ok so I’ve been doing 3:15 dances since Tuesday April 5.
An overview: I do a dance everyday at 3:15pm and intend to do it for an entire year, documenting my experiences here, on my quiet little site in this neck of the internet. That’s it – there is no time requirement or further parameter than to do a dance wherever I am at 3:15pm, everyday.
These past few weeks, I feel as if I’ve been cheating even though there are no rules. Perhaps it is because I have not been writing about it and so am not making myself to accountable to anyone. Or maybe, and I think this is more likely, I haven’t been “trying” hard enough. Where trying is defined as giving myself over to the dance fully. See right there, that reveals a lot about how I define a “dance”. This saturated, fully self-aware experience – rich with itself. Anything unconscious or unattended to is insufficient or feels unsuccessful.
Related to that, I saw Jan Fabre‘s Prometheus at Montclair University a couple months ago and the thing that struck me most, to reference the movie Spinal Tap, was how the piece and the performers are always at 11. Like lights up, and BAM full throttle. Which is exhausting and at times thrilling to watch, but also becomes its own white noise. And I began to wonder if I ever work at 11. (First definition of 11: Am I doing my “best moves”, like “fuck yeah i’m dancing watch me toss myself around, throwing myself, my dominion, and my experience at you”?)
Thinking further – How am I defining the scale of 1 to 10 and thus the graduation to 11? Because I will say that I’m interested in performers paying 200% attention to their actions in performance but in some ways the direction of that attention is inward – with their presence and responsive emotions radiating and off-gasing out, towards the viewer. but it’s not shot out of them like a canon the way it is when a child has a temper tantrum, a person is in an ecstatic trance, or a Jan Fabre dancer seems to do anything. Hmmm…. please chime in if you have something to add.
But so today. in an effort to not cheat – I was in my living room. Again being reminded of how I can subvert this basic 3:15 score in so many ways. Do I begin the dance exactly where I am, with whatever is in my hands, or do I shift to a more “suitable” and desirable starting place? There in lies the first rub. It highlights how so much of my work stems from responding to interior space and feeling and how much a dance studio – empty and spacious – helps with that. Do I ignore the odd environment I happen to be in at 3:15 or embrace it? Today I ignored it, walked into the center of the room and at a certain moment I decided the dance began and (cue sound effects) shooooooom my attention is completely different. I imagine being seen. But from what angle? I let the audience viewpoint shift throughout the dance, determined by the sensation in my body. it was pretty dancey, lots of tiny circles, wrenching the body in one direction just to reverse and redirect. My mind wandered and evaluated what I was doing both in regards to whether it qualified as a dance and in terms of whether what I was doing exhibited technical prowess. My mind wandering feels like further evidence that it was not a dance, not my best. Huh.
If this is an exercise in not knowing, in letting labor accumulate, how will it all reveal itself? You can’t “win” them all. But perhaps I see which 3:15 dances feel like “dances” and which don’t and learn something about myself. Or get better at checking myself in terms of my assumptions about what qualifies as a dance.
If you are always trying to name and tease out your defaults in an effort to not unconsciously fall into them, do you eventually unravel the entire proverbial sweater so that nothing of any consequence exists anymore? To go with the analogy, is it no longer an object with function and an identified aesthetic (pointing to the creative author), but a series of homeless strings laying beside one another. Whoa…. I just got all existential. Ok, on to the next one.