by Kimberly Peterson
The act of change can be frightening at times. What will this change bring? Will it be accepted? Where will it lead? Is it the right decision?
But with art, change is a natural progression. Very few things remain unchanged and still retain cultural relevance. There is a struggle between holding to tradition and fighting for relevance that can be seen in such classical forms as Ballet – where the art strives to move beyond the classical structure, forms and story; but where companies still do a full production of Nutcracker every season…
However, this idea of metamorphosis – change, growth – is not solely a struggle between classical forms and modernity. Contemporary dance also struggles with the concept of what “dance” really is. Is it simply movement? All movement or just certain kinds? Pedestrian movement or stylized gestures?
For some, this line of question has begun to include the body and whether or not a body needs to be physically present to be considered dance. This concept is beautifully illustrated in the short film Thought of You utilizing The Weepies’ song “The World Spins Madly On”. Watch for yourself.
This award winning short film is the product of hours of animation, hand drawn by artist Ryan Woodward who spent countless hours during the creation process and rehearsals studying the movement, and the dancers themselves. Over 25,000 hand drawn images went into this stunning work which translates the qualities of movement as well as their physicality, into his creative vision which was influenced by the music.
For those, like me, who desperately needed to know how this came about, there is a making of video where Woodward delves into the process he took in creating this work as well as his artistic intentions.
The question of whether this is, in fact, dance is one I leave you with to discuss. I encourage you to leave comments with your answers, as well as your reasoning. It is/is not dance because _______ .
So what so you think – Dance or No?
Contributor Kimberly Peterson, a transplant to Minneapolis from the Dallas area, received her BA and MA from Texas Woman’s University’s prestigious dance program.
Drawing on her experience with producing dance works, Kimberly has served as lighting designer, stage manager, event coordinator, volunteer and an advisor in various roles. She has taught in various capacities and her choreography featured at ACDFA, TCC South Campus and Zenon Dance Studios. Her recent internships with Theater Space Project and the Minnesota Children’s Museum have served to expand her skills in arts administration and development.
Her graduate research explored the parallels between the independent music industry and current methods of dancer representation. Fascinated with how art is represented and presented in society, she continues to develop this research while delving further into this complicated subject through her dance writing.