What I Think About When I Think About Dancing

Polly Motley

I received a Regional Dance Development Initiative (RDDI) development  grant to work with Sara Smith, an interdisciplinary artist, researcher, and writer, on a writing project that I have imagined for over 25 years called What I Think About When I Think About Dancing. The title is taken from the title of award-winning author Haruki Murakami’s book What I Think About When I Think About Running. The purpose of this project will be to contextualize works I’m making for the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, Vermont, on September 19 - October 19, 2014, titled IN NO TIME:  A Retrospective of Ideas.

During this month-long creative process, Molly Davies (video); John King and Sean Clute (sound); and dancers Diane Madden, John Jasperse, Paul Besaw, Lisa Nelson, Stacy Spence, and Shelley Senter will join me in focusing on ideas in my choreographic practices that continue to stimulate new work. IN NO TIME will include an open studio process; inter-media performance; talks with the public; laboratories; and an exhibit of video, costumes, choreographic scores, and contextualizing print, which is where Sara Smith is involved.  Sara (who publishes KINEBAGO, a journal of writing focused on dance and movement-based practices in New England), the Helen Day Art Center, and I will make a publication that can make the rarified work of the body’s mind more user-friendly. 

Sara and I are having quite enthusiastic conversations about “being” in dancing (i.e. when is “being” a noun, when is it a verb, and when is it a gerund?); how to stop time; dancing with fear; the role of scores and intention on real-time composition; the mutability of space; the effects of seeing on performance choices; and the relationships with architecture, installation, video projections and dancing.  This is all trade talk that nevertheless finds me twinkly-eyed.

Photos of Shigeru-Ban inspired projection surface, designed by collaborator Molly Davies, before, during, and after construction, with Polly Motley and Paul Besaw. The installation is part of IN NO TIME at the Helen Day Art Center, Stowe, VT. Photos by Philip Roy.

Here’s a link to Polly’s upcoming work at the Helen Day Art Center in Stowe, VT, this fall:

Stay tuned for future posts from the other New England RDDI artists who received development grants...