How to wear a white, tight-fitting unitard when you are a female dancer over 50? This is one of the many issues I address in Bits & Pieces, with the help of 5 choreographers who know me well both as a dancer and person: Patricia Hoffbauer, David Thomson, Elisa Monte, Yvonne Rainer, and Vincent Dunoyer. Their choreographic donations intersect in an eclectic collage of sounds, dances, childhood wounds, anecdotes, and memories from Phnom Penh to New York, with an open return.
After working with an NGO in Cambodia with young classical dancers on themes of tradition, innovation, and the relevance of traditional dance in a changing society, I decided to investigate my own relationship to dance. My mother, a field worker and European representative of Refugees International, an NGO based in Washington, had given me the example of someone living “in the real world”, devoting her life to the needs of displaced populations, thereby showing generosity, selflessness, courage, and depth. But what about my life on stage: all passion, ego, escapism, and superficiality? What about my desires? What about the labor, the incredible energy, and dedication? All spent and forgotten, and to what end?
Onstage, together with sound designer Zai Tang, who, like me, is half European and half Asian, I hope to share dance as I have come to understand it, guilt included. This piece was developed in part during a residency at Baryshnikov Art Centre, with additional support from the Martha Duffy Resident Artist fund. Vincent Dunoyer, himself prone to this type of questioning – except for the white unitard part – has helped me and has directed this exploration.
Bits & Pieces (Choreographic Donations) premiered Nov 8th at Danspace Project, NY.