“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity."
- Pema Chödrön
As an artform based in the body, I believe that dance is uniquely situated to be a catalyst for human connection and empathy. Through the interrelatedness of our own corporeality, and the carriage of our common humanity and experience, it is my belief that the body itself can be a site of research, creation, and connection. The impetus of my work as an artist is to cultivate and promote such empathy and connection.
Looking to the body as a site of embodied memory and experience, my creative work and research investigates the role of personal narrative, specificity, and vulnerability, as well as storytelling, in creating empathetic connection in both process and performance. Drawing on personal experience and narrative, as well cross-disciplinary inspiration, my creative process engages Authentic Movement (an improvisational movement practice) as a methodology of embodied reflection, response, and movement generation. Drawing on the work of autobiographical performance, I am drawn to individual detail and specificity, and am interested in how we locate and engage such detail in kinesthetic performance. This interest continues to draw me towards the incorporation of tactile props in performance – kinesthetically specific elements – as invitations toward experiences of kinesthetic empathy within an audience. Beyond movement, I am drawn to spoken word and poetry, both as sources of inspiration and as elements of performance itself. It is my hope that in the weaving together of all these elements, I can create work that centers the realities and vulnerabilities of human experience, both the beautiful and the difficult, connecting people across boundaries and difference. In a culture and a time as severely polarized and dehumanizing as ours currently is, I aim to create work that cultivates humanity, compassion, connection and hope.
Most recently, my research into embodied memory and empathy has led me to investigate themes of trauma, recovery, and resilience. Given the current cultural climate of civil unrest and political polarity, along with economic, health and natural disasters that continue to arise, these interests have only been intensified. Our world is in need of recovery, and I’d like to help facilitate that through dance. I’m curious about the choreography of resilience, and about how these processes of recovery live in the body, from the simplest of falls, to the rebuilding of life after loss or disaster. In grounding my research on empathy in these areas of recovery and resilience, my aim is to create work that makes a social impact, through both what I am able to present to the world, and the process it takes to get it there.
While I have been amazed at the digital and virtual methods our community has found of connecting and dancing recently, I am convinced more than ever of the visceral power of dance. I consider it a privilege to belong to an artform that still requires one to show up, to bring your corporeal existence into a space with other bodies, and to engage in a common experience. It is through these experiences that I believe choreographers have the power to facilitate human connection, and through that process, to create social change. As an artist, it is my intention to catalyze the potential for empathetic engagement, both within audiences, and with each other.