right leg left leg envelopes, Take a huge step backwards to make room for myself.  Hold a pizza box with my left arm, elbow in, looking up only, not at the arm.
Follow Tegan’s timing.  Lead with left leg/foot…plie’ing.  Turn turn jump, flick both arms up in the air. Look out.  Drag left leg around on the ground in a circle to turn the other way.  Using arms, right followed by left.  Stepping right first, in a second position plie.  Turn around, jump, flick, look out.
Drag right leg back in front start with a head trace from left back and around to right.  From plie, jump soute extending right leg,  and continue tracing the circular pathway of the head.  Step out on the left leg.  Spirial the right arm and leg in little circles, turn, and land flat downstage.  Extending right arm and right leg. Left leg steps over right, arms are extended long. Lock.  Tilt torso over.  Jump/step left right….right leg more forward.
Feeling from the chest, more than the arms.  Boom boom snap snap.    Easy tracing of a full spaced circle.  Starting with the right arm/hand.  Go through a passe with the right leg.  Deep plie, toss both arms from behind the back forward.  Keep left arm extended up.  Whip the right leg around in a turn, not developed.  Double attitude jump, beat in the air.  Pike jump, legs together, arms come from down to go front.  Spin around.  Land, Jump in the air, beat, turn to face diagonal down right.  Arch back hold it, arms up over head holding each other.  Break the arms, feeling them come down to search for hands to hold.
Run around Katherine, she’s on the floor, always feels different.  Left hand Tegan, right Jeremy.
See-Saw.   Soft gentle. I still feel whipped around, so I give in and try to get through softly.
Lift Tegan.  Move up,
Move down
Lift David.
Always making room and being aware of people passing through.
I go up, turn
Jeremy goes up walk forward.
I go up turn
Come back into Jeremy, hugging, but not hugging, missing.  Feeling the air, his body, memory of duet before.
Back out, hold his hand.  One more lift.
To the floor, he goes on my legs again.
I give him right arm to right arm
Pull away.
Tegan goes up on my back.
I grab her around the waist, turn her once, seeing Jeremy.
Place her on his hip, help her butt up.
Step behind them.  Take her on my shoulders.  Help her only as much as she needs.
She slides down, I bend over, grab behind her knees.  Look at her, but keep jeremy in my eye for timing.  I give her my left hand to her left hand.
I spin away with momentum, go downstage.  Set up left leg forward of my right.
Roche lift.  Take one step back on my left.  Wrap her around.  Unwind back the other way.   LAND IT.  Hold her neck.  Take our time, take my time.
New lift.  Petronio.  Get low on her pelvis. Try and not lift in my back.
Let her go attentively.  Lunge arms stretched shaking hands movement to get around Jeremy and Tegan.  Big “jesus” jump.  Set up for Katherine “heart lift”.  David comes in next to me.   Hold her left leg.  Grab her pelvis.
As soon as we put her down we start talking (in tongues or not) and step backstage.  I hold a bent over pose.  Wait a second and jump.
Keep talking until Katherine moves on.
Go to Jeremy. Butt wrap around jump. Break away from him/give him space.  My left knee in his butt jump/lift.  Lunge/arms/hands shake move quickly.  Right arm/right leg small circles twist around and lock pose. Lock the other way. Then dart into the group.  Usually behind Jeremy, next to David, in front of Roche.
Touching, moving very slowly feeling the point of contact/touching.  Mmmm, so nice, feels good.  Moving almost imperceptibly , just very slow, more about the touch than seeing the movement.  With the end of the music, we pull back sharply from the touching places.  I leave with Katherine, touching arms.
End of piece.

so–what happens to me or with me in this dance?
i feel like i’m letting whoever reads this pretty deep into my brain…
it’s funny how, when we’re involved in an art-making process, we create the same roles for ourselves as we do in life.  i’m pretty sure that would be true across the board.  it’s certainly true for me.
so in this dance in particular (as usual) i’ve cast myself in an essential, supportive role.  the tether says it all, in a way.  no, i am not the grande diva in the major backbend, but I’m anchoring her and supporting her.  (withholding?  lack of trust? a simple preference? (why?))  and in my conversation with hope, i can finally hear part of the answer.  “if i don’t do it, no one will.”
there a gender thing happening too, perhaps.  i see often that queer women are doing this same thing that i’m doing–we are the supportiveness of women and the supportiveness of men.  i feel strain in a social fabric viscerally (i am the consummate hostess, of course) and move toward it with balm, more often than not.  also, i am the man who holds your jacket and takes the backpack and gets up to make you breakfast and sees your beauty and worships your beauty and stands behind you in a tux–the perfect frame to you.
anyways–in the beginning of the piece–
when i walk onstage, i simply hold to greeting all the things i see–not just the people but also the sculptures and also the walls and the lights and the floor.  and hope that the people who are watching me will also see these things as i see them.
those first tableaus–i feel more like a living statue than anything else–like a picture cut from a magazine, or perhaps a sign post at a rarely-trafficked intersection in the country.
frampton.  i enjoy frampton.  for me, it is a play between pure-movement, emotional-movement, task and disappearing/disassociating.  i’ve been particularly interested in the disappearing–trying to make the dance full of holes where you thought i was there with all of myself but then i’m gone.  the chains of the tether are the most human parts for me–I see my friends reaching out to me and feel them connected to each other down the line and for a moment I feel a part of something–almost as if the dance were reaching out to me to be more connected, to not disappear.
o yeah!  we have sculptures.  what are they doing there?  the sculptures don’t mean much to me yet, i’ll be honest.  they’re tasks.
frampton ii–not so different from frampton 1.  form!  it’s fun!
then, go lie on the floor for a few minutes and watch katharine be incredible and the men dance together for a while.  sexytime?  depends who’s watching.
and then–the women’s trio!
the prologue to the women’s trio ended up working well for me.  finding a torso and holding a torso and trying to give it to David while dodging his long limbs and shaking it at him gets me the perfect amount of angry to go stomp around in that trio.  i just love dancing when my anger rises to the surface.  i often feel back to that day in Argyle where we were moving and only the men were talking and they were talking about us–another bit of source material–an easy way to access some anger.
what’s happening in the women’s trio? we are dancing together–we are dragging around some noodles and then we are lucky enough to shed them.  to me, the noodles usually feel like a trail of my past and history, so it’s quite a relief to leave it behind.  it could have been harder–we could have made shedding that noodle a bit more of a struggle, but we didn’t.
my primary relationship with Katharine and Tegan in the trio is a watchful trying to get on the same page.  I feel for them and watch for them so our unison can be unison.  It feels challenging and very familiar–frustrating and also reassuring.  inside of the trio, I feel…like i am not in any way alone.  like you could not just see me without seeing all three of us–and when they’re dueting together and i’m in that adagio moment, I feel–like I am holding an emotional balance for them so that they can engage–still connected to their process like a mama watching her kid solve their own problem on the playing field.
the movement itself is at turns bound and controlled, like the bird walks and large and slashy like the “get your legs together girl” move.  bound creates slashy–i want to break out break free.
and also–i actually feel the audience in this section–and i want to destroy them.  if i could call down some lightening and turn them all to ash, I probably would.  what i am experiencing they are doing to me.  that’s what it feels like.  perhaps also it’s because my mama is out there (at least in my imagination…)
and then?  tegan does barrel turns and we howl at her
and then we roll and i get to have my axisesque moment
and then we become snapshots of windy trees
the last section feels related to frampton–lots of moves–nice structure of entrances and exits and gatherings.  big moves.  it’s home–it’s fun for me–it’s what dance is best at, most of the time.
details about it?  it feels like a ritual–first windy trees and then walking in a circle with my arm out as if I am a doppelganger of Katharine, and then mourning zombies in the back corner all together–another stop in this set sequence and then we deliver the organs and then we get to DANCE!  tossing james, moving together–yes–we dance.  its a group moment that does not need to be distilled into an image–it’s clear what we’re doing–we’re acting together.  the strangeness power of dance that we can agree to do choreography.
that last shifting tether–what is that to me?  it’s consensual–that’s what it is.  we are agreeing to move in certain patterns, finding ways to be predictable–to move and fit together.  thank you form for helping us dance together.
organ delivery!  hand the heart to katharine–it’s a “because” moment.  why?  because.  i don’t feel like i’m saving her, or giving her something that she actually needs desperately–it’s just what we do around here at this point in our ritual.
when we’re standing in our poses and talking talking talking it’s kind of a relief–it feels really great to let my mouth run, even though i’m out of breath.  we are so skilled at moving without letting our effort show, but finally heaving and breathing and trying to talk shows our humanness, i think.  i feel ordinary.
it comes apart–we move back towards form, towards dancing–we boil, we gather, we freeze.
of course we freeze.  of course we leave.
and there’s tegan left onstage and i watch her and i get a chill but i’m not sure why.  she’s form–even when she’s also letting go, she’s too lovely and kept–formed to be anything but form.
i’ll go take a bow.

 Enter and acknowledge organization of space, bodies, and sculptures.  “Wander” (aka walk without looking where you are going) to stage right and stand under light bulb.  Discover light bulb (this feels staccato).  Pause.  Shift gaze to acknowledge Tegan.  Walk to T and attempt to take an intestine.  Fail.  Find the two loose intenstines and unravel them from T’s body.  Walk downstage R and arrange intestines in relationship to the braincloud.  One intenstine is looped and the other is connected to its end.  Stand with intestine in one hand and watch the action.  When Roche establishes downstage, assume opening position (high back curve, elbows out, holding intestine to mouth).
R arm holding intestine extend up sharply on “bend” (the bend in the end of your sentence).
Blackout (“edit, echo, egg”) – arrange intestines in semicircular pattern in the dark, assume the processional position (parallel 4th forced arch, pelvis forward)
“Incubator” – drop intestine, drop to floor, flex arms and heels
Blackout (“gone, give me some time it will come to me”) – arrange intestines in line pattern in the dark, assume opening position (high back curve, elbows out, intestine to mouth)
“Love intertwined with love” – drop intestine, begin sounding for Tegan avoiding overriding the text
Blackout – Frampton {unless otherwise noted, all sounding is “Courante”}
Sounding beginning of group jumping/releves (4x)
1st tether w/ David & Jeremy – keep connected until David through and complete 1st jump
jump – bridge (4x) – the quality of the jumping is expansive and the landing bridges and grounded with audible impact
sound the transition
tether – Tegan heart jump, lasso arm around
sound the transition
bird walks, Roche sets time
sound the transition
tether – pench-arch (connect with Roche, place hand in space for Jeremy but don’t fully arch until connected – feel the tether before it happens, allow this tension into the body to inform the movement.  When this tether works it feels great, but when it does not it often is physically wrenching and frustrating.  I tend to carry the outcome of this tether with me in my body.)
tether – second position holding David, fall out of it (instigate, push boundary, feel the edge)
fake tether w/ Tegan (heart & heel – sudden drop, inhale)
straddle – set up anchor before David & James arrive (there is a chunkiness to this – emotional quality of holding space for other people), hold shape through Tegan jump
ship – clear downstage, roll up and into Roche elbow connection
find torso from pile, move upstage into falling action, hold the sand crab position
Roche arrives, David shifts (music also resolves) – Reluctant Light tag to standing (draw attention to the darkness upstage – reinsert your presence)
soutenu phrase (4x) – quality is expansive, carving space

2 zingers w/ James
Suzuki phrase ending facing stage R (open sounding) – quality is tight
sound for Tegan (“ch”)
music re-enters, begin heel of hand falling into sumo (2x)
unison side-side toss into squirrel jump through pizza delivery (quality is airborne, light)
repeat straddle – this connection happens more quickly than the previous one
Roche elbow connections falling phrase – enabling the expression and full flight of the other
resolve to bound place, hiding/watching from the branches
sound for Tegan lift (“ch”) – sounding the pathway in space
gestural material – bound, reactive, avoiding any overlap with others
Tegan lift – attempt at intimacy which James interrupts to create tether
“narrative, lifted away” – fall out of tether
lung tether with David, previewing the duet releve walking
“outstretched arms” – drop lung tether, extend arms towards Tegan w/ the heart, T gives heart and takes it away
hold arms in space after heart gone (the weight of this moment feels important)
move to new position once men clear
Jeremy sounds beginning of Frampton 5
2x gestural sequence
duet – quality is connected but linear, shapes in space
join Tegan for window washing (2x)
spin your wheels (R arm spin) into scissors coming downstage
sound cue initiates renverse phrase into slicing through the space – quality of slicing, connection,
near misses, unintended spatial trajectories
resolve in downstage L corner – disconnection, clean slate
scissors (3x)
overlap into beginning of sounding for James
drop out of group, but staying connected (brush past arms/legs) to find torso
squat walk upstage with torso dragging elbow
turn torso onto its base, mimic elbows in body
when feel david and jeremy depart from the group, shift the torso 90° (so becomes parallel with your body) and lift to standing.  Left hand holds torso elbow, right hand indicates the opening.
Watch James & Jeremy

Solo (cue to begin is feet on chest)
First gesture is insistent.  I am here too.  The torso is along for the ride, but then starts to insert itself as a player as well.  The beginning suzuki sequence (through the zinger), which happens right before I leave the torso signals that something inside me is beginning to break down.  The next part of the phrase moves out in space and starts to brush up against the men’s kinesphere.  This middle portion of the phrase is often very frustrating – trying to make connections with the men (who never return my gaze or make eye contact with me) and trying to stay close to them when they are not aware of my trajectory in space.  I have tried to contrast the moments of effort and tension by softer moments of release (the flamenco arms, the soft sections of the phrase).  The ending of the solo (the punch material) is the opening/portal when I express my frustration.  By this point, I am trying to make up for lost time so the men can make their next sound cue (“poetry, possible disaster, passive voice …”).  This is a moment of exertion within form, of modifying how I would choose to execute the material in order to make it fit in the larger context of others’ needs.  This feels important, necessary, frustrating.
“T is for the tired alphabet of my body” – feet suspend off ground, move slowly through low crouch to standing.  Walk to upstage Right braincloud and hold heart and lungs – become image (feels similar to opening material).  After men’s sounding fold heart and lungs inward and go hang on branch.  Feels like the sounding punctures the image.

Women’s trio
Walking to pick up the torsos – acknowledging R & T
torso hand-off (tracking, vibration, push) – feels like a moment of urgency, sort of like the beginning of my solo where I assert my presence and priorities in the space.
winding the intestines with the bird walks – This task inevitably fails, but I assume that the effort to wind the intestines is what is interesting.
Roche silent yell moment – this still reminds me of Roche’s material about her mother.
Taking off intestines – shedding skin (almost like an animal)
sounding – this feels like a concession, almost like the quiet hum beneath the intensity of the movement
thigh grabbing motif – feels very aggressive and confrontational towards the audience.  I become acutely aware that I’m not wearing any clothes and I am covered in sweat at this point.  My gaze turns outward.
modulation score with Tegan – this moment is one of the most real interactions I have within the context of this piece.  The feeling starts from the sound, now absent, and wells up into the action.  After each “attack” I zero out and take physical space from Tegan.  The emotional quality of this is confrontational and angry, but also vulnerable – I feel like I am looking to Tegan for the answer to a problem that has been obsessing me.
sounding (“ch,” “ts,” etc.) – I always want this to last longer.  It feels like another outlet, or portal, for the intensity of the movement.
tether 4x moving upstage – without the sounding this moment feels like a disagreement between the three women, as opposed to an expression of our overall condition.  This is when the unison and group feeling begins to fracture.
heart & lung retrieval – I wonder about the balance between efficiency and slowness in this moment (how slow should I move to take the heart?) .  Why do we leave Tegan?

Rolling Tide
rolling feels very internal to me, as does the abrupt shift to standing
giving the heart to Tegan seems like it has compositional weight/meaning
shift to external focus and spatial sensing once retrieve torso and begin releve walks

Duet w/ David
This material has changed a lot for me since we first developed it.  It now feels like it has moments of tenderness and softness in addition to the stilted timing and sharp initiations, which still feel intact.
The ending (drags & lifts) no longer feels quite as confrontational or volatile as when we built it.  It feels like we are having the same argument we have had time and again, in which we always take the same positions and never agree.  There’s an inevitability to it.
Jumping – lofting the torso – elevation, alignment
Movement phrases – squirrel jump into tombe coupe passe saute.
Seesaw – group sensitivity.  How can listening lead to efforting?
Vibration on the floor to standing – holding space and time.  This snaps me back into an internal physical state, whereas the pure movement phrases require an external, spatial focus.
tombe coupe passe saute reprise into fast floor sequence with David – effort and stamina.
heart lift – image
talking – effort in a strange way.  an opening, a moment of reflection.  an intense portal.
ending movement material (foute, beginning of solo, squirrel jump through foute, suzuki drop)
contact – find Tegan.
no contact – this moment is more satisfying when the breaking away is smaller and more subtle.
hold space – acknowledge others as they pass and leave.
find James – resolution.