The Dance/Memory project is a massive body of work I began developing in January 2013 and which I continue to work with. It is the project that may never fully be "done" but for which there are many images including a series of 21 black and white photogravures, over 100 color archival pigment prints, and mixed matrix printmaking and collage works. The idea that inspires the series is grounded in my experience as a dancer and choreographer.
Dance is a fleeting art form, which exists most fully only in the moment it is being performed. When it is over, we are left with a subjective, partial impressions of the experience and as time goes on, our memory of a particular performance may blur and morph until it becomes a single image or series of images that define our experience. What is it that we remember, how do we remember it, and why? Those are the questions I am seeking to answer in this series. Watch a dance performance; wait a week or two and what do you remember?
This body of work strives to describe the experience of the memory of dance. It explores how each of us consciously or unconsciously selects various moments in the dance, visual images, or emotional subtext to remember long after the dance performance is over. What is it in dance that matters?
Over the course of 2013 I have worked with 21 dancers in several styles of dance, both as small groups and soloists. I created a black box theatre in my studio by borrowing a dance floor and covering the walls on three sides with black fabric. Some of the dancers brought prepared works, others improvised movement based on loose themes, others were given choreographed material. The main objective was that they "feel" their work and the music and achieve a sense of performing with the camera as their audience and witness. In several cases I photographed dancers outside the studio at performance or rehearsal sites.
The work is very personal for me. I was a dancer and choreographer who left dance in my early 30's due to a severe injury and surgery. While I was dancing and choreographing, I often thought about how dance might be captured on film in a way that could capture the emotional and kinesthetic qualities in a memorable way. Having transitioned from dance to photography as my creative medium since leaving my dance career, this project allows me to explore these concepts through the scrim of memory while capturing the visceral and emotional beauty of dancers of all ages as they give the world a concentrated integration of body, mind and spirit through movement.
Image sizes vary from 22x30 for the polymer photogravure images, 8x10 platinum palladium prints, 16x20 and 24x30 archival pigment prints, and various sizes mixed matrice printmaking works.