michael j. morris


Stripping and the new autumn project
5 November, 2009, 6:53 pm
Filed under: creative process, Dance | Tags: , , ,

One of the dancers with whom I am working on this new dance sent me this video. As has been mentioned in several posts before now, I have an interest in undressing and redressing (you can see my own enactment of this strip in 60×60 in my previous post). It has something to do with ways of looking and ways of knowing, the distinction between the actual body and the socially presentable body. I wonder if there is something in actual and socially presentable ways of undressing and redressing, action situated around the body rather than simply the body itself. I don’t think it is a profound revelation to realize that the way in which a thing is revealed or uncovered completely alters the perception of the thing itself.

There’s a part of me that wants to recreated the action of this video exactly within the choreography of this piece. How (and why) remain questions to be answered. But true to the form and intention of this blog, I offer it as extremely inspiring material for the work:

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Videos from 60×60

Finally I am posting video footage from the 3 October event 60×60 Dance held at Wall Street Night Club. Enjoy:

 



60×60 in Review

60×60 is now over. I hope you were able to make it. It was an amazing show full of diverse talent and good energy. I felt that both of my pieces were successful in executing their intentions. The first was an improvisation intending to utilize Forsythian Improvisational technologies to which I was introduced last year, as well as ways of moving that I associate with those technologies. It was one minute long and explored material both standing and on the floor.

The second was dual purposed and highly conceptual. It was an homage to “The Strip” section of David Gordon and Valda Setterfield’s Random Breakfast. It was also intended to deconstruct the relationship between the socially presentable body and the actual body (or corporeal morphology) of the individual. It was something of a temporal palindrome, starting upstage, walking directly downstage while undressing, then moving back upstage while re-dressing. All in one minute. A friend said to me afterwards that the piece could have gone on for much, much longer. I agree. I have a sense that I will re-stage the piece at some point. I am interested in how the fully clothed body that is viewed at the end of the piece is different from the fully clothed body at the beginning because of what has transpired in-between. It is always all about the in-between. The piece also commented a bit on gender and sexuality: I wore heels, women’s slacks, and a large black lambs wool coat. During the performance (the images below are from the dress rehearsal) I wore a t-shirt that says “Legalize Gay: repeal prop. 8 now!” It also had an oddly intimate feeling beyond just the exposed body; there was something about the action of undressing and re-dressing, the clumsiness, the un-sexy-ness.

CoCo Loupe graciously photographed the dress rehearsal. I share those photos now with you as documentation of the piece. Video footage may be posted in the next few weeks or so. Additional footage/images/commentary may appear at http://60×60.blogspot.com/ in the weeks to come so stay tuned there.

Also, I just received this by email today from the directors of 60×60:
“Mark your calendars now. We will be coming back to Columbus to
do this again during the first weekend in October, 2010. Tell your
friends and colleagues. Let’s make the next one bigger and better. More
details will come as things are confirmed…. stay tuned.” Very exciting.

Here are the images from the two pieces:
forsythe_improv_001

forsythe_improv_002

forsythe_improv_003

forsythe_improv_005

forsythe_improv_004

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More 60×60
22 September, 2009, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Dance | Tags: , , ,

Today I received the draft of the program for the 60×60 performance event coming up on 3 October, and I have to say that I got really excited seeing the line up of those participating. It is such an amazing group of artists with such a unique charge for this production. I wanted to offer a few “excerpts” from this unofficial document:

60×60 Dance (2009)

David Morneau,  music coordinator

Amiti Perry, dance director

Shawn Hove, Ohio coordinator

Saturday, October 3, 2009

7:30 & 9:00

Wallstreet Nightclub

144 N. Wall Street

Columbus, Ohio

60×60 was created in 2003 by Robert Voisey

60×60 Dance is produced by Vox Novus and

presented in cooperation with Columbus Movement Movement.

60×60 – 60 works each 60 seconds to create a one hour art performance.

60×60 is a churning wheel of production, performance and dissemination. Representing an aesthetic and geographic diversity of composers, choreographers, and artists, 60×60 is an annual performance project containing 60 works where each piece is 60 seconds in duration. The mission of 60×60 and its presenter, Vox Novus, is to expose contemporary music, modern dance, experimental video, and other contemporary art forms to the largest audience possible. 60×60 combines grassroots ideology with innovative methods of presentation and distribution. Each year the project grows in artistic and distributive scope, with performances across the

globe.

The idea—60 new dance pieces are performed to 60 new pieces of music, each lasting no more than 60 seconds—is quite mad. But it’s this kind of madness that makes the cultural world go round…

— Roslyn Sulcas, New York Times, November 17, 2008

Choreographers that I am excited to see on this program:
Amiti Perry, Kristina Isabelle, Susan Van Pelt Petry, PIE (Performance Improvisation Ensemble), Karl Rogers, Noelle Chun, Shawn Hove, Meghan Durham, CoCo Loupe, Jenai Cutcher, Sarah Hixon, Megan Pitcher, Betsy Miller, Maree Remalia, Alexis M. del Sol, Alejandra Jara, Abigail Zbikowski, Yu Xiao, and MANY MANY other names of artists that I don’t know.

Also, here is a facebook event page for the show. Feel free to RSVP and, even more importantly, use this resource to invite more people/spread the word!

Hope to see you there!




60×60 Dance

Coming 3 October, 60×60, an evening of new, original choreography to Wall Street Nightclub!

You can read a bit more about this event here.

For a longer post about this event by my friend and colleague CoCo Loupe, click here.

“Over 30 choreographers from around Ohio (including me!) have been commissioned to make an evening of 60 1-minute dances to 60 1-minute original music compositions . . .”

I am creating two new one-minute dances for this event, although I would be lying if I said that I knew exactly what I am going to do. The two track to which I am choreographing are extremely different. As of now, it looks as if the two pieces will be two solos, choreographed and performed by myself. I was hoping to create a duet for one of the tracks, but with the show so quickly approaching, I think time necessitates that I get into a studio with myself and figure out what these dances are going to be. These are my thoughts/ideas/questions thus far:

I’m thinking about nudity. Wall Street is an 18-an-older venue, and it’s unique that I perform in venues like that. I’m interested in what possibilities might be presented by the venue/audience restrictions. I have long been interested in deconstructing the disparity between the “social body” and the “actual body.” To be clear, by the “social body,” I mean something like the clothed body, the body as it is perceived through its social frames of clothing and make-up and hair product, etc., as opposed to the actual body that constitutes the individual. While there are absolutely socially constructed aspects to the body/individual itself (such as mannerism, posture, stance, gait, spatial organization, etc., all as ongoing performance of socially driven perceptions and expectations), those are aspects that are inseparable in each moment from the corporeal identity of the individual. It makes me think of something Judith Butler wrote in an article entitled “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution.” She wrote:

“Gender is in no way a stable identity or a locus of agency from which various acts proceed; rather, it is an identity tenuously constituted in time–an identity instituted through a stylized repetition of acts. Further, gender is instituted through the body and, hence, must be understood as the mundane way in which bodily gesture, movements, and enactments of various kinds constitute the illusion of an abiding gendered self.”

Certainly their is social generated and driven content in the bodily identity, even at the naked level. And I am fascinated by this to no end. But what I am more interested in as potential source material for these pieces is the distinction between the regularly perceived social body (the body as we present it to one another on a daily basis), and the irregularly perceived actual body. Both have fabricated elements, but they are not the same. I am interested in how a one minute dance at an 18-and-older venue might potentially contribute to the deconstruction of the “illusion” of the former.

The question for me is immediately: how would this be different from stripping? how is it different from “nudity for nudity’s sake”? will this deconstructive process be successful in the span of one minute, or is our culture so at odds with nudity that it will simply be either shocking, or easily classified as something recognizable?

I’m thinking about runway shows using the body as a support for the display of clothing, and inverting that to make the clothing (or the removal of clothing) a support for the display of the body. Wall Street has a stage and go-go platforms, and countertops. I’m not sure how any of these might come into the work.

I’m thinking about the Judson Dance piece Random Breakfast, the first section called “The Strip,” performed by Valda Setterfield, choreographed by David Gordon. Sally Banes writes about it in Democracy’s Body:

“The first section, “The Strip,” was a dance for Setterfield. Dressed in a long blue velvet gown that belonged to Waring and had numerous small buttons down the front, long gloves with more buttons, a hat, pearls, and a fur stole, she performed a strip tease to “authentically brassy strip music.” Gordon says that, “She looked like Queen Mary taking her clothes off in public. She walked in a circle forever, taking one thing of at a time, all those buttons to open, the dress, the petticoat, a long-line brassiere, garter belt, stockings, bloomers, limping along in one high-heeled shoe, never breaking the rhythm of the circular walk. She was somehow extraordinarily genteel parading in that circle and dropping her clothing. She discarded all the clothing in a neat pile so that when she was done she could stoop down and gather it all up together in a huge bundle. The dowager empress had become a naked rag lady.””

I’m thinking about the difference between dressing and undressing, or undressing and then dressing. Both create a palindrome in time, but how might where you end up be different than where you began because of what has transpired? How is a clothed body different after undressing and redressing than it is before that process? 

I’m also thinking about the slow, sustained quality that my work can sometimes have, and how that might find unique expression in the course of one minute.

I’m thinking about Love Art Lab because I am always thinking about Love Art Lab.

I’m thinking about Clara’s solo from Sketches of Shame, because I just notated a part of it last week, and how that is still some of my favorite movement I’ve ever generated. I don’t know if those gestures/ideas will come into this work or not.

I know SO MANY PEOPLE who are involved in this show. It should be a truly exciting event populated by great artists. I hope you can see it if you re in the area. From CoCo:

“Please SAVE THE DATE for this incredible event! Original contemporary dance and music works …..60 of each….all performed in 60-minutes……at Wall Street Nightclub…..Details below!

WHAT? 60×60 Ohio

DATE?
 Saturday, October 3, 2009

TIME? two shows: 7:30 pm and 9:00 pm

COST? $5 at the door

WHERE?
Wall Street Nightclub
144 N Wall St
Columbus, OH 43215-2800
(614) 464-2800

EXTRA STUFF? 18+ only (as per Wallstreet Nightclub) “