A Circle

 

A Circle is a developed solo work based on my dance film: Sunshine.

I projected the background of my dance film onto stage and choreographed alive solo. It investigated my personal experience about dancing. My movement vocabulary and my decisions about dance are both like a circle. I used my body to trace the round shape and I went back to my first choice about my life: to become a dancer. There are always something I could not forget. And it’s time to start over.

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Great Experience in “Madama Butterfly”

Opera Columbus, Madama Butterfly, Southern Theatre, Columbus Ohio

Photographer: Randall L. Schieber

Started from last summer, I was so lucky to get a chance and joined the opera work ” Madama Butterly”. It was a production from Opera Columbus, and as a student in OSU Dance Department, I joined this “re-telling” of the story as a female servant.

As a student from China, I think because of the Asian elements the opera put into, more and more people in Asian got to know this opera. And for me, I don’t like the ending of the original version, since Butterfly gave her son a flag of the U.S before she suicided even that American man abandoned and cheated her for a long time.

Before we started the rehearsal, I was really curious about what are we going to re-tell this story from the perspective of American and reveal the contemporary opinion of this love story. Susan Van Pelt Petry is our choreographer. I was surprised that we used American sign language combining with dance. I feel it is a clever method since we are going to tell a narrative with amount of details. I think it is really a good way to make the narrative clear conveyed rather than using some abstract body language to let the audience guess the actual meaning.

Opera Columbus, Madama Butterfly, Southern Theatre, Columbus Ohio

Photographer: Randall L. Schieber

Another thing I feet good to collaborate with singer in an opera is that I feel totally connected with them. The singers are using music to communicate with each other and we are using body to communicate with them. We are not separated as two groups to dance and to sing. We all have our own character in it, and we are all communicating within this big community. Thank you for our director Crystal Manich and our Choreographer. They really made a good choice to connect everyone together and made this opera a success.

love this version we made. The comparison between the reality and dream made a curve for this opera, pushed the emotion to the highest point and gave the audience a big drop psychologically to feel the dramatic of the opera. Butterfly was conveyed as a vivid character in front of us. We can see her happiness, her anger, her hope and her despair. She is a epitome of everyone who encountered a failure in love.

For the costume, although it is not that “Japanese” from the perspective of an Asian person, I still love it. I can see the understanding of East elements and combining with his personal and contemporary perspective in the costume. And for the lighting and projection, it really creates the scenery in a clear way to help understand the time, space and even emotion.

And I have to say that I really love the big moving moon on stage! It was one of the important representations of time passing in the background. And I still remember one day of our stage rehearsal was the mid-autumn festival in China, which is a holiday for family to get together. When I was kneeling down on the stage and looking at that beautiful, round and bright moon, I almost cried at that time. The round shape means “together and perfection” in Chinese and I felt moving and perfect at that moment. IMG_4906

I want to thank for everyone working in this opera:

Director: Crystal Manich

Choreographer: Susan Van Pelt Petry

Set and costume designer: Court Watson

Lighting and Projection designer: Tlaloc Lopez-Watermann

Stage Manager: Hester Warren Steijn

Condutor: Kathy Kelly

Asst. Conductor/CM: Jason Hiester

Rehearsal Pianist: Barbara Sahr

American Sign Language Director: Bennett Whitaker

All the casts: Janet Szepei Todd, Daniel Montenegro, Eric Montenegro, Zoie Reems, Thomas Petrushka, Karolyn Lee Gholston, Chandler Johnson, Jeff MacMullen, Riccardo Jimenez.

All the dancers: Marissa Thomas, Elyssa Shayna, Kelsey Kempner, Danielle Barker, Sydney Samson, Jordan McDowell, Dian Jing

All the singers and music players!

It was a great experience to work with you all! You all did a great job! Toi Toi Toi!

 

 

Intermedia is…

green room

It was really a good time during the intermedia classes. We read a lot, invited many artists to come as the guests, brought the materials such as texture videos, images and surfaces into the class to play with, and we also had communication about the meaning of intermedia, technology, participation and interaction, and race, gender and women. It is quite an open space for us to bring things in and communicate out with each other. My aim to choose this class is to get close with technology, to see how can the media and technology combine with dance, and to find the significance of media and technology to dance. I want to use the media and technology in my work, I want to have sense of how to use media and technology.

 

 

We played a lot. We experienced the equipment in the lab, played with the motion capture, VR and saw some works done by the students before. We used cameras and projection in different locations to create short works. We shot many videos about texture and brought into the class. Watched them on the big screen and used our bodies to respond. We brought various of surfaces, saw the light and projection on them and experience the absorb and reflect of the lighting. We went outside with our partner, walked together to experience the change of weather and the environment without language. I feel the openness here in the class and the find many different methods to learn as an artist. The most important is what I noticed. In this class, I opened all my senses to see, to hear, to smell and to experience. I found that I need careful eyes to notice what I notice everyday when I dance or do other things.

 

 

 

We read a lot. We step into the history to know the development of technology and art. We learned other’s creative response process and try to figure out the benefits in it. We read about the interactive art to know more and reflect on our own work. I love reading about these history. I can know the origin and see how it developed with the time snd society. I was attracted by the computer technology the most. Technology has absorbed into the daily life, arts cannot develop without technology. I was curious about the combination between art and technology and it was interesting that I can see the keen insight of many engineers. Computers are designed to deal with the huge database developed rapidly, to calculate and store. The huge cyberspace after the screen have great potential to imagine and create. There is no physical laws in that space and the dimension, the time are different. It gives us space to imagination and what the arts needs is just the imagination.

We created a lot. We have our own lab time to do pieces about portrait, texture(media first) and interaction and participation.

 

 

This is our first piece about portrait. We used some elements: water, sand and rock in our background projection. Combined with the top-down camera, we set ourselves in the environment and react to the background. Also, we were really appreciate that one visit scholar Yang Meng, used the Chinese traditional sleeves to dance in the piece. I experienced the portrait in front of my eyes and in the projection. The projection creates the distance and a series of deep space in the screen to place the portraits. I noticed the individuals in digital space. Move after seeing the reflection on the screen and it is really a different experience from following my body. I feel what connect my body and movement is the real-time reflection on screen. I open my senses especially visual part which changes my regular method of dancing.

 

 

This is our second piece about texture (media first). We used several beautiful texture videos to reflect in our body. We created a circle stage to bring audiences in and experienced the all-around visual world. I was wondering about the connection between my movement and the projection, and at last, I thought it was the energy. The power that you presented to match or hold the texture in the projection.

 

 

This is our last piece about interaction and participation. We set a dinner table and projected the virtual food on it. We used our phones and let the audiences face our screen to chart with us like the facetime. We played games and pushed the atmosphere to let all the people join us. I haven’t done some works about interaction, but this experience raise my awareness about the closeness between audiences and performers. The digital food stimulated the audiences’ senses and no matter the awkward or enjoyable feelings we brought to audiences, all attracted them to join us.

communication

I enjoy every rehearsal with my friends. We communicate, share, ask and clear order to make efforts in every piece. Thanks my group and I think we had a really good collaboration.

We learned a lot. Norah invited many artists came into the class to share their research and work. They are all different and focus on different fields. I was totally surprised by Michelle Ellsworth. She creates a whole virtual internet space. She can talk with people on the website and the what she searched in “Google” are all created by herself. It is like another world separate from us and all the things she like or imagined are put in the virtual world. It is a space for herself but also a space for us to think about our own preference.

For me, intermedia is technology based on computers. It creates in the “cyberspace” and give us a new sense of space and time. I was curious about how much audiences see about dance and technology, and I used to want it to be 50% and 50%. But now, I think it depends. Dance and technology are there, they separate and also merge with each other. Technology will change and enrich the space and time in regular and I think the most wonderful moment is when audiences can notice the body and technology at the same time. This is very useful in my work later, and I am developing a piece with projection. I want to use the projection and my body to catch the focus and play with the space and time.

 

“Reverb”

reverb

The piece “REVERB” is the first piece I practiced and showed in the U.S. I was so excited that I can join the piece and I think we did really a good job to rock the stage. It is choreographed by Daniel Edward Roberts, a faculty here in OSU dance department. He is an excellent teacher and choreographer focus on Merce Cunningham technique. The piece is inspired by Lukas Ligeti’s polyrhythmic “bending” of Monk’s original music.

It is a powerful piece. We use our strong and sharpe bodies to make the piece work. The music sounds like amplified and create a strong and exciting environment. The bodies are also strong and clean to present the power happening quickly and full of the stage. I enjoy in it, use my body to travel in the space and take audiences to feel the power and space. I really appreciate that my peers are all work hard to make the piece work and help me a lot since I still have some issues in language. We breathe together, support and use power at the same time. We communicate about the cue and talk about the improvement in collaboration. And when we all push ourselves forward, the piece looks excellent.

A memorable experience for me! Thanks Daniel, and my peers: Mikaela, Paige and Kali! We made it together!

 

Sunshine, shadow and body

In our dance department studio, room 247, I found a triangle of sunshine shot on the wall. With the time passing by, it will also change its shape. I had witness the change and was so excited to made the record and a short film to see the “happy accident” met by my body and sunshine.

Another interesting thing is that the shape on the wall has changed with the season. I shot the film in October, and the shape on the wall is different but also beautiful after one month (as the following picture).

shadow 2

ADTA &JODE

ADTA&JODE are short for American Dance Therapy Association and Journal of Dance Education.

American Dance Therapy Association is an organization supports the emerging profession of dance/movement therapy and is the only U.S. organization dedicated to the profession of dance/movement therapy which was founded in 1966. The purpose of the ADTA is to establish, maintain, and support the highest standards of professional identity and competence among dance/movement therapists by promoting education, training, practice, and research.

Here is the link of ADTA: https://adta.org/.

The Journal of Dance Education publishes original articles related to the practical and theoretical aspects associated with dance education. They provide new knowledge and rigorous scholarship to improve the quality and integrity of dance teaching and learning and seek contributions from a broad range of international researchers, scholars and practitioners using a variety of research frameworks and methods. JODE is written for dance teachers, researchers, administrators, directors, choreographers, practitioners, and students in: higher education, P‐12 schools, private sector schools and academies of dance, the professional dance world, professional dance training institutions, and community dance programs.

Here is the link:JODE

 

My Creative Process

creative process

This is a picture I drew to illustrate my understanding of the creative process. For me, everything is working together to make the “creative work tree” grow healthy. I divided the process into three parts. The first is the root, the words are all a little negative like “stop”, “disrupt”. But without these, the tree cannot grow so beautiful. The second part is something I must do on my own and their place are all inside of the tree. The last part of the words, I placed them in the outside of the tree. Something like “listen”, “communicate” are my tasks to share my work and receive others advice.

I want to choose any two words in these three parts every time when I do choreography or any other creative process.

 

“Embodied” Research

封面

The life with dance seems to be substantial and different from the time before. Everyday I step into the studio to practice ballet or contemporary dance with my classmates. I try my best to stretch, jump, keep balance and improve my technique skills. I do the choreography by myself and with some peers to explore the relationship between body and space, body and time and to express the emotion or anything I want to present. Also, I do the rehearsal with my teacher and improve my ability of performance with his guide. I use my body to do the research and to explore a systematic method to help me understand and find my body.

Ballet and Cunningham contemporary dance technique are tightly coupled with each other and both need strong legs. Cunningham technique is a kind of weird but I like it. The technique is trying to find all the possible positions of our backs which combine with our legs to improve the movement space of our body. We tilt, arch, curve and twist with our legs all way around to feel the hidden space around our body. I should always focus on my core, use my breath and keep my weight down to have the stable steps. This really helps me to have strong and stable dancing steps and to control my body movement.

Cunningham

Many choreography works are keep going on at the same time. When I was doing my solo work, it always take me a lot of time to think and reflect to myself. What I want to do today? What I noticed? What theme do I want to express? Should I change the music or should I just repeat once more? Sometimes it seems to be opportune but sometimes it is all in mess. I am always confused about drop it or not and when I writing down many keywords, it will just confuse my direction and reduce my efficiency. Maybe this is just the process I need to experience and maybe others have the same feeling about these abstract emotion and cannot figure them out. However, when everyone get together to share our works and have some communication, it will always be much better and inspired after listening about the comments or suggestions they give me. And now, I want my choreography to be a process of thinking and writing, practicing and reflection, sharing and communication.

solo

Also, creating the piece with peers is difficult. I have to use the exact words to help people understand my thoughts and can make sense to their body. I can see the reflection on their body and some development they add to my piece which they even do not have the awareness. The interaction is really helpful for me to know what I want. Besides, doing the rehearsal and leading them to practice also improve my teaching ability. The blog which is talking about the “Dancing in the Subconscious” inspires me a lot in practicing especially in leading people to practice. The article illustrates that: “Practicing new skills lines the paths of our synapses with a kind of electrical lubricant that help us remember more efficiently. This is what we usually refer to as “muscle memory.” It isn’t really ‘muscle’ memory because muscles don’t have memory. Instead, it is the process of building new subconscious pathways in the brain.” (Pytlik 2017) With this scientific methods it seems to be easy to have my rehearsal.

“Dancing in the Subconscious” 

Creativity Brain Image

This blog raises my interesting in doing research about arts in brain. How dance or even arts influence our brain and how our brain reflect to the arts. Sometimes we prefer to say: “Follow your heart”, but is this should be changed into “Follow your brain”? I have read many articles about dance therapy which use dance as a kind of art to treat many diseases in motor and nervous system. Dance can be both a physical and psychological release since our brain can produce something such as dopamine when we are dancing. Therefore, it raises dance into a higher level that it is not only a kind of art but also a tool that everyone can use to improve our health and quality of life. I want to use science as a tool to do the dance research and maybe it will help me find the scientific reasons in this abstract and emotional research.

About intermedia

In my first semester, I chose the intermedia class to experience the combination of dance and media. We saw some motion capture works and used camera, projection to create our own works. For me, intermedia is a production of the development of computer technology. It brings virtual things into reality. What we want to create or find in dance is probably virtual and full of human’s imagination such as space, time and texture. We cannot really see them, and we always try to feel them while we dancing. However, intermedia can help us to find a way to let these virtual things presented in front of our eyes, to help us understand the space, time or texture better. Also, with the intermedia, sometimes we can combine the movement with the virtual things to create a different visual effect. It can let audience see the body, the movement, the picture, the media reaction and many visual things at the same time to explore or even expand the space and time.

In our first piece, we are required to make something about portraits with camera and projections. We can see everyone’s portrait in our daily life but always neglect it. And for me, I prefer to care more about the portraits in some static arts such as painting. This study helped me to think about the portraits in performance. We have to use the lighting, the camera, the projection and sound to help audiences focus on body and portraits. When I was watching the video about Lucinda Childs’ 1979 collaboration with Sol Lewitt and Philip Glass “DANCE” . I try not to see the whole scene but focus on the portraits, and with the projection which enlarge the individual, I can see some details of the body. The real and virtual bodies are overlapped and it seems to create another space to place the same portrait but with different size. It can help audience to experience the distance between themselves and the portraits, to see the details or the whole body and to feel the space the portraits created for us.

My group and I chose to use the top-down camera and projection to create our works. We used the projection delay technology and tried to enrich the single portrait. It seems that the single portrait becomes stronger than before and full of power. Also, we combine the Chinese traditional long-sleeves dance with modern dance to see the result of the two different portraits with different texture. Using lighting to create shadow is my favorite to see the portraits. We can see the real body and its vague figure on the wall, and the shadow makes the body more 3-dimensional.

portrait

tradition and modern

Our second study is about texture which really attract me. The world is full of various texture so that we are feeling colorful. We start with finding different texture in our daily life such as the leaves, the shade, the fabric and the chocolate. Everything has its unique texture and how can we create our texture inspired by our daily life. We brought the fabric, the plastic, the metal, the wood and many other small and normal things to our class and observe them carefully. Also, we shoot about different texture and watch the video projected on the screen and play with them. Many moments were wonderful since the suitable movement and the dynamic texture matched with each other perfectly. The movement and body really assimilate into the texture and we can feel the nature exist in our lab which beyond the space.

As far as I’m concerned, we break the boundary of space and time. We can bring the desert into the projection and make a dance with it instead of making a show really in the desert. We can enlarge the tiny details and show them to let audience notice what they noticed. We care about the dark and bright, detail and entirety, reality and virtuality to make sense about body and movement. And we bring many things which seems to be impossible into dance through intermedia. I am still exploring and creating, to notice what I notice.

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