Choreographing Odes: the creation of "as always"



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"as always," an evening-length piece of dance and poetry was performed on Saturday, April 18th, 8:00 pm at the Studio Theater in Kendall Sports & Dance Complex at Mount Holyoke College. This paper describes the process of choreographing and producing "as always." At its core, "as always" draws from the classical Indian tradition of dancing in direct addresses, of moving to converse with a deity who is physically absent from the performance space. The “direct address” as a peculiar connection between dance and dancer, dancer and a presence outside the dance, shares a similar structure to the poetic ode. An ode, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “a lyric poem, typically one in the form of an address to a particular subject, written in varied or irregular metre.” Like classical Indian performance, the poetic ode is similarly addressed to something outside its own structure. Classical Indian dance, in its direct addresses, then, renders every movement danced an ode. But while a classical Indian dance might address Lord Shiva, "as always" converses with ungodly things. Whimsical and exuberant, "as always" investigates the implosions that occur when words meet bodies. The four dancers in the piece compose intimate odes to the invisible moments that lie between them, from introductions to inhibitions to dreams. The “movement-odes” in this performance navigate text and movement simultaneously. Dancers perform original poetry live as they dance, excavating different relationships between the words they speak and the physical choices they make.



Dance, Theatre, Poetry, Bharatanatyam, Classical Indian, Movement