Class Descriptions of Current Workshops

I’m sitting on my aura

“… politics is activity already in motion. It does not await ignition.” – Randy Martin

Currently I am looking at the ways in which the actions in a society of individuals produce an experience of multivalent, multi-layered, unstable, and dynamic meaning(s). Perhaps this is another way of defining “choreography.” I think that the value of choreography now is that it can be a framework for deploying difference in a time of increasing anxiety. I would like to share these questions and explorations in the context of a workshop.

In my explorations thus far I have been returning to strategies of improvisation and movement building that I used earlier in my career, as well as some that have stuck with me over the years. I am exploring how bodies experience energy and identity in proximity and distance to one another. I keep returning to a kinetics that is insistent and multi-directional, dissatisfied with its own arrivals and representations. But now I am layering these approaches with knowledge I have amassed from years of studies into somatics, queer theory, and theories about perception. Language – an element of my work for many years now – has been coming out as I dance in more fragmented ways than before. I am also playing with some basic lighting elements, with special attention to the qualitative differences between fluorescent and incandescent (filament-based) lighting fixtures. I am also interested in dancing in semi or near darkness, enjoying its ability to frustrate the act of seeing while also suggesting mystery and sexuality. Clothes are coming off a lot. It’s as if I am discovering and then “re-covering” my body, the bodies of others through the act of dancing. I am interested in working with a diverse range of dancers. I am tuned in to the erotics that emerge from sharing space with other people, and the excitement and sadness you feel when people appear or disappear.

I wonder if it is possible to wrest the dance-historical category of “abstraction” from its history as a tool of whiteness. By this I mean that, traditionally in the United States, white choreographers have used the word abstraction to refer to some kind of identity-less poetics of bodies and movement that is somehow more “pure” or “neutral” than “content-based” movement or work. I reject this definition, but I also see how my history as a Latino dancer/choreographer has also often been about having to make some kind of decision between this abstract/content binary. I know the conversation is different in European contexts but I think there are analagous divides between form and content. I think we are in a moment of evolution and that these binaries are being slowly and methodically dismantled. I think that there is another way and I am looking for it through my current work.

This workshop focuses on the creative process in making body/movement-based performance/dance. A variety of approaches to creating - intuitive, improvisational, and analytical - is exploited to uncover your individual interests, your process and your work. The workshop consists of unequal parts making, discussing, improvising and watching the work of other workshop participants. I distribute articles ranging from artist statements to critical theory to contribute additional “voices” to the mix. My interest is in creating a space in which traditional notions of dance are critiqued, absorbed or discarded in the service of creating performance that comes from a vital place. An ongoing question throughout the workshop is how to make work that is located in a contemporary context.

A vocal workshop
Miguel Gutierrez's works have been notable for their expressive use of the voice. In this workshop, Gutierrez will lead the participants through simple exercises to help them to discover pliable, relaxed and expansive voices, ready for an array of approaches to sound making in performance. Influences include my studies with Barbara Maier, Linklater Technique, Alexander Technique, and the Feldenkrais Method. This workshop is open to anyone!

Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement Lesson led by Miguel Gutierrez
The Feldenkrais Method is a mode of somatic education that uses movement as a means for learning, improvement, and freedom from physical difficulty. Developed by Moshe Feldenkrais, who was an engineer, scientist and judo master, the method synthesizes physics, motor development, bio-mechanics, psychology, and martial arts to prioritize function as the means whereby a person can learn to use themselves more effectively and with greater ease. An Awareness Through Movement (ATM) lesson focuses on specific relationships and patterns of movement in a slow, detailed and comfortable manner. Structured as a class that usually happens on blankets or mats to insure total comfort, the student moves progressively from smaller to larger actions. Through oral instruction rather than demonstration, the student discovers their own way through the lesson, uncovering habits and unlocking new sensations and experiences that can lead to profound and lasting results in mobility and freedom from injury.

You Do You
Feldenkrais and dancing: Scores for improvisation

The Feldenkrais Method® reawakens, restores and revitalizes the capacity for movement and function in all bodies. It is an spectacularly generative practice for people who are devoted to movement as a means of exploration and expression. In this workshop we will begin each day with an Awareness Through Movement lesson and from there go into scores for embodied improvisational dance practices that can be used either in process, or as performances in-and-of themselves.

background photo by Alex Escalante