The Aftermath

Last Friday was my last day of my first MFA semester and now I'm back home in DC gearing up for the "year". I don't want to leave the semester too quickly because I'm afraid the learning will drift to the background without staying useful or tangible in my present. So, right now, tonight, what feels palpable?

1. writing - oddly a theme for this summer was about writing. Both guest teachers really honed in on writing. First we did a week long workshop on Modern Pedagogy and spent a lot of time writing and rewriting our 'teaching philosophy'. Then Elizabeth Zimmer (dance critic, formally of the Village Voice) taught an intense intro to writing dance reviews. Some really great advise for me - and I need plenty of help with my writing.

2. Whittling down. I made two works this summer - both part of a longer work that is slowly evolving - and both were minimal and at times quite emotional. The beginning of my solo (5 minutes) was me simply doing a very slow walking pattern in 5/4 while I carried a tree on my back. People found it both odd and emotional (or was that how they describe me...). I began to refer to both my works -partly in jest, partly in homage to - "Butoh Bausch". I tried, in each work, to get rid of anything and everything that wasn't necessary - tried to whittle it to its core.

3. Collaboration: I'm going to be writing about collaboration a lot in the next year since I'm doing a large research project looking at modes of artistic collaboration - but, this summer was also about collaboration. From the very beginning, in different situations, we were asked to work with fellow students. This makes sense from number of points of view - getting to know one another, learning from our peers, etc. Because of these instant collaborations we were all forced to accept decisions we maybe wouldn't always otherwise except - we were trying to play nice. It brought up some interesting questions about collaboration and holding one's artistic purity in check. For example, how hard do I push an idea or opinion in this situation? How often do I just step back and accept other people's suggestions even if I'm not totally fond of them? What happens when aesthetics collide - do you have to try and work it out? What's the difference between an academic situation and a professional one?

The semester gave me a number of things to think about, hopefully they will stay on the surface even as my life gets busier and busier.

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