CSULB Modern IV/V – Week 7: Midterm and discussions about the MFA Fall Concert and/or Akram Khan


This Wednesday we will hold our Midterm Movement Exam. I will video your work and discuss it with you individually on Friday, Oct 19 (Stop Day).

Additionally, under this week’s comments, you may post your thoughts/observations on the MFA concert and/or the Akram Khan performance. Those of you who were not able to see the Akram Khan show and performed in the MFA concert (Joey, Irene, Jennifer, etc.) may write about the other dances in the program.


8 thoughts on “CSULB Modern IV/V – Week 7: Midterm and discussions about the MFA Fall Concert and/or Akram Khan

  1. The blog! I’ve had a couple fleeting thoughts of, “Oh! I can post that on the blog” but, after processing the thoughts myself, I haven’t followed through with the writing and posting. These thoughts are just comments right? So, I’ll format this post oddly with little editing and, hopefully, will be forgiven for such transgressions.

    1) Reaching connectedly. After getting the feedback to “reach further” in class, I recognized a disconnect in myself: I had been associating somatic work with a near to mid reach. It was interesting to notice these self-imposed ideas that had manifested out of nowhere. I don’t need to censor or say no to a particular way of dancing in somatic work. Instead, I can use the ideas to find new, additional ways of moving and being.

    2) Working too hard and general tension holding. This idea has been more of a reminder than anything. I am the type of person that gets anxious and uptight. It’s horrible. I especially get bound in my neck and chest from the life, not necessarily dance, stressors. So, I end up getting tighter and tighter when I feel like I’m struggling through class. I can find a relaxed place for movement most easily in the floor work when I have the support of the floor. Once we move to standing, however, I struggle with continued connection to my breath. Finding a present, relaxed place to move from is, perhaps, the most difficult part of class for me. It’s inconsistent. I haven’t figured it out for myself yet.

    I loved Akram Khan. Vertical Road was such a complete work for the stage. The set, lights, sound, movement, and structure all merged seamlessly together. It was almost depressing; I don’t see how an American artist could ever get that type of budget together. Still, I was inspired by the work, as well as the dancers’ easy athleticism. As for the MFA concert, I’m too close to it to comment at this point. I’ll look forward to reading the thoughts of the others.

  2. I really enjoyed Akram Khan. The opening visual with the veil was stunning and his dancers were exquisit. The ending or transcendence section that started with the three women was my favorite.

    The MFA concert was huge for me. It was the culmination of an extensive and fruitful working process. I really tried to have a different mindset going into it then my last two pieces. I had the tendency to over analyze the work and spend lots of time trying to work out the dance. This process I just had to trust. It worked though scary at times. I gained much from the whole experience. Also learned from my oral defense ways to articulate my methodology to others clearly. Though I would still enjoy the opportunity to speak about my work more in depth.

    • I also enjoyed Akram Khan! It was interesting going with a non-dancer friend and hearing his comments on the show opposed to mine.
      It is so interesting how we project our own wants onto the stage. Where we can totally transform something that is not intended to be much of anything into what we want to see…
      I like to create little narratives or short stories when I watch a piece, I am able to more easily relate to whatever is going on so I can compare what is being seen onstage to what is going on im my life at the time.
      For this dance I saw the story of one man and his life in 45 min. Those slab things that kept falling were like chapters in a book and when someone would approach the slabs to turn the page- a fighting (Dragon Ball Z type ;)) scene would go on! The muslin- like costumes along with the percussive and Hip- hop movement, which was all mostly in unison, made me think of oppression. Also there was a Love scene in there! Where a man and woman were rolling around stage in hardcore slow motion. lol
      Anyhow, now I am just ranting… Overall, I did enjoy the concert very much. When I became aware of my body, I noticed I was holding tension in various parts of my upper body, like my shoulder back and abdominals. This tension gave me information and told me that I was fully engaged with what was going on, however I need to calm down.

  3. Akram Khan was INCREDIBLE. It was so inspiring to see such a tremendous amount of power and strength in the dancers. Khan’s movement vocabulary was unlike any other modern dance I have seen. He was successful in seamlessly combining a variety spiritual dances (which would not be an easy task!). It was fascinating to see this array of ethnicities–in the cast of dancers, in the choreography, and in the thematic content of the entire work. The music was dramatic and the set was fantastic. In my opinion, every element came together to create a wonderfully moving piece.

  4. I thought the MFA show was a huge success, and I enjoyed watching all of the pieces. It was especially interesting to see Jeremy’s piece because (since I was crewing) I saw it performed many different times. I loved watching the different improvisations each night and noticing the different variations of movement in relation with the dancers’ moods.
    I also liked watching Jessi and Joey’s duet, micro-picking it for awkward moments. I mean, how could there not be at least one? But, alas, I didn’t find any. They owned every movement and trusted each other to go with the flow. Thus, upon seeing this, I thought about how we could apply this mindset to our own bodies; a lesson on how to interact with ourselves.

    • It’s really interesting, Maria, what you think about two dancers (Jessi and Joey) applying a mindset of owning movement and going with the flow with each other, and then applying that mindset to our own bodies by ourselves. This is something I have always questioned and gone back and forth about for my personal ways of moving. I need to stop the doubt, and fully live in and enjoy the ways of moving that feel good to me. And if something feels awkward or overly tense, I should find my own ways of executing movement that feel more enjoyable. I assume I am not the only dancer in the world that has ever considered this thought?

      On another note, I chose Liz’s piece from the MFA concert to watch and talk a bit about. In the modern 4 syllabus, it says to talk on the blog about the MFA concert and how it relates to what we are studying in class. I saw some interesting floorwork coming in and out of the floor that kept my interest during the piece. I question if some of the dancers’ floorwork skills could be taken up to the the next level by applying some of the concepts experimented with in this class? Some examples are head-tail connection and releasing tension from body parts not needed to be activated for certain movements. I really enjoyed the piece overall and thought it was visually and musically beautiful to watch. I appreciated the dancers’ attention to each other and the amount of energy and self they had to give to others onstage with them.

  5. I really enjoyed the pieces in the MFA concert! I was earning my second credit for Dance Production so I was actively involved in the show for the two weeks prior to the performance and was able to see each dance multiple times! My job was lighting board operator. I learned so much about the importance of lighting and how it can make a significant difference in the enjoyment and interpretation of dance.

    I really enjoyed “Being Witnessed”, choreographed by Jeremy. I like the fact that it was a structured improvisation so it was different each night. Even though the dance was structured, I still looked forward to seeing how the dancers were going to execute their movement and the variation of performing suppressed movement to more violent movement. This variation was definitely accomplished by the dancers each night. From Joey and Jeremy’s duet with strong angular lines using their arms and legs to Joey and Jessica’s duet where they intertwined with soft head movements and gentle caresses was a nice contrast. I also like how the dancers built their movements as the music was building, especially Tamara on her solo.

    “Swans and Other Misconceptions of Women” was hilarious. I tried to refrain from laughing loudly into the microphone. The costumes were designed perfectly and I seriously want those pink heels! (I will be speaking with Liz about that, haha). Heather did a spectacular job choreographing this piece to make it so humorous and entertaining from beginning to end while showcasing the dancer’s talents. When so many dance concerts at different schools and companies have depressing dances, it is really nice to see a dance every once in awhile that makes me laugh. I appreciate this kind of choreography because I could imagine how hard it must be to choreograph a dance that is dancing and also very funny.

  6. Ah! The Blog! I think this blog can be another study for myself of how much I rely on habits to get through the semester [and how habits hurt me by preventing me from doing something new I’m supposed to be doing]. I saw Akram Khan many many weeks ago at UCLA and completely loved the concert. There are many dance concerts that are pretty and enjoyable, but weeks later I could hardly tell what it was exactly that I saw. Akram Khan is still resonating with me, now in December, with the imagery, composition, and movement. I watched the concert from the very last row of the theater, but the impact of the movement continued to wash over me in waves throughout the concert. Each section developed in itself to a point where I felt that it must be the climax of the piece, but a new different idea or spatial design flowed out of each section so seamlessly. I especially loved the sequencing through the dancer’s bodies in which the movement seemed to be fully inhabiting them. I could see the energy flowing up and down and in and out of the floor as they twisted and turned through invisible vectors in the space. In the scenes where they portrayed more emotions and states of being, such as the love scene, I knew exactly what was going on through the commitment to the physical feeling of it, rather than an excess of acting. I appreciated that the movement, and the dancers simply being inside of the movement, communicated I needed to know.

    I performed in the MFA concert in Jeremy’s Being, Witnessed. It was an extremely personal process for me going into the concert, and I found it difficult to really express that to those who were not involved in the process with me. What I appreciated the most about Jeremy’s piece was that for the first time I was performing as just me. I did not have to layer on some external character, or build up a fake narrative to drive at the emotions and intent of some one else’s piece. For the first time I walked onto stage as Tamara McCarty and was allowed to say whatever I wanted to say that day. Of course Jeremy shaped how we responded to the movement and our driving intent entering the space, but other than that, it was up to me. Every night got to be entirely different for me, and by the end of the week, I had certainly found some closure for myself. For the first time I could also experience what my own genuine movement was. It’s difficult to be that exposed on stage, and I admit there were times that I was extremely embarrassed to be so expressive and emotionally bare-but I think that comes from my own past experiences with those who cannot relate to being emotionally expressive. Above all, it was a wonderful experience as an exploration of self and to feel good about inhabiting myself-my body, my mind, and my emotions.

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