Week 12 – Guest Speaker: Antonio Cuyler

Dr. Antonio C. Cuyler is Assistant Professor of Arts Administration & Coordinator of Internships in the Department of Art Education at Florida State University. Antonio Cuyler’s talk with us on Monday was very informational and brought up a lot of topics regarding the present dance world and our futures as dancers.

He started the discussion basically by asking  what we want to do after graduation? Answers varied from continuing to dance and perform to pursuing a totally different career that has nothing to do with dance. This brought up the question, well what can dancers bring to other jobs that other people can’t. We started discussing what it takes to be a dancer and what qualities serious dancers have. We determined dancers have…..resilience, adaptation, artistry, discipline, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intra-personal intelligence, kinesthetic intelligence, mathematical/problem solving skills, and finally spiritual intelligence. With dance, we will be exposed to all these higher intelligences that a regular person might not be. By applying these skills to other jobs and even our everyday life we tend to have quite an advantage.

We continued to talk about life after to college for dancers and the option of not necessarily performing but still being involved in the dance world with jobs like stage design, costumes, dance writing, and dance administration. Antonio stressed the fact that dance admin’s are the thing that keep the dance world going and the fact that most dancers just don’t think of it as an option. After the day’s talk and even since this class I’ve found myself becoming extremely interested in dance admin. I don’t think I would do it instead of performing or choreographing but I think that it is a subject that’s very important to be informed about.

arts admin

Antonio continuously stressed the importance that the time to start planning is now. Now is the time to think ahead about our futures and become open to new ideas and career paths. It’s not like your dance career as a performer will last forever. So he brought up the question, well after your body can’t dance anymore, what else is out there? How long will your dance career last? 10? 15 years? When is it time to call it quits? When is it time to transition to a different career? These are all questions that we must start thinking about NOW. It’s kind of overwhelming to think about all these questions and what their answers are but little by little I think you grow into the answers. With an open mind I think the answers will become clearer as we learn more and more about the dance world and ourselves. I can definitely see myself dancing for a good amount of time and then going back to school and getting a MFA to teach or work in dance administration, while still working on personal projects and such.

Essentially I think if you want to dance for the fullest amount of time possible and do it successfully you must; stay inspired and seek inspiration/knowledge daily, take care of your body because you only get one, and finally don’t do it all too fast. I don’t think it’s really about where your gonna end up, I think it’s about the process and the journey to where you end up.

Week 11- EOD Talk

The EOD Choreographers shared with us a little bit about their pieces and their personal processes…

Anthony Morgan is re-staging his piece from 1994 called “Punctuated Equilibrium”. In this piece there is extensive work being done with ladders. We asked Anthony, “When recreating works, do you look for the same feeling you had from the previous times, or do you search for new ones? Same movement; do you try to embody the exact style you did before, or find something new in it the next time?” His answer determined that when it comes to re-staging a piece with different cast members things are going to change no matter what you do, because different casts dance differently. Anthony talked abut how different people bring different aspects to the piece. For example his current cast members came up with some tricks with the ladders that he had never thought of before.

Anjali Austin is doing an excerpt of her one woman show “THREADS”, inspired by the quilt collection of her family. The piece was a deep exploratory dive into her past and family history. We asked Anjali, “How did your envisioned choreographic process change when you acquired your props?” With the props, the quilts, being the main point of this piece she answered saying that they had a huge impact on her process. Anjali told us that at first her idea for the piece was going in the complete opposite direction and once she came across the quilts literally everything changed.

aa quilts

Rick McCullough is doing a ballet piece titled “Clarion” for Evenings of Dance. The piece is with a large cast and is very ballet based. We asked Rick, “How much do the specific dancers that you’re working with inform your piece?” He answered saying that in a way he’s very traditional and set in his ways when it comes to his works. If anything he said the dancers help him if he forgets movement or phrases.

Hannah Schwadron choreographed a dance film called “Klasse”. The film took place in Hamburg, Germany in collaboration with middle school students on the history of the holocaust. We asked hannah, “How did you get into the idea of dance film and making it on your own?” This question kinda veered from topic when we started talking more about hannah’s background and how this piece has influenced her. We talked about all the places Hannah has danced and the difference between east coast and west coast, north and south when it comes to dancing. When it comes to the piece Hannah, being jewish, resinates a lot with this work. From there we started talking about her relationship with the students and how that influenced the work. She made one comment that I found interesting. She said that by doing this work she realized that a lot of times kids are actually more grounded and intellectual than adults.

hs klasse

Overall I learned a lot about creating your own works and what it takes to put on a production. I realized that being overwhelmed is okay and great things can come from it if you just step back and get a new perspective. I also learned that connections are important and they are all around us. With that I learned that your past/history can make for great works and act as great inspiration. From Anthony I learned that risk is important and trying new things is important when creating new movement. Finally I learned that things like staying fresh, family, and finance all play into your choreography and art. Most importantly I learned that throughout your career you must keep yourself inspired no matter what.

Week 10 – What is a responsible artist?

What is a responsible artist?

A responsible artist has many meanings, it means to be true to your work, to be kind and courtesy to other artists, and above all it means to respect all art whether it be your own or someone else’s. Now and days you see artists being irresponsible left and right and it’s just unacceptable.

There’s a difference between being inspired by a work of art and straight up stealing it.“You can be inspired by choreographers from Merce Cunningham to de Keersmaeker,” says Kitty Daniels, chair of Cornish College of the Arts’ dance department. “But to duplicate their movement phrases exactly is a violation of intellectual property rights.” (http://www.dancespirit.com/how-to/choreography-how-to/the-plagiarism-problem/) Most recently a great example of an irresponsible artist stealing art in it’s most physical form is the infamous Beyonce Knowles incident. In the music video for her record breaking song “Countdown” she copied huge chunks of choreography from Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s two most renowned works, Rosas danst Rosas (1983) and Achterland (1990). Instead of maybe taking this opportunity to put modern dance on the map and have a wonderful chance for a beautiful collaboration she essentially just stole these two pieces from Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Beyonce claims to have been unaware that the choreography she was learning was in fact stolen. If that is truly the case then the blame falls on Beyonce’s choreographer, Frank Gatson Jr. It’s one thing for a pop artist to steal choreography but it’s a totally different thing for a fellow dancer to take choreography so blatantly. This wasn’t the first time Beyonce plagiarized art either. On her one of her tours she performs similar steps to Alvin Ailey’s Wade In The Water. The dancers are even wearing similar outfits and are using similar props. Coincidence? I think not.

For me, as a young artist things like this make me question my own artistry and responsibility. I find myself drawing inspiration from almost everything in my life when it comes to making movement, especially other dancers. So that forces me to question my responsibilities to those I draw inspiration from. Basically when it comes down to it I think that if the your movement and the movement you’re getting inspiration from are the exact same, there is a problem. Now you can give the artist your recognition and obviously if it’s literally one gesture and you got permission it’s less of a problem but when it’s step for step, or even taking someone’s ideas, then it makes for a more controversial situation. I also don’t understand why you would even want to put someone else’s work versus your own on a stage. I guess I just have too big of a conscience to feel proud of something that isn’t even my own.

With all that said I think it is extremely important to be a responsible artist and to stay true to your fellow artists, it’s hard enough as it is. We have to build each other up not break each other down.

Week 7&8

During week 7 and 8 here at FSU a lot of things have happened. I attended the Urban Bush Women show, I went to First Friday and looked at art and saw Hannah and Ilana’s performance. I’ve aslo been enjoying being an understudy of Ilana’s piece and being apart of that whole process. Then finally in Gabe’s ballet class he’s been challenging us with new ideas to think about while dancing. All of these things have been big factors of my latest train of thought.

First off the Urban Bush Women show was amazing. The dancing is so physical and you can literally feel the energy of the performers coming off the stage. Also UBW’s company members and director Jawole Willa Jo Zollar create this sense of community that you can so perfectly see throughout the performance. It’s also very nice to see UBW use different modes of art and talent throughout their piece. The dancers use of other body parts to make noise, like stomping, and use of other talents to support the ideas of the piece, like singing really make the whole work very unique. But one of my favorite things about the show was the live pianist in the second act. It really added to the liveliness of the whole piece.

Going to First Friday never fails to inspire me. All the artwork and artists around makes for a inspiring and energetic atmosphere. When I went, FSU dancers were doing a “jugstilation” in 621 Gallery. When I see my fellow peers improv and completely live in the moment like that it makes me very happy. To see the exploration and choices the performers make in the space is extremely inspiring, you can just feel the creative juices flowing out of everyone participating in the experience. I also saw Ilana and Hannah’s performance. I’m not sure what it was about or the process they went through to make it but it was very entertaining and funny. I could pickup on some improvisational techniques but for the most part it was just an amazing whirlwind of ideas. It’s just one more reason to love this school and the talented faculty I am lucky to have.

And then there’s Gabe’s ballet class. Since he went to the IADMS Conference and took a gaga class he’s been encouraging us to use some of Ohad’s ideas of pleasure and exploration in our ballet. Throughout the class Gabe will repeatedly say to find the pleasure in everything. Gabe also talked about finding the pleasure within effort. When you’re struggling to get your leg up and it starts to hurt instead of gripping your muscles in the pain, relax into the effort and find the pleasure of doing that big movement. Personally I absolutely love this new approach to taking a ballet class, it’s extremely refreshing. At first I thought it would be easy to apply these ideas because I can reference times I’ve taken gaga classes but it was kind of challenging. Especially in ballet class, where I’ve trained a certain way for years, it was hard to connect to the things Ohad tells his dancers. After trying some different things it became easier to feel the way I do in gaga classes in ballet class. Being not only emotionally happy but physically happy during class changed my whole work ethic. I found myself genuinely happy and I think that kind of stuff definitely shows through any type of dancing. I’ve also been trying to apply all these ideas to my everyday life too. Being aware of how lucky you are just to be alive and connecting to life’s pleasures really changes the way you go through your day.

Week 4 Post

https://vimeo.com/mancc
https://vimeo.com/mancc

MANCC’s current director, Carla Peterson, is a very experienced artist and dance administaror and I think the perfect fit for a role such as director of MANCC. She’s been involved with many dance related workshops and various center for the arts and has held very high positions at every place she’s worked at. She was Artistic Director of New York Live Arts in 2011, Executive Director of Movement Research, worked at Dance Theater Workshop as both Managing Director of the National Performance Network and Director of The Suitcase Fund, she was the Assistant Performing Arts Director at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio. And on top of all that she’s also played a number of roles in freelance arts consulting, fundraising and management working for national service organizations and for progressive artists. I think someone like this is extremely important in the dance field, she’s basically the one behind all the magic, one of the reason choreographers and artists can share their work with people and the world. I think it’s very impressive that after a “nationwide search” Carla was chosen and I really look up to and respect the amount of energy she puts into her work at MANCC.

“The mission of MANCC is to raise the value of the creative process in dance by: Providing a model of support for professional choreographic creativity within a comprehensive research university. Providing choreographers access to a stimulating environment where experimentation, exploration and life-long learning are both valued and encouraged, and providing opportunities for the students, staff, and faculty, the community of Tallahassee and the national dance field at large to engage with the creative process in dance.”

I think the purpose of MANCC and what it provides for Florida State’s dance program is so special. From a student’s prospective, it is like getting to intensely study all of our hopes and dreams first hand, as we watch these choreographers and performers in the processes of their work we get a perfect view into the professional world of dance. I think what MANCC provides for working artists is so important too. MANCC provides a space and a creative atmosphere for artists all around the world to work in. Without places like MANCC a lot of the beautiful dance all around us that we see today might not have been so beautiful. There’s just nothing like MANCC.

I looked through a lot of the MANCC artists and two that stood out to me most were Nami Yamamoto and Kyle Abraham. Nami Yamamoto is originally from Matsuyama, Japan and graduated from NYU. Yamamoto’s piece “a howling flower” caught my attention immediately. I think what stood out to me the most by far was her usage of a puppet. After watching the video posted under her bio i was intrigued with her whole thought process and the amount of thought put into her work. She talks about how to make the puppet look life like and how she incorporates it into her piece. It’s so interesting to see someone choreograph on a puppet and I’d honestly be sitting here all day writing if i got into how talented the actually puppeteer is as well. Very cool piece, very cool concept. On the other hand Kyle Abraham is originally from pittsburgh and he got his BFA at SUNY purchase and his MFA at NYU. His piece that he was working on while in residency, Boyz N The Hood: Pavement, stood out to me so much because I just find all his ideas of racism and racial profiling so relevant in today’s current events. On top of that find it very interesting seeing him translate all those issues into dance and eventually into a full piece.

Week 3 Post

These are some images that aren’t necessarily dance related but have recently inspired me. They all have a sun light aspect to them and a nature aspect to them. They are just very healing photos that put my mind and body at peace and they all capture something different happening.

http://jncesar.tumblr.com/post/126173400908
http://jncesar.tumblr.com/post/126173400908
http://jncesar.tumblr.com/post/126014070758
http://jncesar.tumblr.com/post/126014070758
http://41.media.tumblr.com/1257b8cf1f2a83054de0749a2fde05f9/tumblr_nbuxtrWgrY1qzleo5o1_1280.jpg
http://41.media.tumblr.com/1257b8cf1f2a83054de0749a2fde05f9/tumblr_nbuxtrWgrY1qzleo5o1_1280.jpg

Week 3 Post

There’s something that I’m starting to realize about college and about Fsu’s dance program specifically that I wasn’t totally aware about in high school. In college you have so much power and opportunities are literally endless. I also feel like I’m finally starting to really understand the phrase “just do it, you’ll never know if you don’t try” a lot more in this program. Yes with power and all this new exciting stuff comes responsibility but it’s crazy how much freedom also comes with having all these things. At some points it is, in some ways, a bit overwhelming but that’s how we grow I guess, we gotta be put in challenging situations. Anyway how this relates to what we’ve been talking about in intro to dance profession class is that I think you, Loren, have been showing me this whole new way of thinking. The whole dance program has but I think you really emphasize it in class and it’s like I’ve had a very mini epiphany. You can do and be anything you want if you just set your mind to it and yeah that sounds a little tiny bit cliche but literally if you think it, you got it. A lot in high school I tended to think lowly of myself as a dancer and an artist, I would constantly compare myself to others and I haven’t stopped that completely because that’s not going to happen over night but I think a lot of we’re doing in class and even outside of class has started to change something in me. You’ve made me realize that I am equally worthy as any other dancer in this program to be successful and to thrive artistically. In high school it just felt different, I always felt like I was being reprimanded and rarely encouraged to be curious and encouraged to seek new ways to move and new ways to discover myself as an artist. It’s just nice knowing that this program is very supportive even if I feel like everything around me in my life is crazy, when I walk into the dance building I can let go just a bit and let a calmness come over me.

I feel like I’ve struggled a lot as a dancer with my confidence, I never feel like I’m good enough and yes even though I’m certainly not the best in anyway I think my self esteem is slowly but surely getting there. It’s kind of bizarre blogging about this because I’m not used to throwing this topic out there so easily but I feel like it’s something that I’m really trying to work on and I think in some ways your class is helping a lot, so thank you for that.

In closing, I’m just over here buzzing a little bit with excitement for the future and for all the opportunities and experiences to be had around me at this school. :)))