2nd year BFA major in Contemporary Dance student Solen Rios & 3rd year Performance Creation Specialization student Baird Duncan. Photo Credit: Kristina Hilliard
Interdisciplinary Improvisation Scores
with students of Music, Theatre, and Contemporary Dance Departments
These five performances showcased in the event are the outcome of Choreography I – Interdisciplinary Improvisation course. The class hosted students from the Departments of Music, Theatre, and Contemporary Dance to foster collaboration between the Performing Arts Departments. Students addressed interdisciplinary improvisation as a collective choreographic practice through the developing of scores for improvisation. They approached ethics of collaboration and co-creation, and different disciplinary modes of doing.
Improvisation opens space for collective decision-making, integration of diverse skills and styles, curiosity and exchange with all people present. It facilitates connections with other aesthetics and encourages processes that would not have emerged otherwise. Improvisation as a compositional form fosters attention, inclusion, and equity between all players involved and it engages the audience in the artistic process.
Throughout the course, several guest teachers shared different approaches to improvisation. The focus of the course initiated a rethinking of the status quo of what dance was through an investigation of scores based on 60’s and 70’s approaches to dance, theatre, and music. Students engaged with improvisational strategies by Steve Paxton, Lisa Nelson, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Mary Overlie, William Forsyth. To destabilize the Whiteness of these proposals and improvisational histories, students problematized the Eurocentric view on improvisation with critical texts by Mayfield Brooks, Thomas D. Franz, Daniel Fischlin on the work of Trajal Harell. We also introduced ideas of Open-Source software and algorithm improvisation in a workshop about tidalCycles with music professor Eldad Tsabary.
We want to thank the guest teachers: Valerie Sabbah, Gabriela Petrov, Eldad Tsabary, and Hanako Hoshimi-Caines for their contribution to improvisation and the class. And also, Victoria May who unfortunately couldn’t join us. We are looking forward her future contribution.