Perception in the Performance Practice of my solo adaptation of  I’ll crane for you (2008)choreographed by Deborah Hay.

 

Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Contemporary Dance.

London Contemporary Dance School

University of Kent at Canterbury

2009

Acknowledgments

A big thank you to Deborah Hay, everybody who organized and made the Solo Performance Commissioning Project happening, such as Independent Dance and Body Surf, to the Findhorn Foundation and Community who hosted it, and to the other nineteen participants.

A further great thank you to all the people who supported my participation in the project, as well as my following practice, adaptation and performance of I’ll crane for you, including my research and writing of this study: the Ministère de la Culture, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche (Luxembourg), The Place and London Contemporary Dance School, and my tutors Kirsty Alexander and Henrietta Bannerman. A special thank you as well to Lauren Potter for her voluntary, unofficial tutoring.

And a final heartfelt thank you to Géraldine Vessière, for her presence and help throughout this MA project, and to my dear beloved parents.

 

1. Introduction

This study is a written documentation of and reflection on my practical project. It accompanies and supports my practice, which is an adaptation and performance of Deborah Hay’s I’ll crane for you (2008) and focuses on the notion of perception in performance practice within this solo.

I begin with the choreography by presenting Deborah Hay and the context of her work. I then explain the Solo Performance Commissioning Project, including the questions and the text with the directions for performing the dance with which Hay provided us. This will highlight the use and importance of language, images and metaphors in her work, setting the scene for how this affects the performance practice.

In the second section of this study, I will focus on what, over the three months of performance practice, appeared particular about this way of working, precisely the emphasis on and refinement of perception. I will first investigate the concept of perception within this work, and then look at the effect this has on the performance practice, by discussing the notion and nature of performance as I consider it in this practice. This leads me on to investigate deeper the notion and use of practice and its significance within this work.

2. I’ll crane for you

Deborah Hay

The first time I saw Deborah Hay was in 2004 when I attended her lecture performance of Beauty at Laban, London. A few days later I went to see Match at the Purcell Room, a performance that included a quartet, performed by Wally Cardona, Chrysa Parkinson, Ros Warby and Mark Lorimer, and two solos, performed by Lorimer and Hay herself. I felt very enlivened and stimulated from these performances. As an audience member I could really connect and relate to Hay’s human, natural, universal, but enigmatic work. Winship (2005) echoed my own thoughts when she wrote: 

Hay’s dances don’t really want to be explained: they want to be experienced. They don’t so much illustrate things we know as things we have never seen. They make complex mimes of objects and situations that have not existed until this moment, when a dancer’s body carved them out on the stage in front of us. 

I became so interested in Hay that I went on to read her book My body the Buddhist (2000), which profoundly inspired me. Her writing has since accompanied me in my life and dancing. By reading her written work, I witnessed a similarity in body and nature between her dances and her writing since they were equally capable of creating changes in perception and being. Hay writes in the introduction of My body the Buddhist that “the literary forms used in this book are liberties I have taken to help me unravel a piece of the plot between movement and perception […] in pursuit of the study of intelligence born in the dancing body” (2000, p.xxv).

Biography

Hay was born in Brooklyn and started dancing with her mother. In the 1960s she moved to Manhattan, where she continued her dance training eventually dancing with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 1964, among others. She was a founding and active member of the Judson Dance Theater, an informal group of dancers and artists who performed at the Judson Memorial Church in New York between 1962 and 1964. They were avant garde experimentalists who rejected the confines of Modern dance practice and theory and are considered as the founders of Post-modern dance (Banes, 1993).  In 1970 Hay left New York to live in a community in northern Vermont for several years.  It was here that she expanded her cummunal approach to dance which involved untrained dancers evolving the ten circle dances. These were performed on 10 consecutive nights within a single community and without an audience. It was here as well, outside the New York performance arena, where she began to follow a rigorous daily performance practice that was to be developped over the years into the practice and project that I will discuss later in this document. Since 1976 Hay has lived in Austin, Texas, and worked as an independent choreographer and as a world-touring performer and teacher (Foster in Hay, 2000).

Nature of her work

Over years of experimentation and attention, Hay has elaborated a powerful alternative dancing practice, “continuously upheaving our assumptions about dance and the body”(Foster in Hay, 2000, p.x). “Hay organizes both the acquisition of technique and the choreography around a focused inquiry into bodiliness” (Foster in Hay, 2000, p. xi), exploring the nature of experience, perception and attention in dance, and “the dancer’s constant and daily attentiveness to body’s articulateness” (Foster in Hay, 2000, p. xii).

Her minimal concept of dance is ethically and aesthetically grounded on the principle that less is more. To this day she makes dances without attempting to construct a linear narrative. She creates conditions for the performer’s and viewer’s direct experience of all kinds of phenomena. She locates in those phenomena the interpretive keys to the performance and understanding of each dance. As stated on the Deborah Hay Dance Company (DHDC) website:

The goals of the DHDC are: to challenge judgments which limit how we identify the physical body in time and space, broadening the traditions of flow, beauty, and form that are currently prevalent in dance, and to expand the cultural concept of “dance” by defining the dancer as a site for inquiry, i.e. a bodily presence trained in the performance of parallel experiences of perception. (2008, a)

In addition to her company, her solo and group practice and performances, workshops and writing, in 1998 Hay began to conduct her annual solo performance commissioning project (DHDC, 2008, b). This project was an opportunity for me to experience as a performer what had originally stimulated me as a viewer and reader of her work, to discover more about Hay’s process as well as the effect of her use of language and images in achieving her artistic goals.

The solo performance commissioning project 

The Deborah Hay Solo Commissioning Project (2008) took place from the 27th of August to the 5th of September in Findhorn, Scotland. We were twenty dancers and performers learning, practicing and performing the solo entitled I’ll crane for you. On the first day Hay handed us a script with the questions, notes and directions shaping the choreography and guiding the practice. For ten days we practised everyday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. starting with a forty-five minute warm up to, as Hay named it, “get what you need, within the lab”. By these words she means that you do what you need to do individually to warm up, though the phrase: “get what you need” is not limited to a physical activity. It includes everything you might need to warm up for the practice, such as lying on the floor, sounding or writing. “Within the lab” is a more scientific and explorative term for the studio, including the other participants, suggesting that already in the warm up, there is an openness, awareness and connection beyond oneself, with others and one’s environment.  Hay often said, “ your practice informs my practice”, because we all practice the same in different idiosyncratic ways, though not in isolation. Both linguistic expressions stimulate perception and inclusion of this togetherness and richness of information and possibilities. We practised the questions we had been given on their own, using them as a mantra or movement meditation while dancing. We read the text through, learning it quite quickly, so that we could practice embodying it and employing the questions within the performance of the text. 

The questions

“The mind is a terrible master but a wonderful servant” is a quote by nineteen-twenties’ century Indian guru Vivekananda that Hay mentioned during the project. Thereupon she works with questions or riddles that she claims are “1) unanswerable, 2) impossible to truly comprehend, and, at the same time, 3) poignantly immediate” (DHDC, 2007). Over the years Hay developed and refined a whole set of questions, and “what if” suggestive statements, that have a levitating effect on body and mind. Their implication as generative principles and as conscious foci for daily movement investigation and dancing summons the dancer into the creative process of moving in a new way. Her “what if” propositions are preposterous, as echoed by Portland based writer and poet Lisa Radon in her article: “She asks questions that she knows cannot be answered. ‘My body is bored by answers,’ she said. ‘I want to keep the dancer in a place of curiosity and engagement’” (2006). “Koan-like in their spare summoning of full attentiveness, these statements acknowledge the constant changing of body in consciousness” (Foster in Hay, 2000, p.xiii). “They …. challenge the dancer to open up to an immense range of neuromuscular possibilities and to validate each of these new impulses” (Foster in Hay, 2000, p.xiii). They create the intangibility of strategies to engage in the performance of the text, as well as the ongoing connecting thread that keeps one from doing this and than that within the choreography. As Hay said during the project “Invite being seen in question instead of doing” (2008), by which she does not mean that one should hesitate or be in doubt, but seek to embody the questions she posed to us.

The shape/directions/text

The text or shape of the choreography of I’ll crane for you is a collage of notes, descriptions and instructions. Months prior to the project Hay goes into the studio to practice. In this situation words, sentences and images emerge from her intense attention and the perception of her dancing, which she writes down. She then cuts out different extracts and rearranges them in a new order that shapes the text she gives to the performers. This was her preparation for our project, though it is her general procedure, whether for the solo commissioning project or other larger and smaller groups she works with. It is interesting to note that while we begin working on the solo from the text, Hay starts creating it from her daily attentive bodily practice. The work is transmitted to us from her conscious moving body through the medium of language, images and the text. It is performed each day anew through our daily changing perceptions and embodiment of them.  The text is a collection of seemingly random movement and sound directions, written in different styles or qualities; sometimes like a story, sometimes in poetical or metaphorical tones and sometimes with specific instructions. It also includes different performance activities such as moving as in: he builds something massive while moving quickly using non-ordinary tools; dancing, for example: a blurry dance, an inconspicuously dazzling dance; and different uses of the voice, such as singing, chanting, sounding, talking, and narration. The practice of the directions engages the performer within different and diverse characters and energies, without though trying or meaning to represent anything or anybody specific. The request is that every time one practices and performs the text, one does it anew, and so the practice demands that there are no set, fixed, favoured or repeated sequences. The fact of sharing the ten days project with twenty different participants, practicing together and performing our solos for the group, provides us with different experiences of a variety of people performing the same questions and text differently. The myriad of diverse possible interpretations of the same directions has an enriching and liberating effect. It is not about the movement sequence, it is about the moment. The sequence provides a shape for practising the performance of the moment.

At the end of the project we all signed a contract committing to a daily practice of the dance I’ll Crane for you, for an absolute minimum of 5 days a week for three months. This period of practice is a time to embody the questions within the shape of I’ll Crane for you and to practise the performance practice, by which I mean that we practise the practice developed by Deborah Hay. We daily apply and perform the ideas and methods that she has been evolving and teaching for more than three decades, and so with our daily rituals develop our own practice. It is a very holistic practice, demanding and challenging us physically, mentally and spiritually, which is why Hay requires a minimum of three months practice prior to any adaptation of her material. Such a practice involves a more organic process in the way that it immerses the whole being. From this experience it is possible to create one’s adaptation by creating a frame for the shape of the choreography. Later in this study, I will write about my perception of the process and practice, during which the notion of perception became a key element, as well as the concepts of performance and practice, which led me to adopt the notion of perception in performance practice.

3. Perception in Performance Practice 

The role of consciousness is choice.

Consciousness of movement is performance.

A performance meditation practice is the choice of the performer to exercise movement consciousness.

(Hay, 1994, p.3)

3.1. Perception

As the daily practice of the questions within the directions of the text are lived and enacted anew on each occasion, it is not possible to relax into a familiar movement sequence or to draw on fixed material. In other words, no reassurance comes from knowing what one is going to do. One is constantly in the unknown, having to respond spontaneously to every moment within the choreography. In this process I found that perception was one of the main tools and skills to rely on, and I in turn found my perception becoming more fine-tuned and developed with practice. As written by Hay, “My vision of the dancer, through the intervention of performance as a practice, is as a conscious flow of multiple perceptual occurrences unfolding continuously” (DHDC, 2008, c). In this writing I refer to the word perception as I consider it within Deborah Hay’s work and the consequent performance practice, without intending to give a sole definition of what perception means. Hay often uses the words attention, perception, awareness and consciousness interchangeably, all aiming to help us to be actively alive, practice and perform beyond the confines of who we think we are, to expand and enhance our attention and awareness and to open us up to the world, towards a higher or broader level of consciousness. I chose the word perception as it relates to a vast, multi-layered and simultaneous activity. It therefore also includes our perception of the text and the images and how these in turn can affect and alter our perception of the present, e.g. of space and time, of our environment, others and ourselves – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – and of the information we receive from our senses. 

I am addressing the capacity to perceive that is yours alone in the particular shapely way you perceive. My relationship to you is as an artist. The experience of your perception is the dance I want to see. How willing are you to reflect this artist – this continually changing intelligence in action? (Hay, 1994, p.38-39)

Cellular consciousness 

One of the dominant and sustaining metaphors in Hay’s cultivation of physicality is her postulation of body as the ever-changing cumulative performance of […] trillion[s of] semi-independent cells. Hay practices sensitizing herself to the mobility and responsiveness of body as so constituted. (Foster in Hay, 2000, p.xi)

I look at perception firstly in the sense of the feedback and information we receive from the cells of our body and our senses.  “Your respect for the intelligence of your whole body is unqualified” was one of Hay’s criteria to participate in the project, and “the whole body at once is the teacher” was a sentence she often used. It is a way of opening and expanding our capacity of listening and receiving information from the whole body, more than we might generally do or are used to or even can imagine. She further investigates this bodily awareness by suggesting that we listen to the feedback of our trillions of cells, which may sound like an impossible activity, but might nevertheless open new doors to perception.  

The dancing, practicing, learning and performing are all based on perceiving and receiving this immediate corporeal feedback, or “cellular consciousness” as Hay calls it. 

Your fifty trillion cells at once are your teacher. It is inconceivable to imagine what over fifty trillion cells will reveal from one moment to the next, but why not listen to this potential unfolding? The visibility of this intimacy is what constitutes the performance of your dance. (Hay, 1994, p.58)

“Hay reminds students that they are teaching themselves by attending rigorously to the body’s impulses” (Foster in Hay, 2000, p.xiv) or, as the twentieth century philosophical and spiritual writer and public speaker Krishnamurti said: “You have to become your own teacher and your own disciple” (in Scaravelli, 1991, p.41).

Hay’s practice and questions are a means to awaken awareness at the cellular level to contact the innate intelligence of the body. 

Hay’s approach […] constructs body as a site of exploration to which the dancer must remain vigilantly attentive. […] it playfully engages, willing to undertake new projects and reveal configurations of itself with unlimited resourcefulness. Students […] orient toward body as a generative source of ideas. Their reward comes less from mastering specific skills and more from the sense of the body unfolding as a site of infinite possibilities. (Foster in Hay, 2000, p.xiv-xv)

On one hand this approach might sound more generous and allowing instead of expecting and demanding. On the other hand the technique of cellular consciousness is highly rigorous and specific, demanding a vigilant awareness of all areas of the body. It is a “generative play between corporeality and consciousness “(Foster in Hay, 2000, p.ix), action and reflection. It is rigorous in the sense that it is a body-mind training, or, to even avoid such dichotomy or disconnection, it is a holistic practice which, unlike many other practices, does not have a recognizable, repeatable physical or vocal form or structure, but has less tangible parameters. It might not appear rigorous in its physical enactment in the sense that it does not have as an aim specific vigorous performances that impress with skills that are difficult to achieve and that are generally also recognized as belonging to a certain technique or style, such as ballet. It is rigorous in the sense that it demands one’s whole contribution; daily commitment, perceptual activity, particular imagination, without imitating or following somebody’s instructions. It demands non-attachment to any possible fixation of how something should be or that one does not search for or expect to achieve a specific style of performance, but, rather, that one is completely committed to what actually is present. This is difficult as it is a very different approach to what most of us as members of a contemporary western society are used to. And this difference is not solely in the physical appearance, but foremost in its mental and spiritual essence.

Receive the feedback – let go 

In order to be receptive one actually has to create space. Similar to some meditation or improvisation practices, it necessitates a calm, empty and open state. Instead of replacing or imposing something, the practice invites one to start from a place of generous accepting and allowing, of letting go and letting be. Because of the difficulty of not allowing the mind to not wander into distracting thoughts, Hay though uses mantra like questions, or “what if” suggestions as tools to keep the mind busy and eventually transcend the mantra and the mind. This practice does in fact not leave the mind completely open and free, and instead uses the questions to tame the mind and eventually relax into this quiet and receptive state. One such a question is:

What if,  “What if where I am is what I need,” is not an examination of what I need but an examination of the question “What if where I am is what I need?” What if less is more is not less? (Appendix 6.1.)

Hay provided us with three such chunks consisting each of two questions. They are tools to still the busy and critical mind, and to instead activate a practice of perceptual awareness, in which one continually notices bodily feedback within each particular moment and the environment, time and space. There is no need to search or look for, but to see what is there, instead of judging what is there. The second question was:

What if dance is how I practice my relationship with my whole body in relationship to the space where I am dancing in relationship to each passing moment in relationship to my audience? What if the depth of the question is on its surface? (Appendix 6.1.)

As Hay would say during the project: “Receive the feedback – let go”, the perceptual awareness, or the practice of relationship, is without attachment. There is no need to hold onto any observation or to create any mental reflection, explication or meaning, as expressed in Hay’s third and last question:

What if my choice to surrender the pattern of fixing on a singularly coherent idea, feeling, or object, when I am dancing – is a way of remembering to see where I am in order to surrender where I am? What if how I see while I am dancing is a means by which movement arises without looking for it? (Appendix 6.1.)

A saying by Hay, “you must die to be reborn”, or “ give it all up to get it all” by Baba Ram Dass, a contemporary spiritual teacher whose book Be here now (1971) had an impact on Hay’s work, communicate this same message of “receive the feedback – let go”. If one is holding onto for example the past, the future or one’s thoughts, risks are that one gets stuck, limited or is less present to the moment.

Here and now

Although Hay does not call her practice improvisational, it however rejects fixed, choreographed behaviour. In the three notes to the dancer which formed part of the text Hay provided us with for the solo, she writes: “Remove your sequencing from the sequence of movement directions” (Appendix 6.1.). It demands that one undoes automatic, conditioned or mechanical movements and avoids a tendency to be absent-minded or to fall back on memory or habits. Instead, Hay’s work intends to keep the performer constantly in the mode of exploration and the unknown, and so in the freshness of the here and now. “Playing awake” was the title of one of her group workshops and conveys a matter permeating throughout her life’s work. Her commitment is more to the moment rather than to the dancing or the choreography. Dancing and choreography are the media through which to practise, shape and perform this aliveness and alertness. “What if where I am is what I need, cellularly” and “What if now is here is harmony” are two of Hay’s riddles expressing this loyalty to and presence in the moment. Her dances are alive with the recognition of one’s conscious awareness and perceptual activity to the immediacy of the moment and so to the enactment of spontaneous moment-to-moment choices within the shape of the text.

Within the lab 

“Your perception is the dance”, Hay said during the project. In addition to what I have written so far about perception, perception also includes one’s connection to and relation with the whole beyond the notion of self. It even suggests a loosening or surrendering of the ego, and instead emphasises our being which is first and foremost perception and consciousness, before becoming involved in and sometimes even caught up in issues of identity, statements or authorship. As noted earlier, during the daily warm up of forty-five minutes, Hay told us to “Get what you need, within the lab”, already implying that we were within a sphere of attention and practice greater than ourselves. On the one hand this is reminiscent of the presence and the use of space and the other performers, and so the richness of possibilities, information and stimuli available to us. On the other hand it implies the awareness and subsequent deep-rooted knowledge and wisdom, that we are all but an element of the whole. As Foster says “ […] [Hay] intends to fashion a Taoist vision of the universe in which each human being exists as but a small part. In this universe, life’s dance is available to everyone sensitive to daily movement and willing to locate personal movement within the patterns of all movement” (Foster, 1986, p.8). This vision relates as well to Cunningham’s view of “points in space”, in the sense that both acknowledge and may give equal value to the whole space beyond the traditional theatre setting, as for example in the case of the proscenium arch theatre with the centre of the stage often being considered the most important place. In such a situation, the dancer is the main subject in space and the whole dance created so that it has frontal perspective. Hay’s approach to dance though is less abstract than Cunningham’s because she invites performers to be changed and altered by what they perceive and so encourages more engagement with the environment.  Perception though does not just mean perceiving what is around one, maintaining oneself as the main point of attention and the creator of this moment. It implies a bigger picture. One of the three questions posed by Hay concerns the notion that “dance is how I practice my relationship with my whole body in relationship to the space where I am dancing in relationship to each passing moment in relationship to my audience.”  But during the project Hay also said: “I don’t have to create a relationship with for example my body or the audience, I am in relationship with my body and the audience”. The notion of “within the lab” is as well expressed in her following quote: “I believe my cellular body knows dialogue [with all there is] in a way that I rarely experience in ordinary life” (Hay, 2000, p.55). Her idea of relation implies as well the perception or knowledge that this connection always and already exists, and so instead of intending to create and do, she rather encourages us to perceive and be present to what anyway, always and already is. Foster further develops this idea in regards to movement when writing:

[Deborah’s] choreography is informed by her willingness to see the world as motion, to see that movement is everywhere…. Dancing is the activity of being present in and consciously aware of one’s own movement as part of this flux. (Foster, 1986, p.6-7)

While Hay’s use of “within the lab” refers more directly to the studio or maybe the performance setting, I would further locate her approach and work within an awareness and understanding of the bigger, wider web of life.

Constant Change

In addition to the web of life, Hay’s implication of the nature and perception of change includes the flow of life; the impermanence of life and the constant presence of death:

What if dying is movement in communion with all there is? What if impermanence is a steadily transforming present? Seeing impermanence requires admitting that nothing I see is forever. I am the impermanence I see. (1994, p.8)

This quotation again perceives the self as related to and as part of what one sees, and, in this sense, within the reality of life and death. This approach though does not suggest any human drama in the sense of loss and mourning associated with one’s own or a beloved one’s death. “Seeing impermanence requires admitting that nothing I see is forever. From this perspective, wonders never cease” (Hay, 1994, p.12). Truth is living and therefore changing and so, the only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance of life. A common way of expressing this would be “to go with the flow” or, as Bruce Lee says:” to change with the change is the changeless state” (Little, 1996, p.20). Whilst everything is flowing and changing, one’s consciousness, as well as one’s consciousness of impermanence, is the constant. This however requires a continuity of attention, which is what Hay’s work aims to practice. “Continuity of attention requires dying to the continuity of inattention. Invite being seen dying to the continuity of inattention” (Hay, 1994, p.83, author’s italics). Hay’s work does not have a linear narrative or a set movement vocabulary but the continuity of attention and hence perception, is the connecting thread of the work – the practice and the performance. 

What if tower is a metaphor for consciousness and babble is the reality check? Tower is the attention. Babble is each moment of movement. I imagine every cell in my body at once has the potential to perceive the toweringness of its babble.  (Hay, 2000, p.103-104) 

Thus, in acknowledging the human subject as part of the bigger web of life, and every moment as part of the constant flow of time, we appreciate that it is our consciousness which keeps us connected, or that which awakens our awareness of this connection to the whole: the constant and the all-encompassing or universal consciousness. Hay’s practice of perception and attention to the moment is the main content and continuity of her work, as she mentioned during the project: “The piece goes forward by returning right here.” Thus, Hay removes the attempt, demand and possible pressure to create a literal meaning or a thematic continuity, and instead suggests a trusting in surrendering to and collaboration with what is right here and now. Through attention, awareness and perception, her work encourages communion, and instead of taking us as human subjects or performers- each with our thoughts, beliefs, expectations and intentions- too serious, her work is serious in maintaining this communion. Rather than representing or recreating this communion through compositional choreographic choices relating to a theme of communion, in a more spiritual sense she invites us as witnesses and performers of her work to perceive this always and already existing communion.

3.2. Performance

Transcendence

I recognize my choreography when I see a dancer’s self-regulated transcendence of his/her choreographed body within in a movement sequence that distinguishes one dance from another.  (DHDC, 2007, d)

The verb “to transcend” comes from the Latin prefix “trans-“ meaning across, beyond, over and “scandere” meaning to climb (Oxford English Dictionary, 1971, p.3378). In the context of this project, the daily performance practice is a means to climb across or move beyond our limitations, boundaries or even thoughts and cognition. As articulated by Hay “The intention of my work is to dislodge assumptions about the fixity of the three-dimensional body” (1994, jacket back cover). I would further include as part of this body our being, mind, perception, self- and worldview.

As in meditation, Hay’s practice of perception and attention to the moment allows an opening up and a going beyond the thinking and reflexive mind into a deeper state of awareness. This opening up or deeper state of awareness is beyond duality, classification or categorization. There is no right or wrong as such, but the totality of what is; the concrete and its many possibilities. 

Hay’s paradoxical questions or tasks cannot be answered or fully executed, suspending any notion of logic or reason. As a result, the performer is engaged inherently with an exploration and experimentation of what is or what he or she perceives at a given moment, for example, the body in relationship to space, time and to others. Hay uses language to transcend the fixity of language, our thoughts and the mind. The questions and text can be embodied in so many different ways, forms, that the practice opens up a huge richness of possibilities as well as the inner understanding, knowing or sensation of what precedes or exceeds separation and division. Hay’s words: “my body feels weightless in the presence of paradox” (Hay, 2000, p.74), expresses this constant idea of opening up, of creating space between thoughts and so of creating space or becoming spacious, as opposed to the linear nature of thoughts and language. The use of poetry and paradox in language is less linear or forward moving, and instead unfolds and moves as well on other planes, allowing and stimulating other responses, images and perceptions. 

This spaciousness can also be referred to Hay’s use of the word “weightlessness”; a result of more or less freedom from thoughts, cognition and thus disengagement with the ego and the concern for a representation of one’s identity. Through attention to each moment and bypassing any assumptions, Hay’s practice asks from the performer a surrendering and a submission to a kind of transparency. Neither Hay nor the performer intends to make a certain statement, representation or expression of the self. As she said during the project “I am not showing anybody anything, I am inviting being seen in the practice of performance.” Her performance practice creates a way of performing which is not about the self, the choreographer or a subject matter, and instead uses the body and the practice as a means to transcendence. 

Hay emphasizes again and again that she is not “herself” when she dances. Nor is she herself impersonating someone or something else. Dance for her is “self”- transcendent. Like the world of which she is a part, Hay moves as a fluid, changing congeries of metaphorical images that consort with one another in grace and harmony. (Foster, 1986, p.13) 

Being and Presence

…And when the dances disappear…

and there is just you…

You’ll be in touch

not with the movement of your form in space

…but of the movement of the atoms and molecules

of which you are made

and that

surround you…

(Hay, 1975, p.1)

This perceptive, communal, transcending quality of Hay’s work makes room for the performer to be. She sets simple or just enough parameters to occupy and frame the performer, though not too much or too fixed, so as to allow space for the experience of the moment. “Less is more is not less” is a sentence from her questions. She invites us as performers to release into the moment and into being, rather than trying to do or be something. During the project she would tell us to “step up to it” instead of “stepping into it”. She encourages us to be present to what is instead of searching or trying for something else. Her text also addresses the notion of being and not being, or nothingness, when in our score we, the performers of the given solo, quote Beckett saying: “Strictly speaking I believe I’ve never been anywhere”. This then in the score is followed by: “And he falls through the waa waa, or void, or free fall, barely moving away from where he stands” (Appendix 6.1.). Hay’s practice on one hand aims to engage the performer and the audience, waking us up, asking us to be fully present, aware, perceptive and alive, instead of daydreaming or sluggishness. On the other hand it demands a constant being present to the moment and with what is, as such, without getting caught and drifted away by our thoughts, expectations, mental projections or control. It is an active release into the here and now, into being present. From that state one realizes that movement is all the time and everywhere, and that one can be moved by the perception of that movement and move from that awareness. As formulated by Hay: “I abandon holding onto the shape of me. I am movement without looking for it “(2000, p.2).

She generally abandons holding onto fixed, static ideas, beliefs or an image of the self, and therefore suggests being and moving from the imagination of our trillions of cells in radical transformation every moment, instead of one coherent entity. Being in this sense is beyond a notion of the self or a singular self-conscious identity, and instead is a being alive and moving as and within the whole; being flux in a corporeal body within the flux of the universe.  Similar to meditation again, her practice is especially addressing the mind, in the sense of liberating the performer from his or her limiting and diminishing thoughts, of fear, self-judgement and prejudices, and so connecting to the real being.

While creating space for the being, Hay’s work though is not focussing on the notion of being, but rather on being present, through the body.  Another of her notes to the dancer is: “do not lose command of how you use your weight”(Appendix 6.1.).  We are in a constant relationship with gravity and so being present is also being aware and sensitive of our weight and the support of the floor. Relaxing into the moment is also physically translated into releasing into and out of gravity. This does not prescribe and should not be confused with a certain kind of moving, as for example only soft, released movements. It is practically and simply stressing our connection to the ground – gravity and our weight being the constant – and so our ability and artistry of our use of our weight. One’s presence to the moment and to gravity is as well connected to one’s breath. Being connected to one’s breath is being connected to one’s innermost being, to the constant movement of one’s breathing and one’s connection with the space through the constant exchange of air. Being present to the moment, connected to one’s breath and weight, and based on the perception of what is, being in command of one’s weight is intending the movement and fully embodying our moment to moment choices with the right amount of tension. The performance practice thus extends the notion of being and presence, suggesting “that there can be more to the moment than just “being” in it” (DHDC, 2008, b). Out of the perception and the knowledge of the moment, one can twist it, adding one’s creativity and imagination.

Embodiment

As in somatic practices, Hay uses language to stimulate our own ways of exploring and embodying her images – of moving and performing – and so addresses the creative, imaginative artist within the performer. Through her metaphorical and paradoxical questions and scores, and her whole performance practice method, she primarily invites the spirit to inhabit the body and take form. As already mentioned earlier, her practice is a holistic practice, and, as she writes herself, “the physical feeling of wholeness may be evidence of the presence of spirit in the body” (Hay, 1994, p.67). The third of her notes to the performer says: “remove your tendency to hesitate”(Appendix 6.1.). Hesitation in dance or in performance is mainly linked to uncertainty and doubt, which result mostly from the thinking ego interfering and blocking the flow, creating a mental barrier. This is often referred to as a dichotomy or body-mind separation. By playing with the letters of the word fear, Hay, during the project, gave a humorous translation that fear is forgetting that everything is all right. She thus intends to stimulate and reawaken our trust, faith and confidence, and to perform from a connected, holistic state. More than addressing a body-mind connection, the practice intends to move and be moved by the soul or spirit. The performance practice thus can be translated as a daily practice to embody the spirit through the form of the body and the configuration of the present moment.

3.3. Practice

It is about the practice

Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art.

-Stanislavsky

The practice is like a prayer, that one keeps doing – on a daily basis – without asking anything back or expecting a certain result. “Four months of attention is guided to cellularly living each passing moment. Nothing is gained beyond the realization of an infinite process” (Hay, 1994, p.27). It is a process without attachment. I refer the practice to prayer because it is like a selfless worship in communication to the spirit. Prayer in this context though is “liberated from content and replaced by a peaceful alertness” (Hay, 2000, p.55). While the first months felt like an opening and liberating period of new discoveries and perceptions, after months of practice and working on this written document, I started to put more pressure onto the work. My critical, judgemental mind was back and filled me with doubts about and during the practice. I wondered where the practice and project brought or would bring me, and what it was good for. I started to build again upon my set of expectations and opinions about dance and performance. It made me feel uncertain that after months of practicing I did not have anything graspable to hold on to, no reassurance that the performance will be good, and so I entered again my “good or bad” frame of thinking. The wish to know what I am going to do and to prepare it well, making sure that it will be a successful performance, pulled me away from the nature of the work. Fear and self-consciousness kicked in, and so my ego as a performer filled the practice with thoughts and led to a weakening of my presence. The spirituality in the sense of letting go of the ego was lost and so the wonder and beauty of the work were gone. 

Limitation and freedom

With time and practice I actually felt like getting lost within the freedom and possibilities of the practice, constantly trying to challenge myself in changing and exploring the text anew. I felt the need or wish to set some material, or to create specific structures and limitations. I also felt the necessity or expectation to add my artistic signature and take some compositional or choreographic choices beforehand. Without ignoring these feelings and thoughts though, I came to the resolution that my main limitation and rule was to stick to the practice as it is, without any doubt. That I shall surrender my ego and further commit and dedicate myself to an unquestionable adherence to the practice and that the main focus shall remain to stay present, or play awake, without getting drifted away by thoughts. Rigour in this work shall be about attention. Still concerned with structure and limitation I decided to not impose it onto the performance practice, but translate it into the frame of the practice; as the time and place, the warm up and physical training. Creating a regular time and space structure, the situation and environment, to let the body and spirit free, in devotion to conscious, focused attention and presence.

Continuous practice

It is a very different practice to what most of us members of a contemporary western society are used to or would consider as a practice, which is even why I stress the notion of practice and that it requires a constant practice. It is a practice without a linear construct as for example the projection and work towards a future goal with the expectation of and the resulting satisfaction upon reaching it. It is a holistic practice of the moment, including the perception and transcendence of projections and expectations that one might have in relation to a practice, as for example when practicing or training in the ballet technique. Although it is a physical bodily performance practice, it is closer to meditation in its approach and essence, especially in taming, calming and transcending the linear, thinking mind and ego. It therefore is very different to our contemporary western society and its existing and expected ways of being and functioning. In the same way as meditation, especially for a beginner’s mind in a contemporary western urban life, it requires regular practice. I experienced how easily I lost or became disconnected from the state that the performance practice requires and practices. 

During the first three months of daily practice at the London Contemporary Dance School, I experienced how the daily practice expanded into and affected my daily life. This became particularly noticeable when I then took a break for four weeks to go on holiday. Although I would bring the practice into my day at different times and different places, I missed the regular, constant and framed practice, and it felt as if I was losing some magical beauty of being. Upon resuming the daily practice back in the setting of my MA project, it took a while to get back into it and so I practiced the questions again on their own, outside of the shape of the text, to gradually embody them again. This made it evident to me that it is a continuous life’s practice and process – physically performing perceptual awareness and embodying the spirit – whether it be on one’s own, with others or in a performance setting, and that, as simple as it might sound, the performance practice is about the performance practice.

4. Conclusion

I practiced the solo from September 2008 till March 2009, and did two performances as part of this MA project, the 19th and 20th of March 2009. This gave me the opportunity to experience the difference between two consecutive performances with different audiences and especially with my altering perception and energy. The first performance – with the stress and build up of tension from organising the event and performing for family, friends and tutors – felt like an energetic physical, mental and emotional release. With the adrenalin the performance was quicker and shorter. I however felt wholly committed to the practice, involved and immersed in the moment and in what I was doing. While I approached the first performance within the performance practice state that I had been practicing so far, without deciding or expecting anything else, I thus, more or less consciously, as a result of that first performance, projected expectations upon the second performance the next day. I thus did not enter the second performance afresh, but from the memory of and in comparison to the previous day. I also decided to be more perceptive and inclusive of the audience – who were sitting around me along the four walls – seeing their faces and making eye contact. This however made me become more self-conscious and distracted, interpreting their facial expressions, and so thoughts pulled me away from the practice state. I became self critical and judgmental and the momentousness of my perceptual performance practice faded away. I started to feel lost within the work and so quite vulnerable. However, it was when I used my perception of these emotions – embodying them while at the same time not being attached to them – that I was again within the performance practice state and allowed intimacy while to a certain degree transcending the self. Perception within the performance practice, from cellular consciousness towards and within the lab -receiving the feedback and letting go – is a continuous process of constant total moment-to-moment attention without attachment. By transcending the linear, cognitive mind and the self-concern of the ego, and by being physically, mentally and emotionally present to what is, right here and now, Hay’s choreography and performance practice provides a shape for the performance of perception and the embodiment of the spirit. Her work and method, developed over more than three decades, and practiced and performed by hundreds of people over this time span all over the world, creates some sort of a dance religion and community. I suggest that Hay’s work, through the use of paradox and metaphor, and her sort of impossible juggling tasks, create conditions where one is out of control and lets go of the holding onto the ego, thus opening and reconnecting us to the wider web and flow of life. The performance thus is not about the choreography or the dancer, but reveals the dance itself – the dance of the spirit. 

Although I previously mentioned in this writing that there is no tangible goal to achieve with the practice, the aim of Hay’s work thus, in addition to her statement on her website (DHDC, 2008, a), would be a playing awake with intelligence – the cultivation of our energetic and spiritual being and relationship to this world and life – for us performers as well as the audience. The performance practice thus, through the alert attention of the performer, might further open new doors of perception, experience and existence within audience members.

 

5. Bibliography:

Deborah Hay Solo Commissioning Project. (2008). I’ll crane for you: choreography, text, directions: Deborah Hay. Findhorn, Scotland: Deborah Hay, Independent Dance & Bodysurf Scotland (August 27- September 09).

Books, periodicals and documents obtained from the internet:

Banes, S. (1980). Terpischore in sneakers: Post-modern dance. Boston.: Houghton  Mifflin.

Banes, S. (1993). Democracy’s Body: Judson Dance Theater, 1962-1964. Duke University Press.

Conze, E., Horner, I.B., Snellgrove, D., & Waley, A. (1995). Buddhist texts through the ages. Oxford: One World.

Dass, R. (1971). Remember: Be here now. USA: Hanuman Foundation.

Deborah Hay Dance Company (a). (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2008, from: http://www.deborahhay.com/dancecompany.html

Deborah Hay Dance Company (b). (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2008, from:

http://www.deborahhay.com/spcp.html

Deborah Hay Dance Company (c). (n.d.). Performance as practice. Retrieved November 2, 2008, from: http://www.deborahhay.com/Performance%20as%20Practice.html

Deborah Hay Dance Company. (2007). How do I recognize my choreography? Retrieved November 2, 2008, from: http://www.deborahhay.com/How%20do%20I%20recognize.html

Drobnick, J. (2006) Deborah Hay: A performance primer. Performance Research 11(2), pp.43-57.

Foster, S. L. (1986). Reading dancing: bodies and subjects in contemporary American dance. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Hay, D. (1975). Moving through the universe in bare feet: ten circle dances for everybody. U.S.A: Swallow Press.

Hay, D. (1994). Lamb at the altar: the story of a dance. Durham and London: Duke University.

Hay, D. (2000). My body, the Buddhist.  Hanover and London: Wesleyan University Press.

Johnson, D. H. (1995). Bone, breath and gesture : Practices of embodiment. Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.

Krasner, D., & Saltz, Z. D. (2006). Staging philosophy: Intersection of theater, performance, and philosophy. Michgan: University of Michigan Press.

Little, J. (1996). The Warrior Within: The philosophies of Bruce Lee to better understand the world around you and achieve a rewarding life. USA: Contemporary Books.

Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962). Phenomenology of perception. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Oxford English Dictionary (1971).  The compact edition of the Oxford English dictionary: Volume II, P-Z. U.S.A: Oxford University Press.

Tufnell, M., & Crickmay, C. (1990). Body, space, image: Notes towards improvisation and performance. London: Virago.

Tufnell, M., & Crickmay, C. (2004). A widening field: Journeys in body and imagination. Hampshire: Dance Books.

Scaravelli, V. (1991). Awakening the spine: The stress-free new yoga that works with the body to restore health, vitality and energy. San Francisco: Harper.

Sennett, R. (2008). The Craftsman. London: Allen Lane.

Radon, L. (2006, September 20). I Still Ask Because It’s Interesting: Deborah Hay Chat. Pica. Retrieved November 27, 2008, from: http://www.urbanhonking.com/pica/2006/09/i_still_ask_because_its_intere.html

Varela, F. J., & Shear, J. (1999). The view from within : First-person approaches to the study of consciousness. Thorverton: Imprint Academic.

Winship, L. (2005, June). Deborah Hay and Guest: The Match: Between brilliance, white noise. Ballet-dance magazine. Retrieved November 27, 2008, from: http://www.ballet-dance.com/200506/articles/Hay20050505.html

 

6. Appendices

6.1. I’ll crane for you (2008): questions, notes and text by Deborah Hay, as given by her to the participants at the first day of the Solo Performance Commissioning Project

Three questions of the dancer

 What if,  “What if where I am is what I need,” is not an examination of what I need but an examination of the question “What if where I am is what I need?”.  What if less is more is not less?

 

What if dance is how I practice my relationship with my whole body in relationship to the space where I am dancing in relationship to each passing moment in relationship to my audience? What if the depth of the question is on its surface?

           

What if my choice to surrender the pattern of fixing on a singularly coherent idea, feeling, or object, when I am dancing – is a way of remembering to see where I am in order to surrender where I am? What if how I see while I am dancing is a means by which movement arises without looking for it?

 

Notes for the dancer

remove your sequencing from the sequence of movement directions;

remove any tendency to  hesitate, and,

do not lose command of how you use your weight.

Text

Like a fan opening, the stage space comes to life with his entrance – a single curved path.

With an emphasis on blurring the path before him, he performs a blurry dance in blurry space, increasing the stage space he occupies. Blurry is a sensual feeling within a sensually perceived space that includes the audience. Blurry does not refer to his state of mind. He invites being seen performing a blurry dance in blurry space messing with the history of the fourth wall, the separation between the audience and him. He is making an effort to loosen this historical construct. He does not want to be identified as other and he assumes the same of the audience.

He sings a beautiful untranslatable song. He sees the song he sings so he does not have to invent it. He calmly interrupts the song to continue performing it as movement without sound, but, he will sing the song’s last two or three notes.

What follows is:

a) 13 steps. Look look. 2 steps. Turn turn turn. Arms.

The first time a) is performed, he follows the sequence literally, more or less. He interprets the sequence the second time it is repeated. The third time he chants the movement sequence, without dancing.

A second blurry dance in blurry space is performed as he moves more deeply into the stage space, intensifying his dancing.

When his hands touch above his head he produces a brief quiet cry to introduce a spontaneous story that begins with the words “I thought everything…” The story is simple and cosmic. There is almost a gesture that accompanies the story that might seemingly look appropriate. He is not obliged to finish the story, instead he completely releases the tension from having to tell a spontaneously simple cosmic story, visibly relaxing.

He says, “Strictly speaking I believe I’ve never been anywhere.” (Beckett).  And he falls through the waa waa, or void, or free fall, barely moving away from where he stands.

He begins performing landscape, offering the audience, and himself, different angles for observing this same landscape, more or less.  He does not create a landscape but notices it wherever he is. (It is difficult to keep from creating landscape.

He performs 2 steps forward, 1 step back, a metaphor for life. There is no evidence that his dance represents 2 steps forward, 1 step back.  He notices the metaphor wherever he is in his dancing. He relies on 2 steps forward, 1 step back, as a meter and measure for traveling from point A to point B.

Turn turn turn turn turn turn turn….

Turn turn turn turn turn turn turn …

He cultivates a row, with the same spirit as a gardener. He cultivates the use of his voice with the same respect he applies to his movements. The row is then undone, literally and audibly.

He performs singing storyteller, with an untranslatable tale for his real audience and also an imagined one. The tale leads him to the edge of the stage.

Here he performs an inconspicuously dazzling dance in a blurry space.

Grope and find it and pull it out*, draws him away from the edge.

He builds something massive while moving quickly using non-ordinary tools. No one can tell what he is doing. He goes into the audience to assess his work onstage. He returns to resumes that work, adding his voice to strengthen the massive construct.

Fade to black.

*Grope and find it and pull it out is a metaphor for the creative process. It is not meant to be illustrative.

 

6.2. Author’s poems based on the practice

On my feet

Bones to heels

I unwind

Extending my resources

Voicings

Sensing the vastness of possibilities

Ables to be done

Nor holding on

While dancing through the universe

Guided by a voice in tune with the cosmos

Carried by the melody carpet

Driven by the rhythms of my pulse

And leaning back

Into the space of trust

Supported by intuition

And based on presence

The treasure of space and time

Shattered into trillions of trillions

By the bright truth

Conscious corporeality

Transcendence

I thank thee

The beginning

The prowess of perception

Spirited and valiant 

Opening the gates

With the embodiment of acceptance

Together

Receiving and offering

In harmony with now and here

Surrendering just so

The marvellous beauty of this simple jewel

Right to the core

Graceful and sound

Maestro of the moment

Instead of being concerned

With what should be first and what next

I vow to the unfolding flow and motion

Letting be

Allowing the seeds to blossom

Just as life dances through them

Delighted by the course of existence

Out of the fortress

Into the sphere of being

Drinking the nectar of universal love

Purifying all and everything

Disassembling fear and fright

Stripping down illusion and ignorance

No pretence

No to cowardliness

Unquestionable adherence to the practice

Thankful for the bits and bolts

The means

Union

Free motion prayer

The art of inclusion

Accepting and welcoming

Into the circle

Abandoning the censor

Refining the three dimensional all encompassing mind

Becoming fine again

Nurturing the roots

Acknowledging their essence

And contemplating the process of the creation

Of the branches and fruits

Wings and travels

On the path, the journey, the dance

Twisting and turning

Skipping and spinning

Tip toeing and sliding

Stamping and rolling

Down and up

The hills, the mountains, the valleys

Crossing rivers

Bathing in the lakes

And diving the oceans

The sky

The eternal continuation

Of a rolling stone

Set free by compassion

Full of burning energy

Repeating though never repeating

Tales of times and places

Lights shining

Through caves and cages

Radiating and extending

Far beyond

Illuminating the wa wa

Empty mind

Delighted by the upheaval

Paradoxical lightness

Synthesis

Riding the dragon

Changing with the change

The changeless state

Life of death of life

 

6.3. Deborah Hay’s criteria for the assessment of the performance of I’ll crane for you (2008)

I recognize my choreography when I see a dancer’s self-regulated transcendence of his/her choreographed body within in a movement sequence that distinguishes one dance from another

-Deborah Hay

The aesthetic preferences and artistic orientation of the performer in the Solo Commissioning Project conceived by Deborah Hay:

• Your ability to laugh at your serious intentions at any given moment is a tool you like to remember to use

• You have explored ‘self-expression’ and found it limiting as a means to create performance continuity

• You are drawn to explore movement in all its variety – either through a cultivated or ingrained absence of discrimination

• You are not content with partial practice

• You want your process to be continually challenged

• Your respect for the intelligence of your whole body is unqualified

• In performance, your non-attachment to professional training in dance or techniques is acting as a source of on-going insight, and delight

• You are without fear of appearing foolish in your capacity to violate form in order to recognize where and why it exists

• Integral to your experience of performance is an inclusive regard for the presence of your audience

• You are becoming or already are skilled at monitoring your own performance

Application and embodiment of the three question:

 What if,  “What if where I am is what I need,” is not an examination of what I need but an examination of the question “What if where I am is what I need?”.  What if less is more is not less?

What if dance is how I practice my relationship with my whole body in relationship to the space where I am dancing in relationship to each passing moment in relationship to my audience? What if the depth of the question is on its surface?

What if my choice to surrender the pattern of fixing on a singularly coherent idea, feeling, or object, when I am dancing – is a way of remembering to see where I am in order to surrender where I am? What if how I see while I am dancing is a means by which movement arises without looking for it?

Adherence to the notes for the dancer:

remove your sequencing from the sequence of movement directions;

remove any tendency to  hesitate, and,

do not lose command of how you use your weight.

Adherence to the shape of I’ll crane for you and formulation of a frame, which is intended to:

add my artistic sensibility to the dance, without losing sight of Deborah Hay’s choreography, and

lend a sense of mystery, poetry, and/or particularity to my adaptation of I’ll Crane for you.

 

6.4. Deborah Hay Solo Performance Commissioning Project 2008 Patron List

Australia

P & G Bryant

E & T Harrington

E Ladlay

R Ladlay

Caroline Lee

Victorian College of the Arts Friends Association

Belgium

Eleanor Bauer

Rosas Dance Company

 

Canada

Paul Baines

Inga Beamish

James Beamish

Canada Council for the Arts 

Emmauel de Chaconnette 

Ayal Dinner

Myra David

Linor David

Jake Grady 

Peter E. Grady

Roberta Hanson

Garry and Sharon Hapton 

Vaughn Harris 

Janine Harris-Wheatley

Lisa Hering

Brian Jensen 

Debra Jensen
Erin Jensen 

Joy Jones 

Trish Lahde 

Benji Loomer

David Mallard 

Thomas Mallon

Catherine Mellanger

Melissa Monteros

Michèle Moss

Alan Page 

Don and Pam Munroe
Andrea Nann

Ontario Arts Council – Chalmers Arts Fellowship

Tiffany Pelletier
Andrea Peneycad

Simi Rowen

Lucy Rupert

Jim Shore 

Virginia Tumasz
Candice Walker

Louise Walker

The Williams Family 

Janet Winger
Peter Ykelenstam

France

Association I.C.I

Association l’éclaboussée  

Compagnie Process  

Eulalie Berger

Sylvie Berthomé

Jacotte Bourdon 

Agathe Corbineau

Léo Dauvergne

Rachel et Thomas Dauvergne

Ben Evans 

Micheline Kassum

Astrid Leray 

Dominique Langlet 

Brigitte Maltet 

Gérard Maltet 

Hélène Marthaler  

Emilie Rosenvallon 

Richard Sandra

   

Germany/Hungary

Viktor Bedo 

 

Hungary

Walter Hutchinson, MBA admissions expert, Application Advantage.com

Ireland

The Arts Council, Ireland / An Chomhairle Ealaíon

Dublin City Council

Fiona McGeown

Luxembourg

Ministère de la Culture, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche

 

Singapore

Hwee Loo Tan

UK

Catherine Burton-Cartledge 

Adrian Carvalho 

Staff and students of Laban 

Bahia Dawlatly 

Helen Shemilt 

Adam Williams

USA

Arizona

Marianne Klm 

California

Jessica Archer

Bonnie Baron

Judy Bebelaar
Lorelei Bayne                                       

Michelle Branch

Kathy Rae Brandenburg       

Cathy Broder                          

Brion Charles 

Betsy & Elsie Chinn                     Steven Chinn

Suzanne and Lou Cossa   

Brad Crowell and Gary Koehler 

Margaret DeCoursey

Roger Dillahunty/Jazz Blues          Sheila Dodd

Carol Dorf        

Kathy Evans

Laura Finkler 

foolsFURY Theater 

Helen Harris

Tobey Kaplan                            

Kristin Lee Kelly

Lindy Khan                                

Catherine Kim and Colin Walker

Tracy Koretsky 

Mary Lee

The Linden Tree School            

Mick Mize 

Pamela Norton

Jeannie Perry

Loduskia Pierce  

Dr. Bruce Rizzo   

Jaime Ross/Betsy Reiss  

Susan Schacher

Dana Schwartz-Benedetto

Susan Sibbit

Rachel Stern

Eugene & Diane Sunnen              

Mei Ann Teo 

Carla Thornton

Paul Traina 

The Vo’s Restaurant

Lee Warren 

Michael Wittels 

USA CA/Japan

Takahiro Yamamoto 

Connecticut

Doug Seldin

Delaware

James Betty Wolynetz

Florida

Larry & Beatrice Broer

Liz Carl

Philip Cohen and Susan Rudd Cohen 

Lori & Dick Dietrich

Mary Fournier

Kerry Glamps

Jean Moore

Melanie and Gene Perkins

Gertrude Rudd 

Hawaii

Laura Hymers Treglia

Illinois

Alice and Bob Eagly

Kentucky

Marc Masterson and Patti Melvin

Maine

Mary Spring 

Massachusetts

Catherine Bartash

Mary Blanchette

Dana Blankschtein

Scott Cummings 

Paul Kolas

Lynn Modell

Marjorie Morgan

Catherine Murcek

Sheryl Stoodley

Gloria Yong

Michigan

Fumiko Ladd Chino

Janet O’Keefe

New Jersey

Phillip Graneto                                  Elisabeth Hostetter                               

Rowan University, Glassboro

Uta Takemura 

New York

Anonymous

Adam and Myung-Hee

Akiko Aizawa 

Bobbye Sue Albrecht

Carolyn Anderson 

Vicki Angel 

Sharon Arpey

Monica Bill Barns 

Vilém Beneš 

Wendy Blum 

Anne Bogart

Padraig Bond

Rebecca Brown

Alyce Gilbert Briggs

Elena Brower 

Lynn Brown

Trisha Brown and Burt Barr 

Elizabeth Cannon

Yanira Castro

Mary Chan

Tessa Chandler

Debbie Cheretun

Yoshiko Chuma

Cindy Chung Camins

Mitchell Conway

Alexandra Collier

Christina and Rich Cocchiara     

Iris Cohen Selinger 

Phyllis Cohen and James Wagner 

Will Cohen

Alison D’Amato

Jessica Del Vecchio

Janice Dugan

Ursula Eagly

Nathan Elbogen

Gretchen Elkins & Claire Sheedy
Barbara Elliman 

Debra Fernandez

The Field 

Ford Foundation 

Bonnie Lee Foss

Jeffrey Frace 

Xian and Tara Frederickson

Alex Frost

Victoria Fu

Marie Glotzbach

Kate Garrick
Dano Goodman 

Jake Goodman

Jacob Goodwin

Robert and Sarah Goodwin

Scott Gregory 

Mary E. Gribbon

Barbara Gulan

Daniel Gundrum and Stephen Apking

James Hall

Guta Hedwig 

Ann Henderson

Brett Hool 

Mark Huang

Ann Jaffe

Arielle Javitch 

Renee and Leon Kaplan
Yannick Kassum

Maria Kelly and Matthew Stucky 

Katherine Kersak

Barbara Kilpatrick and Chuck Bardes
Catherine Kim and Richard Bonnabeau

Kelly Kivland

Ellen Lauren

Jeremy Laverdure

Stephanie Lazzara and Sean Ferrell Alexandra Litow

Tracy Lizmiller

Deborah Lohse

Jessica Lorence

Diane Madden

Donnie Mather

Peter Maurer

Sarah Maxfield 

Lori McCaskill 

Patrick McKern

Kathy Mendenhall

Margo Mensing

Megan Metcalf

Shira Milikowsky 

Elizabeth Moreau 

Emily Moore

Margaret Murray and Michael Blodget
Katy Myers

Susan Myhr-Fritz and Dan Fritz 

Brandi Norton 

Barney O’Hanlon

Kirk and Liz Radke

Jyothi Rao and Mischa Retman

Molly Rabinowitz 

Steven Reker 

Sophia Remolde 

Brian Rogers and Sheila Lewandowsk

Katy Rogers 

Abi Rollins 

Jenna Rotner 

Barbara Rosenthal

Jen Sale 

Eva C Schegulla

Theresa Scheorndorf 

Jeff Segrave

Regine Anna Seckinger

Gregory Serdahl 

Dan and Diane Shapiro

Amy Shaw and Jae Kim

Kim Sheridan

Vicky Shick 

Skidmore College

Emily Spalding

Alice Stock

Gabriella Szabo 

Megan Wanlass Szalla 

Nicole Taney 

Jean Taylor

Michele Thompson 

Danny Tieger

Tricia Toliver 

Sarah Van Buren

Aynsley Vandenbroucke

Sarah Vant’Hul

Virayoga

Laurel Voss

Deb Wallace

Alex Walsh and Sam Kim

Norman and Judith Walsh

Stephen Webber

Kim Weild

Kathy Westwater and Jae Lee

Elizabeth Hope Williams

Jaan Whitehead

Ohio

Eleni Papleonardos

Oregon

Bethany Ides

Zdena and Eda Skotak

Diana Redden

Pennsylvania

Kathryn Alexander Foundation              

Andrew Buss                                       

Tom Lowy                                        

Dan Martin and Michael Biello   

Dance Advance          

Pennsylvania Council on the Arts        

Mark and Peggy Rubin Narberth

Eleanor Wilner                                     

Philadelphia 

Douglas and Margaret Black    

Dance Advance

Daniel Croft, Sr.

Michael and Cherie Flannery

Vincent and Vicki Flannery

Eugene and Dorothy Gundrum

Eve Miller 

Joel and Jennifer O’Donnell

Kathryn Schaff

Tennessee

Gary McCardell

Texas

Ann Daly

Shawn Sides

Jack Young

West Virginia

Sarah Corcoran and Yiorgos Allayannis

Wisconsin

Debbie Ann Stellpflug Clarkin

Randy and Deb Davis

Elaine and Harvey Flesberg

Kristin Kettleson

Froee