Brain Bypass | Letters | Chicago Reader

Brain Bypass 

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To the editors:

I would like to start by thanking the Reader for covering the Chicago dance scene so well and contributing to the vitality of our art form. And then I would like to respond to a review of my choreography that was in the November 27 edition of the Reader. In the article my work was criticized because my dances do not have "beginnings, middles, and ends" and "conflict/resolution," with implications that these are things I should learn to do. These are perfectly valid ways to construct dances, but there are also other non-drama/story-based dances and my work fits into the latter category.

Certainly dances, like the activities of the Physical Plane, can be about events, but also on the Physical Plane are the ongoing feelings that underlie all of life through all cultures and times. They are the basic energies of life, and exist in patterns in our kinesthetic bodies. As a choreographer and teacher, I am interested in developing a consciousness of the Pranic Body (energy body) and my work is intended to be more like a Yantra (physically existing meditative figure that changes the energy patterns in the meditator and thus their state of being) than a story. I am interested in vibrating the chakras, and change the energy patterning of my audience's bodies to produce feeling effects. My work is not intended to be narrative (although it does contain narrative), or to have beginnings, middles, or endings. I am trying to use motional textures and densities, image, and other ideas to create states of being.

For example in Bewegung, which is about my grandmother, it is my intention to exhibit the vigorous life force she had. The dance is not intended to follow the events of her life, that are told as the dance proceeds, but is rather in juxtaposition to those stories. The vigor of the movements of the dancers and the positive joy and pleasure in their process is intended to put the audience in that same state. If you look at the dance with your mind, you miss it. The dancers in addition to performing acts that require commitment, trust, and daring are put through the dance at a fast pace and are exhausted by the act of doing the dance, yet they keep going and doing their very best in spite of the difficulties of the situation--just like my grandmother did. The dance is about just such life energy. The images used at the opening of the dance also contribute: light, the Body of Light, the transformation that occurs when we permit ourselves to be altered by the energies of nature, the idea of listening with more than our ears.

One of the beauties of dance is that it can bypass the thinking mind and go directly into the body through the kinesthetic sense. I do not mind if Ms. Troester does not think that I do what I am trying to do well. I would, however, appreciate it if she would be open to additional ways of making dances.

Nana Shineflug

Artistic Director

Chicago Moving Company

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