[The international project "This I Believe" engages people all around the world in writing essays about their most essential beliefs. The project is based on the popular 1950's radio series of the same name hosted by Edward R. Murrow. The following is an excerpt from my personal essay: "This I Now Believe."]
Time's progression is the eternal flux of the universe. It is and infuses all life, sentient and otherwise; it remains the primary experience we all have in common. All things grow and change, and in that way shape and reshape their life. Life is the process of moving. We know that without moving physically, our bodies would atrophy, wither, and close for business. We know that emotionally and mentally, life from birth to early adulthood, is nothing but a process of adaptation and expansion, and those of us with an open mind realize that pattern does not end after adolescence. And we realize that spiritually we are nothing in stagnation; it is in evolving that we become souls, and only by pushing the edges of our spiritual evolution that we may ever find meaning in all of this.
As humans, we are receptacles for the mutations of our environment, and likewise our environment bears the consequences of our evolution. It is in this ever-evolving chain of action and reaction that we find truth, love, beauty, magic, and reason. I do not believe in time, I believe in time moving, ever so quickly, ever so slowly, ever so gracefully, across our lives, forming us as much as we are forming it.
Since beginning in the field in 2006, I have cultivated works that include traditional concert dance performance and choreography, as well as an ever-growing watershed of dance-related projects and experiments. I am a forward-thinking twenty-first century mover, who believes in hope, chance, and the malleability of space-time. My work stands at the intersection of physics, philosophy, kinesiology, and communication, and my primary medium for interpreting and creating is the body. My governing concern lies in making art that is accessible to and sparks conversation among those entranced with the universal human experience. Approaching this lofty goal from as many angles as possible, I work in many dance forms, including, but not limited to, modern dance, ballet, jazz, tap, postmodern, and contemporary dance. Strategies include creating new works, re-staging repertory, creating site-specific performance pieces, practicing improvisation, making dance films, writing and researching in academic dance, and a variety of formats yet to be popularized.
I choose to make works that address dancing as a way of being rather than a collective of various types of action. All across an historic seascape humans call time, efforts have been made to force experience into concreteness by imposing a static rubric through which we can explain the differences between this moment and that. Because of our desire to handle discrete concepts and our wariness of the vague, we have come to recognize existence as something other than the passage of time, an enormously dangerous misunderstanding. My choreography addresses time not as a constant, but as our eternal flux which is and infuses all life, sentient and otherwise; it remains the primary experience we all have in common.
I have created my own path, in life and in dance, in a slow and careful process in consideration of best practices for safety and respecting the individuals, and the exercising of noble truths. My finished works can often be complex compilations of sound, color, light, film, and movement, with every layer deliberately placed. I use parody and satire frequently, and prefer to view those who dance in my pieces as humans first, and dancers coincidentally. My voice is audible and visible in my works, clearly and distinctly, in my manipulation of energy and thought with precision and tenacity. In any given piece, a combination of classical and contemporary movements and styles can be seen, peppered with pedestrian movement and metaphoric gesture, embedding meaning in ways both abstract and narrative. The indiscreet lines segregating entertainment art and fine art become simply another layer of physical material for dancers to interact with onstage, on film, or anywhere else, in my dances.
As a scholar, I concern myself with the pursuit of understanding the conscious experience of dancing, in how it relates to time, space, and energy. I am deeply moved to develop a pedagogically sound method for training dancers in studios in the U.S. that prepares them for dance in institutions of higher education, and the professional world beyond. I believe that as dance educators, and indeed as humans, we are not only responsible for handing down our personal and inter-personal legacies, we are in fact the guardians of much more.