I was asked if I am a performance artist today. Great question. My reply was that I make dance and video and sometimes it might manifest into something that might resemble performance art. I have never claimed the title of performance artist before because I never considered my lineage of training to be inclusive of this. That is, until I began reflecting on the lessons of inclusivity that were imparted to me by artists with whom I have studied improvisation and dance theory, Simone Forti and Susan Leigh Foster, respectively. From these incredible artists and thinkers, I have been presented with concepts of inclusivity of form into practice. The work is not defined or labeled beyond dance, as dance can be inclusive of virtuosic or pedestrian movement, words and text, speaking and singing, and any other desired permutation.
A question that often arises when digging in and talking with someone about form is: What is dance? Some think only the movements of trained dancers of a certain age on a stage can be dance. Some observe birds in flight, or insects pollinating flowers, and consider these forms of dance. In the 1960s and beyond, dancers, performers, activists, people from all walks of life and backgrounds join together putting their bodies on the line in the form of peaceable protest. Their mere unified presence is an act of resistance. Their dancing bodies doing pedestrian movements out of the theater on the streets become the dance of democracy and change of tide. Dance can be what you want it to be. It can hold meaning or be movement for the sake of moving. It can be stillness. It can be done by anyone, anywhere, at any time. This is why I love dance.
What I am doing here–being present for a portion of the day, inviting conversation while in the building and online–is performance art. I suppose I just considered some of my different applications of dance to cover what might also be considered performance art. Thank you for helping me to consider this!