I’ll be sharing work from my book project, Democracy Moving, at the upcoming Mid-America Theatre Conference in Cleveland, OH. I’m giving a presentation entitled “A Necessary Invention: Choreographies of Black Womanhood in American Dance and History.”
A new work for the inaugural year of UB’s ChoreoLab, an interdisciplinary, project- and process-based laboratory for choreographic innovation in movement-based performance. The work will premiere in spring 2019.
This work responds to what several cultural commentators have noted as the exponential uptick in demands on human attention that has accompanied the digital age (see Tim Wu, The Attention Merchants). The title, and the work itself, are inspired by the poet Mary Oliver’s proposal that “Attention is the beginning of devotion.” Oliver’s proposal is related to the yogic concept of drishti, or focus, which is accompanied by the belief that what we turn our attention toward will grow. Attention/Devotion will explore the thesis that attention is the new virtuosity by asking dancers to cultivate a radical presence, attentiveness, and commitment to the everyday, the ordinary. If, as André Lepecki suggests in his essay “Choreopolice and Choreopolitics: or, the task of the dancer,”
“With the performance of devotion, the choreographic reveals itself to be that which produces an agent, that which produces an affect, and that which reminds us that the political, in order to come into the world, requires commitment, engagement, persistence, insistence, and daring,”
then how, following Oliver, might we cultivate practices of attention that lead to devotion, that allow for a taking back of our time, energy, and attention, so as to direct, and devote ourselves differently. This work will devise such practices.