The Department of Music and Dance presents A Window on the Work: Zane Booker on Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 6 pm in the Troy Dance Lab, Lang Performing Arts Center. Mr. Booker and his company Smoke, Lilies and Jade Arts Initiative participated in the Swarthmore Project this summer, a two week residency program for professional dance companies and choreographers. Mr. Booker’s work generally focuses on telling the stories of African-Americans living with HIV/AIDS through multi-media dance-theater. During his residency at Swarthmore, he was able to explore a new creative process for his company involving researching the lives of cultural figures who have made significant impacts in the Civil Rights movement, such as James Baldwin and Josephine Baker.
Mr. Booker writes about his work and process:
“The working title of the “work in progress” is Portraits. The most exciting thing about the Swarthmore Project was that we could explore process. My work is not usually linear, but it is always character driven and I usually create movement first. During this process, we used acting techniques and historical research to create a persona before we created movement. The objective was to explore a process that would allow us to address the topics of: racism, classicism, sexism or homophobia.
How did we begin?
1. I asked the dancers to choose a historical person related to one or more of the suggested topics.
2. We researched and discussed the person( i.e. James Baldwin) and recorded our reactions to the discovered information.
How did their (Gloria Steinem, James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, Byron Hurt, E.Lynn Harris) story make you feel? What effect did it have on you emotionally?
3. We used several acting improvisations to become the character meeting the other characters. We kept digging.
4. I asked the dancers to write their reaction to the research. I accepted, a list of words, a poem or prose. From this document we started to create movement. I wanted each solo of movement to be like a monologue.
In the beginning, I directed movement and assigned task oriented improvisation. This was very different then, my normal process. Which often begins with me moving and the dancers following until we have a full phrase of movement to develop.
This time it was different. I moved much later in the process. And the dancers had much more information and personal perspective about the material we were using to create the piece. The improvisations were so rich.
In the last and most interesting task the dancers had to relate the text they had written directly: monologue of movement.
So, I do not want to talk about it as if it is a finished piece. It is a work in process based on historical figures that were/are important to the fight for civil rights for all.”
Mr. Booker will show excerpts from this work and will answer questions from the audience. This event is free and open to the public without advance reservations.