The few times Kimya Imani Jackson and I have been in an ensemble together, we've both said something to the effect of "we should make something together sometime," so when I decided to dust off ArtDates after a long hiaitus, Kimya was on the top of my list of people to text: "Hey, want to have an ArtDate with me?"
In the wake of my Fringe show, I've felt alternating fevered pushes to create and troughs where I feel incapable of making. We met in a trough-like moment for me, and right before Thanksgiving, the start of that month of celebratory instability- traveling, feasting, seeing family, feeling unsure what's next- should I make a resolution? I don't even celebrate secular new years, really...
So, Kimya and I agreed to be relaxed about our ambitions for our time together.
Though I try to keep the structure of ArtDates super open, some ways of ArtDating have emerged.
We start with talking or doing/ ideas or emergence/ words or embodiment.
Kimya and I started doing, talking a bit as we went.
There's an excitement about this moment in an ArtDate, what will happen?
It felt good to move together- we both have some clowning background so the improvisation shifted naturally between dance, game, dialogue, and song. We created, moved through and discarded many tiny worlds.
What happens next?
The talking- we propose some structure.
Kimya is interested in "The Slow Race," pulling some concepts from Butoh and Deep Listening practice.
We set up a start and a finish line and each try to be the last one to finish.
So many different worlds happen along the way that it doesn't even necessarily feel slow!
What is slow?
We set up a new start and finish line. This time, I propose that the sound we create together be for structure, a beginning middle end, and the movement be allowed to respond to whatever in the moment.
Our start line becomes a roaring windy place, both of us huddled together against a gust that we must fight against to move forward.
We stay close together for the whole race. The sound we make together creates a story and the freedom of the movement allows the story to change in unexpected ways.
We change the structure.
Now we witness each other moving, moving-and-sounding, or just sounding on our own.
I am excited by the witnessing and discussing what we experience as a witness. Moving with Kimya and witnessing Kimya move bring me different understandings of her.
We notice how each others' solos reflect the values and intentions we have for our own making and how they welcome in some of the things we mentioned going on in our lives
Listening for ancestral voices
Inviting in the "no"s as well as the "yes"s
playing with endings
feeling the vibrations of voice as embodied experience
There is no "end product" to show you here. But that's okay. I find the time spent in the studio with Kimya and the time now writing this reflection to be valuable- both bring me into practice, inquiry, and the natural moving outside of yourself or maybe to your own edges that happens when you meet another person in movement.
Oh, and we did do some historical research too. Video links at the end of this post for your enjoyment and contemplation. Maybe we'll make a beef-a-roni dance some day.